In this age where customers prefer doing their own research before they make a purchase, developing your copywriting skills is crucial.
Your content’s quality determines your marketing campaign’s success or failure.
That’s why I created this list of the top copywriting books to help you learn more about copywriting and marketing in general. At the same time, these will teach you a lot of different techniques and strategies you can quickly apply as you create an ad copy, email, or blog post.
Let’s Review The Best Copywriting Books
1. Tested Advertising Methods by John Capels
An advertising legend of his time, John Capels continues to educate copywriters, marketers, and salespeople. In this classic copywriting book, Capels shares insights and tactics on how to test and analyze the effectiveness of your calls-to-action. It also includes 35 formulas to write an eye-catching and attention-grabbing headline for print and online content.
Even though the most recent version includes updates from respected advertising consultant Fred Hahn, it still gives you the same ideas and straightforward approach you’ll find in the previous versions.
2. Copy Logic! The New Science of Producing Breakthrough Copy (Without Criticism) by Michael Masterson and Mike Palmer
Copywriting, then and now, can be a long and painstaking process.
This copywriting book helps new and seasoned copywriters produce impressive copy that delivers results in just half the time.
Authors Michael Masterson and Mike Palmer detail a three-part copywriting process that you can follow. The steps that they include here are those they developed and used to in their careers as copywriters and direct marketers. It also includes strategies that you can quickly apply in your copywriting tasks and see results in as little as 24 hours.
3. This is Marketing by Seth Godin
In his most recent book, New York Times’ bestselling author Seth Godin shares insights on the fundamental principle of focusing your marketing campaigns to solve your customers’ problems, not your business’.
Some of the insights that Godin shares in this valuable resource include strategies how to build trust with your target market, surprising insights on why traditional marketing techniques no longer work, and how storytelling can make you a competent copywriter.
4. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Although this book is considered more as a leadership book, the principles, and insights shared by Simon Sinek in this book deserves a place on the shelf alongside your other copywriting books.
In the book, Sinek points out that you won’t get your customers to buy your product or service if you don’t explain why you developed it in the first place. He also talks about how focusing your copywriting and other marketing strategies in sharing the story behind your brand and the products you’re offering.
More important, this book also shares tips on how to shift the focus of your copy and marketing strategies to your WHY rather than your WHAT.
5. The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier
Email marketing remains a favorite strategy businesses use to nurture leads into customers because of its success rate. That is, of course, if the copy of the emails you send is effective.
The Robert Collier Letter Book is filled with strategies and tips on how to write the perfect letter that convinces the ready to buy what you’re offering. Also, even though this book was initially published in 1931, you can still apply the techniques taught here not just in your emails, but also your sales pages and other online content.
6. How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab
The book’s author, Victor Schwab, is a talented and successful copywriter who made his mark by helping propel Dale Carnegie’s classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
At first, this copywriting book may lead you to assume that it focuses on creating ad copy. However, it delivers more than that. In fact, the tips Schwab shares in this book apply to write sales pages, social media posts, and blog posts.
It also shares other techniques like how to create effective layouts, testing your copy’s effectiveness, and turning inquiries into sales.
7. All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin
Seth Godin has been such a game-changer in how we approach marketing that he deserves to be mentioned more than once in this list.
In this book, Godin shares his insights on the power of using storytelling in your copywriting. He also shares tips on how to craft the copy of your brand’s story so that it’s factual and appealing to your target market at the same time.
More importantly, he exposes the common pitfalls marketers make when sharing their brand’s stories for you to avoid in copywriting.
8. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Stephen King is no copywriter, so this book wasn’t exactly written for copywriters.
Nevertheless, it still deserves a place on this list. That’s because, in this book, King unveils here his strategies and techniques on how he keeps his loyal readers not just hooked on the book that they’re currently reading, but eagerly anticipating the release of his next thriller.
As a copywriter, these tips are golden in helping you not only craft a high-converting copy but also set the stage for them to want to purchase your next offer.
9. Influence by Robert Cialdini
One of the fundamental goals you have as a copywriter is to persuade those that read your content to do what you ask.
This book teaches six universal principles on how to effectively and ethically persuade people that you can apply when you write your copy. At the same time, it shows you ways how to prevent your leads from being influenced by your competitors.
10. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Successful entrepreneurs and marketers regard this book as a must-have, and for good reason.
The War of Art addresses one of the biggest challenges faced by people today: procrastination.
In this book, author Steven Pressfield gives a dose of tough love to his readers by debunking writer’s block and other causes of procrastination. From there, offers actionable steps to take to get out of the rut and keep pressing forward.
11. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
No list of resource materials is going to be complete without this.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on how to get other people to like you. The second half teaches principles and strategies on how to establish yourself as a leader and change how others think without making them defensive.
As a copywriter, it’s essential that the content you write must be able to convince your readers without appearing too “salesy” or manipulative. It’s copy like this that are more able to convert visitors into leads, and, eventually into paying customers.
12. Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
This is a must-have copywriting book if you want to take your copywriting skills to the next level.
Breakthrough advertising goes in-depth into the science and art of copywriting effective advertising campaigns. Many of the principles that Eugene Schwartz shares here would dispel many of the things that you were initially taught as a copywriter. Take a look at this opening paragraph as an example:
“Let’s get to the heart of the matter. The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy. Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears, and desires that already exists in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire—but to channel and direct it.”
If there’s one downside about this book, it’s that it’s already out of print. So while you can find copies of the book on Amazon and eBay, don’t be surprised if the price goes all the way up to almost $1000!
13. The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert
The Boron Letters is a collection of letters Gary Halbert wrote to his youngest son, Bond, while he was imprisoned.
Hailed as one of the greatest copywriters in modern history, Halbert’s letters gives highly actionable direct marketing and copywriting strategies and techniques that even beginner copywriters can follow.
To get the most out of this copywriting book is to approach it more like a copywriting training manual than a reference. Read through one letter, apply the tips shared here, and evaluate the results before moving to the next letter.
14. Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel by John Carlton
If you prefer straightforward copywriting books, then this book would fit the bill.
In this book, John Carlton shares actionable techniques he learned from his personal experience and combines this with real-world examples. These include a 3-step framework to create a compelling ad copy that quickly acquires customers and drive profits.
The book also provides marketing tips and strategies. That way, you’re generating revenue as you develop your copywriting and marketing skills.
15. 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall
This book focuses on applying the Pareto principle to your different sales and marketing tasks. This principle teaches that only 20% of the things that you do are those that directly affect your business’ growth and revenue.
The strategies and principles shared by Perry Marshall in this book will help you to properly manage your time so you can complete your copy faster without compromising on its quality.
16. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
Hailed as the “Father of Advertising,” legendary advertiser David Ogilvy reveals his personal copywriting process so that you can use this when creating your content. The book also detailed how to strike the perfect balance between creative writing and researched facts to increase the effectiveness of your copy.
The book also shares an insider’s look into the world of advertising and marketing, and how to build a name and career in this industry.
17. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman
Written by legendary copywriter Joseph Sugarman, The Adweek Copywriting Handbook guides you step-by-step through the entire copywriting process.
In each step, Sugarman goes into detail on the essential elements that go into an excellent copy. He also shares the different tools and techniques he personally used throughout his successful career as a copywriter.
18. Everybody Writes: The Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
Developing your writing skills isn’t enough to become a competent copywriter. Your buyer person should also be able to relate to what you write in your copy.
More important, your copy shouldn’t look anything like another sales pitch. That’s the last thing that your buyer persona wants to read (unless they’re ready to buy). Instead, they want to learn more about the story behind your brand and products. In short, they want you to connect with them on a personal level.
That’s what this book will teach you. Additionally, it also shares tools and other resources to create copy that not only converts but also what your target audience will be willing to share.
19. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
The Elements of Style is a short book, just about 100 pages long. However, it’s packed with helpful tips and examples of the proper structures your written content should follow.
The insights shared here are crucial for two reasons. First, copywriters are expected to create content with the correct grammar and structure. Second, the popularity of using emojis and shortcuts in messages caused many aspiring copywriters and content marketers to struggle in writing grammatically correct sentences.
20. The Online Copywriter’s Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Write Electronic Copy That Sells by Robert Bly
Writing online content is very different from traditional print media. That’s because, believe it or not, your target audience read online content differently. Instead, they will scan through the content. Only when something catches their attention would they slow down and read through the article or blog post more carefully.
And with millions of blog posts and articles available online, it’s common for some of your readers not to finish reading your content.
In this book, Robert Bly shares the best practices you need to follow when writing article headlines, blog posts, landing pages, and copy for your emails. At the same time, he provides personal insights on how to create copy that effectively converts visitors to customers.
21. Creating Fat Content by Dr. Andy Williams
A challenge commonly faced by copywriters is trying to figure out what Google and other search engines consider as quality content worthy to land on their first results page. Understanding this is crucial because nearly all of your target audience will only click those content listed on the first search engine results page (SERP).
Creating Fat Content will help enlighten you on the best practices and techniques to create content that drives organic traffic to your website.
In this book, Dr. Andy Williams goes into great detail on what Google and other search engines look for in your content so that it lands on the first SERP. At the same time, he also exposes effective “share-bait” hacks so that your visitors will read your content and share it with others.
More important, this book will teach you tips and tricks on how to write copy that’s attention-grabbing and valuable.
22. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath
In this book, authors Chip and Dan Heath unveils six crucial principles to create copy that makes your target audience easily remember your brand. That way, when it’s time to make a purchase, they will buy your product or service.
The book also shares strategies on using stories in your copy to build an emotional connection with them while establishing your credibility with your target audience.
23. The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customer and Boost Your Sales by Dan Kennedy
Writing emails for your lead nurturing campaign takes a lot of time and effort. The last thing you’d want to happen is for your leads just immediately to delete them.
In this book, Dan Kennedy unveils the secrets of writing an email that delivers the results you expect. So although the book’s about writing effective sales letters, you can also use the principles and strategies that Kennedy shares here to creating landing pages, squeeze pages, and other marketing materials.
24. Empower Your Writing: Skills for Today’s Content Creator by Farnoosh Brock
Empower Your Writing is an interactive book that helps you find your unique voice so you can inject it in the content you create.
In the book, Farnoosh Brock lists 28 questions that will guide you in discovering your unique writing voice and style. Once you find it, the book then gives you 9 tips to help you develop it as well as 15 habits to improve to become a better copywriter.
The book also includes the 22 common errors that many aspiring copywriters commit that can severely affect the credibility of your content.
25. Buy-ology by Martin Lindstrom
Voted as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in 2009, Martin Lindstrom reveals the reason the why and how of your customers’ buying decision. The information he shares here is a result of a three-year study that he conducted.
In this book, Lindstrom dishes out shocking facts on how the way ad copy, commercials, and company logos affect a customer’s buying decision-making process. You can take the findings discussed in the book and apply this to your copywriting.
26. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
In this book, Chris Anderson gives us a comprehensive look at how marketing has evolved through recent years. Specifically, it delves into the shift of marketing towards narrowing their focus towards niche-specific strategies.
One of the critical ideas that Anderson promotes in this book is the importance and need for personalizing the message you send to your target audience.
27. The Anatomy of Buzz by Emanuel Rosen
Ever wondered how to generate a buzz around your product or service, and benefit from the power of word-of-mouth advertising?
In The Anatomy of Buzz, Emanuel Rosen dishes out the different techniques you can apply to the copy you use in your marketing campaign. Through the strategies and real-life examples shared here, you can create content that helps build your brand’s image and convert sales.
28. The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott
An international bestseller with over 300,000 copies sold, this book is an ideal resource if you want to launch a PR campaign on a budget.
Here, David Meerman Scott lays down all the steps on how to craft effective Web copy for your target audience to promote brand awareness and drive sales. He also shares strategies and tips to leverage favorite social media channels for your PR campaigns.
The book also includes a lot of real-life examples and case studies of inbound and content marketing campaigns done by small and large businesses. That way, you can emulate those that worked and avoid those that don’t.
29. Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi
The title tells you everything the book’s about in a nutshell. Written by Content Marketing Institute’s founder, Joe Pulizzi, the book explains in great detail how to create content your readers would want to consume and share.
Pulizzi also explains the anatomy of an epic content using case studies from leading corporations that will capture your customers’ attention.
More important, the book also teaches you what metrics you need to measure so that you can determine your content’s performance and measure its effectiveness.
30. Waiting For Your Cat to Bark: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing by Bryan and Jeffrey Einsenberg
If you own a cat or have tried to play with one of your friend’s cat, you know that it could be tough to get them to do so. Different cats have different personalities, depending on their breed. You need to understand this to get them to do anything.
The same thing is true when it comes to marketing your products and services to your customers. In this book, brothers Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg stress the importance of optimizing your marketing campaign’s content so that it fits your buyer persona’s wants and needs.
The book focuses on teaching the Persuasion Architecture model and includes practical tips on how to apply this model when you copywrite your content. It also shows you how to leverage social media and other channels to effectively engage with your customers and get them to buy.
Which of these copywriting books have you read? Are there any other copywriting books not listed here that are worth mentioning? Share them in your comments below.
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