When I reviewed this book by Jon McCulloch,
Why Your Copywriting Sucks
on Amazon.co.uk, I gave it a rating of Five Stars. This means it is Excellent and Very Highly Recommended.
Here is my book review.
A fascinating book split into two parts
The author concedes too many copywriting books and courses are sold through hype and admits that the copywriting isn’t as important as the offer, the people who get to see the offer and any existing relationship.
The book is split into two sections and it’s almost as if these are two different books rammed together, the first for beginners the second for more advanced copywriters.
This first section is a down to earth guide. Most of the time, your copywriting doesn’t have to be great, just better than your competitors – think websites from Google search, Yellow Pages. I’ve talked about playing a game of marketing bingo and you’ll normally come to realise that everyone says pretty much the same thing until someone is deliberately different.
The author takes you through a step by step process, sharing examples of his own copy. If you’ve read other good copywriting books then this is fairly standard stuff done well. At this stag, the book was on target for a four star rating.
I had reservations because the book didn’t really live up to the title. It’s a how to guide when I was expecting a book to help review and analyse copy. I thought it would show mistakes and then how to correct them.
It’s the second section which has caused me to find that rare fifth star for the book and rate it alongside classics by John Caples, Victor Schwab etc. It’s this second section that made me turn my Kindle unlimited borrowing of the book into a purchase.
This section gives example after example of presuppositions. I first had these explained to me as an NLP based persuasion trick, almost certainly used by the copywriting greats of the past. A presupposition is a sentence which has something taken for granted as true in it.
Wikipedia gives the example of “Jane no longer writes fiction” which causes you assume that Jane used to write fiction. Technical explanations for presuppositions in language studies are complicated, fortunately this book isn’t.
It gives example after example in a formula style and then explains why it is effective. The book goes on to explain some key words, good and bad. I’ve read quite a few copywriting books but I haven’t seen this done before and it feels like pro tactics are being revealed.
I’m giving the book five stars but I also have concerns over who is going to get value from the book. New copywriters who are developing their skills might benefit immediately from the first section and eventually realise the importance of the second. Business owners will also appreciate the straight talking of the first section. I’m unsure they will do the work necessary to use the second section and recommend they read The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza first.
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