Biggest Copywriting Myths Revealed

Rebecca Matter here – taking over the reins of The Writer’s Life this week – to dispel a few myths about what has become the best opportunity for writers to make a living.

Of course, I’m talking about copywriting …

No other writing opportunity has the potential to help so many aspiring writers make a living doing what they love, while enjoying the lifestyle they’ve always dreamed of.

The challenge, however, when navigating the path to copywriting success, is deciphering what’s real and what’s simply a myth.

If you believe the myths, you might unknowingly create roadblocks that can stop you from reaching your goals.

When American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI) first launched its copywriting course in 1997, the advertising industry had a strong negative reaction to what we were doing. They told us we were way out of line for presuming we could teach people who weren’t pros how to write persuasive copy.

You see, they treated copywriting like a closed profession … one that was meant for only a select few oddball geniuses with years and years of experience.

Back then, the belief was that copywriting was a closed profession for “Madison Avenue” writers only.

We believed that to be a myth …

After all, Mark Morgan Ford (you might know him as his former pen name Michael Masterson) and Bill Bonner had already trained numerous six- and seven-figure copywriters, including our very own founders, Paul Hollingshead and Don Mahoney.

But, we were still a little worried …

What if the “Madison Avenue” exclusivity myth were true? What if the naysayers were right?

Fortunately, our doubts didn’t last long. Within just months of launching the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, we started hearing from our earliest members that they were getting paid assignments … quitting their “old jobs” and becoming freelance copywriters … even being hired as staff writers by big-name marketing companies.

Katie often tells the story about one of our first success stories, Steve W., who, after his first week working as an in-house writer for a huge self-help publisher, called her and said, “I just sat in on my first copy review session, and they think I’m a marketing genius. I casually mentioned the basics I’ve learned from AWAI, like the 4-Legged Stool … the 4 U’s … the Power of One … and I was able to make all the copy we reviewed instantly better.”

Over the past 17 years, we’ve helped thousands of other members like Steve launch successful writing careers.

Thank goodness we didn’t buy into the “Madison Avenue” myth!

And that’s why this week I want to dispel four more very prevalent myths you may have heard about the copywriting industry that may be holding you back from living the life you’ve always dreamed of having.

Because, it’s true …

If you enjoy reading and writing, it’s possible to make a very good living as a direct-response copywriter — even if it’s just part-time.

You can do it all from home, or the beach, or the neighborhood café … or from wherever you want. (I’m writing this email from an upstairs balcony overlooking the green Texas Hill Country, enjoying a lovely breeze, and listening to the birds sing a morning song. Even after 10 years, I still can’t believe this is my job!)

You just need to know the real truth when it comes to this opportunity.

So this week, we’ll address those myths head on, and hopefully remove a few roadblocks that may be in your way.

I’ve got a couple of doozies to share with you …

Like tomorrow, where I’ll expose the truth about writing good copy – and why you may be sabotaging your own future if you listen to the myth.

But, I’d also like to know what myths you’ve heard about the copywriting industry, as well as any questions you’d like answered once and for all. Share them with me below.

It’s going to be a fun week!

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Published: May 19, 2014

20 Responses to “Biggest Copywriting Myths Revealed”

  1. Hmm... I'd have to say a big one is that to be any good you have to have agency experience.

    Maximilian Hart

  2. Rebecca, Darnell McCray here. I really appreciated that article. As I am about to get started in my COS program; I hope to land where you and so many other A+ writers have landed.

    Respectfully, Darnell

    Darnell McCray

  3. Rebecca, looking forward to your articles this week! I've taken the accelerated course, but haven't made the leap to getting a client. What holds me back is the myth that I still don't know enough. I feel insecure about offering advice. And prospecting for clients feels downright terrifying! Not sure if you'll cover any of this, but I'll be reading.

    Guest (Ed)

  4. Appreciate this article Rebecca. As my recent position with a large company was terminated several months ago, I have been in the job hunt full time since then. (No luck)I haven't yet made the commitment to launching a writing career full time. Not sure if it's a myth, but it seems like it would take at least 2-3 years to make a living wage as a copywriter. If I am going to make the leap am I kidding myself that I can make a living from this in less than a year?

    Andrea F

  5. Hey Rebecca, I've heard some say that it takes several months to a year to earn enough monthly to support yourself. This is concerning because I'm unemployed at this time.

    Shawn Moore

  6. Hi Rebecca!
    A lovely name you have!

    After having gone through some of the copies from AWAI archives, and also the mail that you wrote to times i wonder, don't you think that they are a bit too lengthy.

    I am a technical writer also ( was earlier working with a software company) where in we are supposed to write 'TO THE POINT'.

    Personally i don't like lengthy pieces. ( With the only exception of reading Mark Ford's copies...they are just outstanding).
    Would you throw some light on this...your views?
    Regards, Sabitri


  7. I am in my 60's, never work in the copywriting field, been an at-home mom, work here and there at odd jobs, had sewing businesses, selling books and cds on Amazon for about 3 years. I love to read about alternative health and just discover that i love to write.
    Bought the Accelerated program for 6 figure income over a year ago and working on that slowly. I keep wondering if I'm kidding myself about making money with writing someday.

    Carmen S

  8. The myth & stigma that copywriting is a bunch of hype ... doesn't take talent... unprofessional, not respected. It held me back. Discovered that's nonsense. I've learned & continue to learn. It takes work & love it. Guest - prospecting is intimidating to me, too. But I'm about to do it. Carmen - I'm in my 60s too. Copywriting thru AWAI is so doable! At the start I wondered if I was kidding myself, too. Not. Keep at it! It's fun, fulfilling, rewarding. Look forward to tomorrow's myth!


  9. Thanks Rebecca, important clarification. For me, the higher number(50-$75)in the first year is my target.I am crafting my plan now and am interested in 2 areas: 1)health and wellness; and 2)helping non-profit orgs also be "well". (I have a long career in that sector).This might include advice about fiscal health and fundraising, staffing, boards, selecting programs, etc. I want to help them to succeed in their mission. Can put in lots of time now if I leave the traditional job hunt.

    Andrea F

  10. One myth that has kept me back is the idea that I may not be considered for jobs because I live in Central America. Clients may not want to have a telecommute arrangement.


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