The International Copywriters Association
ICA Getting Started Part 6
Missed any of the earlier parts (or want to reread them)? All links below:
Part 1 - The Premise
Know your next step
Part 2 - Audience
Know who to serve
Part 3 - Clients
Find your clients
Part 4 - Positioning
Part 5 - Marketing
Market your position
Part 6 - The System
Know the system
If you analyse any working system, you'll find it has a start, middle, and end, and if it's a repeatable one, it will be simple to follow and detailed enough to get results.
Furthermore, if that system is any good, it will work for everyone in your audience.
In 1986 an American engineer named Bill Smith came up with a system to ensure that all Motorola products would be 99.99% free of defects. This was based on the PREMISE that "less defects mean less returns, which means greater customer satisfaction and higher profits". He was right.
He called it Six Sigma and Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric used it to take GE from $12billion to $410billion. A good premise beats any amount of growth hacking.
In the early 2000's I came up with a system called CEO. It stands for Claim > Evidence > Offer. It's the simplest system to use to write one-off ads. With that at the heart of any ad, you'll know what to do next.
- 1The Claim is your headline - the Promise of what's to come if they keep on reading (more about the importance of headlines below).
- 2Evidence is Proof your claim works. Without proof you'll get very little trust, and that will hurt conversions.
- 3And the Offer is your Proposal where you demonstrate its value and explain why it's worth getting now.
The premise of CEO is this: "Better conversions occur when the evidence matches the claim and the offer matches or beats expectations."
You've also been working through a system as you've been going through this mini-series. This system, like all good systems, starts with a premise (so we know what to do next) and adds more premises so we get a good grounding on how to create the future we want.
But how would you like a fully detailed system map with instructions and weekly tasks to follow so you'll know what to do next to become a Professional Copywriter?
That system is called ProCopyClub, and when you join the ICA as a Full Member, you get it included as part of your membership.
It consists of 52 modules, released at the rate of one a week. Each week has a set of simple tasks. Follow those tasks week by week and over the course of a year, you will become a professional copywriter and build yourself a copywriting business (either as an individual or an agency).
The testimonials on this page are from current ICA and ProCopyClub members. You can find them in our Science of Copywriting Facebook group. These are real people creating success for themselves today.
"I'm a member of ProCopyClub. I joined it thinking I already knew something about copywriting. Pretty fast I learned I knew nothing. I'm now rebuilding my skills as a copywriter and looking forward to the next 10 months."
Weeks 1 to 4
David Ogilvy, the founder of perhaps the most famous advertising agency of all time (now owned by WPP with revenues of £13bn) relied on a single principle to create the highest selling ads in the world: The Big Idea.
By the end of week 4 you will know how to consistently come up with big ideas. It's the same method I use every day in my own business, and that I use to create the thousand plus articles I've added to the Science of Copywriting group since 2017.
"Something incredible happened to me out of nowhere. Thank you for ProCopyClub. I would never get such ideas without the ICA."
Every time I sit down at the keyboard to write, I am able to come up with something new on the spot. There's no delay, no stress, and within a matter of an hour or so (and a couple of edits later), I have another piece I'm proud to call my own.
Think about how that skill will improve your confidence and ability to do the one thing that will make you stand out from the crowd. Without a big idea, all copy is mundane. The only copy worth paying for is original copy. It's how Ogilvy earn their high fees to this day.
"If you have a truly big idea, the wrong technique won’t kill it. And if you don’t have a big idea, the right technique won’t help you" - David Ogilvy, The Father of Advertising
Weeks 5 to 8
Find out WHO you are. What type of copywriter do you want to become? How to find your voice, your point of view, and above all, how to project anything in to the future.
As a copywriter, you're not only increasing sales for your clients, you're increasing them for yourself too. You need to understand the gap between where you are now, and where you want to be.
And once you've learned how to demonstrate that to yourself, you'll be able to demonstrate it clearly to your prospects too. Showing them the future and how you can help make it happen.
“If you can’t advertise your own services, what hope do you have of being able to advertise anything else”
Weeks 9 to 13
Now we get down to the nitty-gritty of copywriting. Everyone is at a different stage in the buying process. There are those who have yet to start, and those who are ready to buy.
You cannot use the same ad to sell to both groups (you can, but you'll go broke in the process).
Weeks 9 to 13 show you how to take anyone from "not interested" to "show me the buy button".
And it all starts with...
Show me the headline! Using cookie-cutter headlines is fine for click-bait, but if you want long term, memorable ads that make money for your clients (and yourself), I show you a method you will have not seen anywhere else to create amazing headlines with ease.
Without a good headline, your readers won't bother reading any further.
“The purpose of a headline is to get the reader to read the first sentence.”
Weeks 15 to 19
How to write the perfect sentence. Copy is about precision. When every word is carefully chosen and placed in a specific position on purpose, amazing things happen.
The tasks in these exercises will show you how to create perfect sentences with ease (and spot imperfect sentences just as easily). Once you know the rules, you'll see every mistake you make.
You'll also know why some copy sucks, and other copy shines like a beacon. Finding clients by analysing their existing copy opens the market for you.
It puts you in a position of power, which is what clients expect (just as you'd expect it from any professional you were willing to pay money to).
The section ends, appropriately enough, on open loops, how to create them, and how to get people to read your copy from the opening headline to the last sentence.
“If they don't read your copy to the end, they won't buy your product and you'll have wasted your time.”
Weeks 21 to 25
There's a 2,600 year old copywriting secret that few people know. It's a set of rules taught only at the most exclusive private schools and followed by elite politicians and speech writers.
I break down the most important of these rules so you can start using them every day.
We're not talking about grammar or other boring (but necessary) topics, we're talking about the most persuasive language system on the planet.
I call it The Propaganda Manifesto.
Weeks 25 to 31
The second half of ProCopyyClub is about BUSINESS. Your business.
We start with BRANDING. Branding is NOT just selecting a logo, some colors, and a font or two. It's your whole CULTURE.
When you get your branding right, your audience knows who you are, what you do, and why they should trust you.
During these weeks I cover everything you need to know and do to create your brand so you stand out in a good way.
"People like us do things like this." Seth Godin's perfect definition of culture
Weeks 32 to 38
Building a site that sells, and a pipeline so you never run out of clients is vital to the health of any business. In the traditional world, it's measured by their order book.
In our new digital world, it's part of a system we call list building.
If you've ever wondered how to "build a list", and what to do with that list once you've built it, this section is for you.
As they say "The money is in the list" - but only if you build a list of people who matter to you, and to whom you matter.
Weeks 39 to 43
There are countless ways to get you and your clients' messages out there, and one of them is through paid advertising. I show you how to run Facebook ads in a way that won't break the bank, and will allow you to offer PPC (Pay Per Click) services confidently to clients.
I talked about Systems Thinking in part 2 of this mini-series, and here's where it comes into its own. If you follow the advice of many PPC gurus, you'll find their focus is on getting the cheapest clicks.
What they don't tell you is how that can badly affect the ONLY conversion metric that matters: converting traffic from cold to buyer. I show you how to view and use PPC properly.
When you know this, you'll be able to talk confidently with prospects, and bring them on board. For which you'll need the next section...
Rome Christian Buendia
"This is amazing. It feels like I'm part of a new world. By the way, I applied what I learned from ProCopyClub and got an interview with a multimillion dollar company. I can't thank you enough. You are the best Copywriting Mentor."
Weeks 44 to 48
What price should you charge for your work? Should you ask for an hourly rate? A cost per word or article? Or pitch on a project basis? Or how about pushing for a retainer deal where you get paid simply for being on-call (even if you do no work for a month).
This is about negotiating the best possible deal for you and your clients. I take you through my 'Playing Field' system from beginning to end so you'll never be stuck again for words or what to do next.
This is powerful stuff you'll learn once and use forever (and not just for business deals either). It's about relationships and how you go about positioning yourself to both your and your clients' advantage.
Weeks 49 to 51
To wrap it all up, I take you through a masterclass in public speaking. You may or may not fancy doing this, but if you choose to, nothing will give you more presence in your industry than speaking live to your audience.
This is real world how to stuff based on my own public speaking appearances (and other major players I have known) covering everything from preparation, to presentation materials (what you need, what you should avoid), to how to appear confident even when you're shaking like a leaf.
This is doable by anyone if you follow the tasks day by day. If you've ever fancied public speaking (or even just running a podcast), this section is for you.
The FINALE. It doesn't stop here of course. You've only just begun on your ICA copywriting career.
Read what Kruno Gajger, an ICA and ProCopyClub Member has to say...
"In my 50+ years of life, I have seen and been on hundreds of seminars, webinars, courses, and workshops in different languages across Europe.
Most of them gave me some insights but most turned out to be just introductions.
When I saw Quentin’s posts in the Science of Copywriting, I wanted more. But I did not think he would teach me from the start how to write like a pro.
I did not expect to get much and I certainly did not expect the transformation of my ability to experience writing so that the ordinary situations I had been trying to change would be helped so fast during the weekly lessons and practical working tasks.
And change did not come only in my writing but also in my life and the lives of those around me. Significant change.
Then, as weeks passed, I found the hope that I could do something more - that I am capable in ProCopyClub of so much more.
I will not write here about Belief, Fear and Desire, you will find that for yourself in the Club, I will tell you just one thing though: SUPPORT
It's support for the whole 52 weeks. 52 weeks of life changing experience."
To become an ICA Full Member today, click the JOIN button below and you'll be able to start your journey with ProCopyClub immediately.
International Copywriters Association