Sometimes, when you’ve been copywriting for a while, you get a little over-confident. You start thinking magical thoughts like “My copywriting makes things happen” or “I’m so clever, I made all those people sign up”. You are practically told this by your bosses, account handlers, and even your clients – it’s like magic to them. You wrote this great piece of copy (maybe it was a great landing page) and sales blossomed. It must have been you!
The fact that the offer and the product are great is not really considered. So, you go and do what every copywriter does – you do the same thing next time. It makes sense right? It worked in one place, it should work in another.
Then, all the magic disappears. It doesn’t work. Why? What happened?
You start questioning yourself and your methods. You begin the web copywriter death-spiral of self-defeating thoughts: “I’m a terrible SEO copywriter” “No one will hire me again” “My clients hate me” (that last one could be called ‘mind-reading’)
Don’t worry, you’re not alone
Psychology has long studied these modes of irrational thought and its effects on the human condition.
In some ways, it’s part of being a copywriter. Being built up and pulled down again. Get used to it.
Most of us face this crisis early on in our careers. We get into this mode of magical thinking and it works for a while, then it spectacularly fails for us. We get pulled back down to Earth and we start again. But it happens again in our careers, later on, when we are more seasoned. We begin thinking that we have it all figured out. We begin thinking of our innate talent as a copywriter is what is driving success. And, though that might be partially true, it is still magical thinking to believe that your ego is somehow responsible for selling 100 million widgets.
But then it happens again. Wham! The formula stops working. You can see this happening now to many copywriters who believe that the world is the same as it was 20 or even 10 years ago. That’s another trap of magical thinking – you get stuck in the past and you stop learning. You cease taking in new information and you lose touch with what’s happening in ‘reality’.
How to not suck at copywriting
There is a way to overcome this irrational thinking and come to the table armed with rational and constructive ways to improve or better your SEO copywriting.
Testing is the only way you can be sure of what you are doing. It is what makes the copywriting masters, the masters. It is what sets magical guesswork apart from effective influence.
Before your ego starts getting all hung up on it, go read Martin’s first post about testing. Did you notice that the names we associate with the god-like personalities of copywriting and advertising tested and tested and tested their copy. They didn’t leave it all to ego and guesswork, they worked hard at getting it right.
We love testing things whenever we can because we know it makes us better SEO copywriters.
You can do this too. Try it. Learn something from your successes and save the magic for Hogwart’s.