I have favourites. And they’re varied and diverse and interesting, just like people generally are. But included in this list is a handful of the people I just adore reading. I like them, I like their stuff, I like the way they word-wrangle.
So, I thought it would be interesting for you to see who floats my copy boat, and I asked each of these superstars what their favourite copy is – either good stuff they’ve written themselves or just copy they’ve spotted in the wild and went “oh HECK YES!” about.
Here’s the round up:
JAY CRISP CROW
Is it très daggy to list yourself as your favourite copywriter? Probably.
Hello, I’m Jay and I wrote this.
I’ve written some copy I utterly love for clients, but hit a roadblock when it came to what copy I love of my own. So, I asked my Crisp Copy Class Alumni what tickled their fancy and there were a couple of standouts.
My propensity to talk about the reader’s “clicky finger” is a firm fav. The fact I interchange the word “Crisp” with anything good. And likening everything back to either music or food is something new clients often comment on. (You write what you know, right?)
Then, this wee bit on my Home page:
And this little bit on my Done-For-You copy page:
And Lisa Formosa, CCC Grad, summed it all up beautifully; “I like that you offer but don’t push. You let your style and skill pull people in. Show but don’t tell. So not exact copy as such. But the feel. If that helps.”
Yep. Helped. And validated. That’s what we all want out of our Sales copy, right?
Now, let’s get onto some of those Jay-Choice writers and see what they put forward as their faves.
Sarah is the kind of copywriter who makes me nervous. It doesn’t happen very often and I’ve decided it’s a good feeling and so have embraced it, because she’s just so gosh-darned talented. Sarah and I connect over our shared love of the brand voice being the. single. thing most brands need to nail and she’s also delivered me the great honour of choosing me in 2020 as her copy mentor. We finished up our 3 month stint in August and she’s set to take the copy world by storm, in her own gentle, considerate way.
I was asked by Benson Design Co. to write a brand manifesto for a new local coffee brand. I knew it would stretch me as the brief was to write it using a language and style reminiscent of ‘The New Colossus’ by American poet Emma Lazarus. Now, I’ve never considered myself a poet much less written sonnet-style poetry before, so I seized this opportunity because I was given creative license to go gangbusters with it.
Hank is the alter-ego or ‘spirit other’ of the chief coffee roaster and business owner. During the coffee roasting process he describes his experience as being transmutative, allowing him to journey through the depths of his soul and transforming the beans into a form that can be ingested with great pleasure.
The beans are ethically sourced, supporting people who don’t pillage the earth of its resources and who help farmers prosper. Hank delights in seeing the metamorphosis of humans when they drink his brew, just as he is metamorphosed during the roasting process.
I’d never met the business owner but I did my research and absorbed who he was through this process. I loved writing it because I was transported into this half-human, half spirit entity sourcing bean roasting secrets from the coffee gods! And I loved what came through me.
Thus, this manifesto came to life:
I’m Sarah from Polish & Punch—strategic copywriter and self-declared ‘verbal untangle therapist’. Freeing up brainspace for busy business people is my gig. I have a knack for being able to make their brands become beacons in the sea through deciphering and declaring their unique greatness.
There are copywriters and there are copywriters. And then there are copy editors. Autumn, in my opinion, makes copy editing an art. It takes a certain personality, too, I think. Because as copywriters we’re so often kept in the shadows of the final product, heck – even the website designer often gets a mention on a website, right? I often think the world is made up of two kinds of people – stars and producers. Just the fact Autumn chose someone else’s work to showcase in this round-up probably indicates she’s naturally a producer, but in my world, whenever I need some solid copy editing inspiration or advice, I click along to Autumn’s website and soak it up. She is a copy editing star.
My favorite copy is filled with details. Why? Because specifics sell.
Adding details to your copy captures your reader’s attention and persuades them to take action.
One copywriter who uses specifics to sell and does it well is Amisha Shrimanker, conversion copywriter at The Copy Crew.
Below is a screenshot of one of her recent emails.
The pinot grigio. The buffet table. The tiramisu shot. All specifics that delight readers and draw them in.
But how do you add details to your copywriting so it feels effortless and fun to read?
As a copy editor, I tell all my clients to add specifics using the 5 senses. Like the example above demonstrates, everyone knows how delicious tiramisu is and understands how quickly food disappears off a buffet. Bonus: This example also implies urgency.
Pro tip — There are more than 5 senses. Proprioception, which is a sense of how our bodies are positioned. Nociception, which is a sense of pain. And other senses without 50-cent names like a sense of balance, body temperature, acceleration, and the passage of time.
So be sure to add details to your copywriting because specifics are sexy.
Autumn Tompkins, The Grumpy Grammarian, is the premier copy editor for copywriters. While she might be grumpy, it’s not because of grammatical errors — it’s mostly because of awkward social situations like running into her gynecologist at the grocery store. You can find out more about Autumn at grumpygrammarian.com
Nami and I made friends because she spotted me from across the room and saw I needed a coffee. Yeah, I can be bought with caffeine, Botox, or shoes. She’s that copywriter I can randomly IG message after months of not speaking and bounce off an idea or ask about a client, and I know she feels the same about me. She’s good with the story to service, which I think is beautifully showcased in her choice of favourite copy.
“One of my own fave blogs is called How to attract new customers and sales (without the sleaze).
(Although I’d rewrite parts of it now.)
I love the opening paragraphs:
I kissed Frankie Bolton on the bus ride home from our class excursion to the planetarium.
He was the classic bad boy; he sat in the back row in class, slung witty remarks at our jaded teachers, and mocked the school’s uniform policy with his Red Hot Chilli Peppers t-shirts.
He wooed me in the same way he dumped me: in a single lunch break sharing love letters, cigarettes and spit – only this time with my friend, Kellie. (I was devastated and cried for like, one whole night.)
The blog is about the power of email marketing. Two things I really I like about it:
- I’ve used a personal story that segues to the moral of email marketing versus attracting sales social media marketing.
- The opening lines land you right in the MIDDLE of the story, into the action – me pashing on with Frankie Bolton. It keeps you wanting to know what happens next.”
Nami Clarke writes website and email copy to help course creators and 1:1 service providers take their business from beige to badass.
She can eat her body weight in hot chips.
Sandra’s brand is ‘The Smarter Writer’ and after spending a year with her in our Mastermind, I think she well and truly owns the title. Sandra and I met when she made a not-altogether-positive argument against an award I was up for, which perhaps should have been ominous for the state of our future friendship, but speaks to how straight down the line she is and really only amped up my respect for her. She’s the person I go to when I’m trying to wrangle tonnes of content in my head, or on my website. Coz she really is smart.
I am not much of a sharer, so I’m rather proud of this blog post because it’s one where I relate an experience in my personal life to my professional life. I wrote about how my experience of illiteracy while living in another country helped make me a better, more empathetic writer. I saw a connection between my lived experience and the work I do – plain English writing and editing. I think posts like these make us sound more human and relatable, without the discomfort of over-sharing—for me and for my readers.
Sandra is an online content strategist, SEO copywriter and writing coach. She specialises in creating smart, strategic, evidence-based content that helps a brand to capture and serve their people well. She also trains people to improve their writing skills and build their capacity to create smarter, more strategic content.
I waited for my coffee for 20 minutes at a copywriting conference and was super late finding a seat. All the tables on the air-conditioned side were taken, and I was silently huffing at myself as I stormed towards the hot end of the room – only to end up at a table with Liv Steigrad, one of my other favourite copywriters, and *gasp and flutter* THE Rob Marsh. Rob is about the loveliest person you’ll meet, even when you’re blushing and bumbling about in a very not-Jay way about how much you respect his brand and business, while surreptitiously mentioning your new podcast and the fact he might be able to put in a kind word with Kira Hug, his co-founder of The Copywriter Club. He’s a massive Sales copy knowledge-bank and this choice of his tickles me because we so often believe we need to look at the modern version of what’s working now in Sales copy – which isn’t always the case.
I love Joe Karbo’s ad for his book, The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches.
Why? First, the title is not just attention grabbing, it truly piques your curiosity. There’s a logical disconnect here. We all know that getting rich takes work, so seeing the idea that a lazy man can get rich begs a question we can’t help but want the answer to. The subhead is good too, for the same reason. Joe is introducing an idea that is contrary to the way most of us think. And we can relate to it… most of us are busy earning a living and feel like we’re not making enough. What is it that lazy men know, that we don’t?
Rather than jumping right into the pitch, Joe starts the body copy with a story—his story that immediately demonstrates how easy this whole idea is. And he details exactly what he’s doing in the ad… by explaining that he expects to make a nice profit selling the reader something worth about 50¢. He’s immediately answering the reader’s first objection… is this another scam? How can it be a scam when Joe says what he’s doing in the first couple of paragraphs?
We could go line by line, but Joe’s copy ticks most of the copy boxes. Risk reduction? There’s an “unusual” guarantee. Social proof? Look at all the testimonials. Big promise? I think multiplying your bank account tenfold in 30 days qualifies. Proof that Joe is an authority? We’ll there’s the sworn statement from his accountant. And all the copy about the luxuries he owns.
Best of all, it’s not just a creative ad. It worked. This ad ran for a decade generating $2,786,500.
Fun fact… Joe actually wrote the ad before he wrote the book. Once he knew people were interested, he sat down and got to work on the book—which doesn’t sound all that lazy to me.
I kind of have a thing for ellipses… and Coke Zero.
Once upon a time, I was part of a startup that was acquired by HP (I ran my own SaaS business after that). While I wouldn’t exactly call myself a serial entrepreneur, I would call myself a cereal addict (Cocoa Puffs and Cracklin’ Oat Bran, anyone?).
I’ve written everything from direct mail and TV to case studies and a book for clients like American Express and Pluralsight. (The book was for me.) Today I write sales and landing pages for tech, SaaS, and heath supplement clients.
And in my “free” time, you might catch me riding my bike 200+ miles in a single day… penance for my donut habit.
I live close to the mountains in Salt Lake City with my wife, 4 kids, and a rather neurotic Westie.
TYLER J KOENIG
I have no flipping idea how I first came across Tyler, but in the land of Jay, which is very folk-who-identify-as-women heavy, I found myself in a supremely satisfying Facebook messenger superchat with Tyler and then getting the invitation to beta test one of his courses. He’s just a good egg, super smart, very observant, and a fine writer. I think our sense of humour about what tickles us is similar, too, which is showcased in Tyler’s choice of favourite copy.
I love the way this since-removed version of HeyNishi’s homepage epically flips the script to grab your attention.
It takes an established fact that everyone knows (Chuck Norris is a powerful bearded man) and then forces you to visualize the disturbing alternative.
This does two things:
First, it makes you laugh. Science shows that you remember things most clearly when they’re part of a giggle. After you’re done snort-laughing at the idea of a naked-faced Chuck, you’ll sober up enough to read the sub-headline — which perfectly sums up the benefit.
Second, you subconsciously associate a weak Chuck Norris with “a website without compelling copy.” And since you don’t want that, you’ll probably click that button to see if you’re a good match.
Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.
Tyler is a copywriting coach who…coaches copywriters. Previously a strategist for Agora, he helps writers become super-persuaders with an approach based in storytelling and behavioral science. Tyler runs the Killer Copy Critiques Facebook group, is shamelessly addicted to basketball, and sends a lot of emails — most of them pretty good.
Sophia and I bonded over a lot of “not”. Which is odd, because I think I’m mostly a “yes!” kind of person and Sophia is one of the most positive, sparkly types around. Again, she’s one of those industry colleagues who I can go for months without speaking to, then delve into a furious, frenzied chat with about copywriting, clients, and competition like it’s only been a day since our last smoothie. When we first met in person, she powered up to me and re-launched back into an ongoing conversation coupled with a bear hug, which is indicative of how she writes, too.
I love this copy because we get into the mind of a busy, frazzled mum and question a few of her big beliefs about parenting straight up. She wants to enjoy time with her kids (not just ‘keep them busy’) but feels stuck because she’s at the mercy of time, creativity and bad moods. We connect with her struggle and how she’s feeling while showing her there could be another way.
Sophia Arthur is a copywriter and online launch strategist who takes the stress and ‘ickiness’ out of selling. She helps wellness entrepreneurs and change-makers create more impact (and more $$$) with sales copy that feels good and truly serves their clients.
Long time fan alert. Ash Ambirge. If you’re a copywriter or woman or both and don’t have Ash in your inbox, fix that immediately. I bought this woman’s book at pre-launch so I could get a signed copy and loudly squeed when it arrived. That’s how mad I am for her and her style. In fact, you don’t even need to love copy to love her, just having her around (on the interwebs) will improve your whole damn life.
I’m downright besotted with this copy I wrote for The Middle Finger Project home page. Here’s a little snippet (but go check it out for yourself):
Ash Ambirge is the author of THE MIDDLE FINGER PROJECT (Penguin Random House 2020) and the founder of the award-winning company by the same name that helps small businesses sell their ideas in big, fun ways—and stand out like a unicorn drinking a beer at an undertaker’s convention.
So! That’s a wrap. My favourite copywriters and the good stuff they love.
My fawning thanks to all the talent in this round-up who hit reply and said “yeah, OK then!” to my request to include them in this blog. I included every single last one of my current favourites besides one, who was too busy. Didn’t she miss out?!
Do you have favourite copy? Something that makes you chuckle, or think, or reconsider your position? Hit me up here, I’d love to hear about it.
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