7 Top of our favorite copywriting books
By John Welch on December 16, 2020
What Is Copywriting?
According to Quicksprout, “Copywriting is the art and science of writing copy (words used on web pages, ads, promotional materials, etc.) that sells your product or service and convinces prospective customers to take action.”
That’s a fancy way of saying that copywriting means marketing words. Copywriting is the backbone of all marketing efforts. If you don’t believe me, pay attention to the next video you watch while you’re scrolling through your social feed in the bathroom.
Wait, what was that you just saw super-imposed over the almighty video you were just watching? Captions?? What are these captions? Written words? I never would have guessed!
The written word is still the most powerful marketing tool in your arsenal. It’s no wonder so many books have been written on copywriting. If the Tower of Babel was possible, you just might be able to build it out of copywriting books.
That being said, the best way to learn copywriting is reading, so buckle up and put on your reading gloves, let’s take a look at 7 of the best books you can read to become a copywriting genius.
- What Is Copywriting?
- How To Get Good At Copywriting
1. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
There are very few books I’ve read that I would read no matter what they were about. This is one of them. I’ve rarely found a better written book or a more enjoyable read. Mr. Zinsser brings his considerable wit and experience to bear in delivering a masterclass on the art of writing. His teachings are profound, but the real lessons come from observing the way he writes.
2. This Is Marketing by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is one of the most well-known modern-day marketers. I had never read anything by Godin before, and I was immediately struck by his unique method of writing and communicating. Like many of the books on this list, the real lessons are to be learned by studying how Godin communicates, but this book is full of profound and insightful marketing knowledge that is sure to up your copywriting game.
3. Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Not everyone would agree that Start With Why is a copywriting book. However, any marketer that reads this book and doesn’t come away with profound insights into how to improve the way they communicate needs to find a new job. In this book, Sinek unravels the secrets to what attracts people to certain companies or brands. Once you begin to understand the foundation of attraction, you can use these principles to make your copywriting magnetic.
5. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
I didn’t read this book thinking it would improve my copywriting. I was actually interested in quitting some bad habits. Turns out nearly every example in this book is based on how marketers used the power of habit to increase sales or drive explosive new business results. By the time I was done reading this, my mind was reeling from all the ideas it gave me. Understanding how habits work and how simple words can influence them is a must-have skill for every marketer.
4. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
What do Star Wars and copywriting have in common? I’ll let Donald Miller tell you. This guy’s advice and ideas have influenced some of the biggest brands in the world, including everyone’s favorite chicken sandwich shop. (No, not Popeyes!!) Building a Story Brand is what finally opened my eyes to the power of story and how necessary it is if you want to write amazing marketing messages.
6. How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
If you understand copywriting at it’s most basic level, it’s nothing more than influencing others with words. Dale Carnegie has been teaching people how to do that ever since he wrote this book in 1936. I read this book when I was 23, and it started me on a journey of self-improvement and knowledge-seeking which I will continue until I die. How To Win Friends & Influence People helps you understand the basic, but powerful, behavioral habits that undergird most human behavior. What better thing to know if you’re trying to write great marketing copy?
7. Don’t Make Me Think (Revisited) by Steve Krug
This book is focused on website user experience, but the lessons apply to copywriting across the board. Krug understands human nature on a deep level and has profound insight into the customer journey. This book was transformational for me because it showed me how to put myself in my audience’s shoes. Instead of thinking like a marketer, I started thinking like a consumer, which is invaluable. Empathy is necessary for great copywriting.
How To Get Good At Copywriting
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When you’re trying to get good at something, it makes the most sense to look at people that are already good at it. The best way to improve at copywriting is to start noticing copywriting.
Pay attention when you read some copy that really sticks out to you. Why does it stick out? Is it really good? Is it really bad? Why?
Copywriting is communicating. That’s it. Good copy follows the same rules as good communicating. Keep it simple and easy to understand, and you’ll notice improvements. After that, the real fun begins.
Happy reading and writing!Back to the blog