Read These 4 Books to Become a Better Copywriter
Most people think copywriting is all about crafting amazing calls-to-action and killer headlines. And while these things are a major part of being a good copywriter, reading is also something you need to master. Self-editing, understanding client briefs, reviewing source material—these are all crucial to becoming a well-rounded copywriting professional. To write well, you need to read well.
One of the best ways to hone your reading skills and glean useful knowledge that’ll kickstart your copywriting career is to read books specific to the world of marketing, advertising, content writing and editing. Below, we’ve compiled four of our favorites! There are many more copywriting books out there, but these four offer great information and are full of proven tips, tricks and wisdom that’ll start making you a better writer today.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
At the heart of good copywriting is a cohesive idea: something you’re trying to communicate to people. Part of learning how to be a good writer is learning how to form good ideas and execute on those concepts. This book will teach you how.
The book dissects the ‘anatomy of a good idea’ and how to shape and mold one before you start writing about it. Whether you’ve already got a marketing mindset or want to polish your skills in writing benefits-driven copy, this book will get you thinking critically about what you’re trying to say before you say it.
Perhaps the most important lesson copywriters will get from this book is the knowledge of how to make their communications memorable. The title, Made to Stick, encapsulates the core lesson of the text: how to get people thinking about your message. Get it on Amazon.
Confessions of an Advertising Man
David Ogilvy is sometimes called the ‘Original Madman’ and the ‘Father of Advertising.’ It’s safe to say that whatever he has to say about marketing is worth listening to! In particular, copywriters will gain amazing knowledge about the psychology of buying from this book. Originally written in the 1960s, some of the world’s biggest brands still make it standard-issue for their creative teams today.
While this text doesn’t directly address copywriting, it’s still a must-read for those who want to write in the world of advertising. It’ll help you get a grasp on things like forming a value proposition, communicating benefits and value, and working as part of a larger advertising team. Pair Ogilvy’s business and marketing savvy with your copywriting talents and it’s a recipe for success at any agency.
Best of all, Ogilvy’s book is an easy read! It’s light and humorous, yet packed with wisdom. You won’t feel like you’re reading a dry textbook, which means the concepts he’s communicating will jump right out at you in vivid detail. Get it on Amazon.
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
This book doesn’t just encourage you to write—it encourages you to write everything. The author outlines how deeply important it is to pair messaging with medium and how to write for a broad array of mediums. This book is a must-have for copywriters looking to expand their breadth of capabilities and make meaningful strides into areas they’ve never written for before.
Beyond the concept of diversifying your writing experience, the book is also loaded with tips, tricks, reminders and rules for writing better as you seek to master new forms. It has chapters for grammar rules, citing sources, storytelling tips and much more.
This text is a quick read and the book itself isn’t very long, which makes it a perfect quick-reference guide that can sit on your desk. Get it on Amazon.
The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells
Bob Bly has been writing the (literal) book on copywriting for more than a decade, which is now in its fourth edition. This is the one book every copywriter needs to have, both to read and to reference as they develop their skills. It’s a comprehensive resource that covers all the most important aspects of copywriting, from headlines to CTAs, citing sources to interviewing resources.
The Copywriter’s Handbook is one that’ll never gather dust on your shelf because you’ll always find a reason to flip it open to reference something. Even seasoned copywriters rely on it to constantly hone their writing! With proper use, it’ll keep your writing tight: clear, concise and compelling. Get it on Amazon.
In addition to these four books and others, it’s also a good idea to keep up on relevant blogs from industry leaders. Be sure to keep checking back on the San Francisco School of Copywriting blog, where we’ll post tips, wisdom and examples of great copywriting in action!