Best and Worst Places Online to Learn Copywriting

August 22nd, 2007 by Bob Bly

There are a TON of promoters online today selling how-to programs in both “how to write copy” and “how to make six figures as a freelance copywriter” — two different but related topics.

Which ones have you found that are the “real deal” — great content, clear instruction, and a guru who is a genuine expert.

Which ones have you tried that did not work — and were so bad you’d advise others to stay away from?


This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007 at 12:56 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

53 responses about “Best and Worst Places Online to Learn Copywriting”

  1. Gamermk said:

    Even though anything you would have wrote on this subject would have obviously contained a certain bias, I must say that it’s disappointing that you are asking us to do your writing for you when the heading gave me the indication that I was going to be reading already created lists.

    That being said, a couple of my favourites are and (I realize that not everyone might agree that copywriting = blogging, but if you are blogging right, I think it does)

  2. Michael said:

    Great question, Bob! I finished the AWAI 6 figure copywriting course, and I must say it helped tremendously at work. The course provided a lot of instruction and practice. I’m glad your question didn’t simply lead to a list you provided. This way, I get a sampling of views from across the copywriter community and not just your favourites.

  3. Bob Bly said:

    My short list: Clayton Makepeace and the Total Package … John Forde’s Copywriter’s Roundtable … AWAI … and tons of free copywriting articles at my Web site — and there are more, of course. For freelancing, Peter Bowerman’s Well-Fed Writer … Steve Slaunwhite’s book Start and Run a Successful Copywriting Business. Career Coaches for copywriters: Chris Marlowe, Nick Usborne.

  4. aj said:

    what about dan kennedy/bill glazer? anyone care to comment? thanks.

  5. Bob Bly said:

    Dan is an excellent copywriter, though I think of him more as a teacher of marketing rather than just copywriting, where Clayton, AWAI, Forde, and I teach copywriting specifically. Bill Glazer is a guru in information marketing online.

  6. SpongeBob Fan said:

    Not quite sure where post-er #1 is coming from — anything anyone writes obviously contains certain biases! Bob is always clear about his.

  7. Art Luff said:

    I like Marlon Sanders down to earth approach to writing!

  8. John Gilger said:

    I spent thousands of dollars learning copywriting (I’m a sucker for a good sales letter).

    John Carlton’s course has been the best. Michael Masterson’s (AWAI) Six Figure and Master courses were good. John Forde’s “Secrets for Writing for the Internet” is great.

    Clayton Makepeace has the best newsletter and the best “writing club”.

    I always learn new stuff from anything I dig up that Dan Kennedy or Gary Halbert wrote.

    As for books, you (Bly) lead the pack 😉

  9. Ted Grigg said:

    Comment in response to Gamermk.

    You may have found this blog from Bob wanting. I, on the other hand, admire Bob’s blogging ability. He consistently brings out many comments from readers.

    After all, doesn’t his successful blog speak for itself? :)

  10. Mike Braun said:

    Bob, recently I have looked into the AWAI six figure course and found it very intriguing. In fact, I wanted to write you an email about it asking your opinion. Is it true that I could simply write a few sales letters a year and bring in that type of income? To me it sounds almost too good to be true. If you could give me your opinion on here, or via email I would appreciate it. Any info other posters can provide would be great too.

  11. Bob Bly said:

    Is AWAI a great course? Yes.

    Can it teach you to write direct response copy at a very high level? Yes.

    Are the people behind it really great copywriters and direct marketers? Yes.

    Is it as easy as everyone claims to “just write a few letters a year” and earn a huge income?

    The answer to that question is a bit more complex, and I give it in detail in my new program “The Copywriting Industry Exposed.”

  12. Charles Cuninghame said:

    Hi Bob

    I think one of the most underrated copywriting courses is AWAI’s Secrets of Writing For the Business to Business Market by Steve Slaunwhite.

    It’s a little cheaper than the Six-Figure Copywriting course and has everything you need to know to become a journeyman copywriter and handle just about any type of project.

    Steve Slaunwhite’s copywriters website ( has tons of advice for building your copywriting business and he also does coaching.

    I wish I had these resources when I started out freelancing.

  13. Dianna Huff said:

    My favorite course? “The School of Hard Knocks.”

    I learned to communicate my ideas logically, correctly, and coherently while in school. I learned how to write marketing copy — a whole different kettle of fish — while on the job.

  14. Bob Bly said:

    Charles: I agree with you, but of course, I EDITED Steve’s B2B course. Best source I ever took: “Direct Respone Copywriting” with legendary copywriter Milt Pierce at New York University in the early 1980s. Milt is retired and no longer teaches the course, but I compiled his writings and classic letters into an e-book, “Milt Pierce’s Marketing Success Secrets.” To learn more, click here now:

  15. lawton chiles said:

    I have not yet ordered AWAI but have tried Clayton’s 6 Figure Copywriting Course. While it gave some good resources like finding newsletter publishers and asking for a royalty, I think I need more concrete, step by step examples, while his was more of a rambling audio interview.

    Granted, you guys covered a lot but I think i need
    more specifics and how-tos, especially when it comes do actually writing great copy and text formatting for print vs. online practices and how that differs.

  16. Bob Bly said:

    Lawton: to learn copywriting order my book The Copywriter’s Handbook from — less than $15. To learn the BUSINESS of being a freelance copywriter, get my book Secrets of a Freelance Writer, also under $15 from

  17. Sheri Cyprus said:

    I’m quite new to copywriting. I’ll hit the two year mark next week. When I first started, by landing a job as a Junior Copywriter in a direct marketing agency, I soon found out no one was going to show me what to do. I went to the bookstore and bought Bob Bly’s The Copywriter’s Handbook and David Ogilvy’s Confessions of An Advertising Man. I kept these two ‘copywriting bibles’ in my desk and referred to them and really thought about the material in them every day. These two books gave me the foundation I needed and I couldn’t have accomplished what I did (beating controls and writing marketing materials higher ups called “brilliant” in only six months on the job).

    When I chose to leave the agency after ten months (due to office politics :)) and start my own copywriting business, I ordered Steve Slaunwhite’s book called Start and Run a Copywriting Business. I’ve been a self-supporting freelance copywriter for a year now thanks in great part to Steve’s excellent advice! So, I’m personally against these online copywriting courses that cost a sizable amount of cash and promise you fortunes and all this step by step stuff. I think the best copywriters need to be able to be curious enough to look for good sources of advice in more resourceful ways and really think for themselves more and learn to create their own ideas/methods from it.

    There are many top-notch copywriters that have free newsletters and blogs such as Bob, Steve and Gary Bencivenga and Susanna Hutcheson.

  18. Bob Bly said:

    Sheri: it always amazes me that people go directly to a $3,000 coaching program or $5,000 boot camp, when they have not even read the free newsletters and $10 books available from the same gurus!

  19. Mike Braun said:

    So what is the equivalent of the AWAI copywriting course? Does this course lie to you about the potential salary gains you can make? I’ve read a lot of great articles and books, including The Copywriter’s Handbook, and I’m a new college graduate. Will taking this course really give me such an income increase? I’m trying to sort fact from fiction and sift through the hype.

  20. Mike Braun said:

    I should also clarify that I do have a job as a copywriter, though I graduated college earlier this spring. I have been in this business for about 5 months now. My employer has been very happy with my work.

  21. Sheri Cyprus said:

    Mike: From my point of view, for what it’s worth, a great copywriter doesn’t need those courses to make six figures. I’m not saying anything against the AWAI courses or anything, it’s just that I think the best copywriters definitely have to learn the basics from the gurus, but at the same time they really must think for themselves and go from there and promote themselves and that there’s only so much good advice you need to do that.

    That is only my opinion, but I’ve just reached my first year as a freelance copywriter and I’m accomplishing the income goals I set for myself. Within five years I can realistically expect to earn six figures. I think it’s important to learn the basics from Bly, Ogilvy etc. and then really really think creatively every single day. I study the master copywriters and the industry without spending a fortune to do that and I’m really certain I will be earning those six figures within five years. After all, copywriting is all about thinking, promoting, confidence and creativity!

  22. Bob Bly said:

    Sheri: Thanks for putting me in the same list as Ogilvy, which of course I don’t deserve. I think the hierarchy of information on copywriting or any other field is something like this:

    1. E-zines, blogs, free e-books — zero cost.
    2. How-to books (me, Ogivly) — $20 or less each.
    3. “Courses” sold mostly online — $100 to $3,000.
    4. Boot camps, coaching, consulting — $3,000 and up.

    Different people learn in different ways, and there are entries at every level I recommend.

    But if a person is on a budget, no need to spend five grand on someone’s big event. Read his free e-zine first! Once you master what he gives away there, then consider his expensive product….

  23. Sheri Cyprus said:

    Bob: To me, you and Ogilvy really do belong on the same list. As I said a few posts ago above, both The Copywriter’s Handbook and Confessions of an Advertising Man really gave me a start in what copywriting is all about and helped propel me to amazing success in only six months on the job. It was just the advice I needed to stand out in a direct marketing shop. Otherwise, without your detailed “how-to” copywriting advice when I needed it, I wouldn’t have been able to pull a 13% response rate in sweepstakes dm packages right off the bat — so thanks! (:

    You’re right about people learning in different ways and I guess I do learn best from the written word. But, don’t most copywriters if they are voracious readers/wordsmiths? I do have to admit that I’m also way too ch—frugal! to ever go beyond the middle of #3 on your list, but your list of the different levels makes sense as a logical progression of learning/spending.

  24. Bob Bly said:

    Sheri: I am frugal too. I can’t understand why people spend $5,000 to go to a guru’s boot camp when they have not yet bothered to read and study the hundreds of pages of content on his site which are available free. I say: do that first. Master what he gives away. Then if you want more than he gives for free, buy it from him.

  25. Jenn said:

    A professional copywriter can make copywriting look easy. As you try to do it yourself, however, you will quickly learn just how much work goes into a good advertisement or piece of copy. If you keep trying, however, and take the time to learn the skills, you will become better at it. Be patient with yourself. Eventually you will be very good at selling your products and services.

  26. online learning said:

    I prefer to learn copywriting in person, look for copywriting seminars and workshops under each category that allow you to do just that. You’ll find online copywriting seminars; workshops conducted via telephone; and in-person, classroom-style gatherings where you can learn copywriting straight from the pros.

  27. Lean Excellence Indonesia said:

    Lean Excellence Indonesia…

    […]Best and Worst Places Online to Learn Copywriting – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  28. HelpALocalBusiness said:


    […]Best and Worst Places Online to Learn Copywriting – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  29. Copywriting Secrets: Helpful Advice For Copywriting Beginners | The Business Blog said:

    […] #split {}#single {}#splitalign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}#singlealign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}.linkboxtext {line-height: 1.4em;}.linkboxcontainer {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;background-color:#eeeeee;border-color:#000000;border-width:0px; border-style:solid;}.linkboxdisplay {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;}.linkboxdisplay td {text-align: center;}.linkboxdisplay a:link {text-decoration: none;}.linkboxdisplay a:hover {text-decoration: underline;} function opensingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = ''; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = 'none'; } function closesingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = 'none'; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = ''; } Bondodog Reveals Gary Halbert Family Copywriting Secrets Internet Marketing Speed Blog by James SchramkoHow To Improve Your Business With Article MarketingBest and Worst Places Online to Learn Copywriting – blog – direct marketing blog […]

  30. cynthia said:

    Just today I read a promo for the new AWAI Masters Program v3.0 and to celebrate the launch, they are offering a 2-year money back guarantee if it doesn’t help you double your income in that amount of time. Sounds like a no brainer for copywriters who think they may want to take a course in order to take things up a notch. Expires May 4 2012.

  31. Malok Mading said:

    I have been reading your articles and several others. I have to say there is a lot of goldmine from blogs than buying or attending those seminars. Imagine ordering a certain book that the author claims to contain some secrets but later find those elsewhere free…Think twice.

  32. make extra money online forex binary options trading signal software online business said:

    Way cool! Some very vzlid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of the website is alszo very good.

  33. forex indicator said:

    Things such as Forex signals and indicators are essential equipment for traders.

    The formula which is preset on most software systems is:
    . Forex simulators, which operate very much like
    many PC games which start out by giving you a scenario and then setting you a target, allow you not simply
    to practice trading in a safe environment without risking any money, but also allow you to ‘rewind’ your trading and analyze just what you got right and what you got

  34. seo Barnet said:

    I’ve read some good stuff here.Certainly worth bookmarking ffor revisiting.
    I surprise how much effort you place to create one of
    these fantastic informative website.

  35. izmir diksiyon said:

    hello know the best seach engine from turkey its became new but if you want to

  36. Homes for Sale Palm Springs said:

    I know this web site provides quality dependent articles or reviews and other data, is
    there any other web page which offers these kinds of stuff in quality?

  37. Satis koclugu said:

    shares utilize a good web-site decent Gives bless you for the work to assist me personally

  38. marine freezer planter box kits said:

    The anglers will have better luck hooking them if they go fishing after
    hours. Do not make the mistake of cutting down the tree yourself or hiring a regular tree removal
    company to do the job. If you do, and if you eat fish every night, keep what you need
    to sustain them.

  39. moving expenses storage costs said:

    for more information please visit here :
    more information please visit here :. This may include operating process, budgets, extra services offered, experienced staff, storage facilities, pet care etc.
    Loading these moving vans is not as easy as tossing your possessions into your back again.

  40. clogged toilet pompano beach club said:

    It is easy for plumbers to become exposed to compounds including mesothelioma or steer.
    This may include dust, crumbs, staples, fingernail clippings, hair,
    paperclips, and whatever other kind of nastiness that can accumulate down there.
    With conscientious use, a programmable thermostat can save about $150
    year in energy costs.

  41. Jennifer said:

    I am a recent graduate with a BA in Psych. and BS in Elementary Ed. I do not wish to pursue teaching after a horrible student teaching experience, among many other negative factors. I only needed a few more credits to obtain the dual degree in Psych., but am not sure what I can use it for. I have always had a great passion for writing, and have received many compliments from my college professors. The other day, I started looking into copywriting. I have no experience, no portfolio, etc. I need to know how to get started from scratch without having to go back to school or spend a ton of money on courses. I am creative but do not know how to create a portfolio outside of Microsoft Word. I never created a website. I need more information on how to get started with examples provided. Can someone please recommend some books/courses that would be beneficial for someone like me who will be brand new to this field? I would like to learn more about print, radio, television, internet, and SEO. I am also debating between working for a company or doing freelance. I think freelance might be my best bet since most companies are looking for someone with years of experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  42. Jim said:

    Hi Jennifer,
    The top 5 books classic books on most top books lists are:
    1. Scientific Advertising
    2. Tested Advertising Methods
    3. How to Write a Good Advertisement
    4. Breakthrough Advertising
    5. the Robert Collier Letter Book
    In addition, anything by John Caples, David Ogilvy, Bob Bly, John Carlton, and Gary Halbert would be great.
    Many of the above have free articles on their sites which are easily found.
    Scientific Advertising is in the public domain, so it’s available for free as well.
    American Writers and Artists (AWAI) has lots of stuff, both paid and free on their site.
    Get your hands on classic and great ads, and copy them out by hand. Daily.
    Write. Also daily.

  43. rockbox stagecoach movie theater in fredericksburg tx said:

    There aren’t too many ocean two person sit in fishing kayaks out on the market.
    Velocity boaters like finding around at a quickly pace even though most fishermen want a boat to get to the fish so they usually shift at a slower pace.
    More important than the `Test’ strength of the line is the proper use of knots, discarding line when it gets frayed or damaged, and not trying to `hoist’
    a fish into the air with your rod and reel.

  44. Vaughn said:

    Great goods from you, man. I have remember your stuff previous to and you’re simply
    too fantastic. I really like what you’ve received right
    here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way through which you
    assert it. You are making it enjoyable and you still care for to keep
    it smart. I cant wait to learn far more from you. This is actually a great web site.

  45. iPhone 6 plus cases girls said:

    The case makes using a delicate iPad anywhere much, much safer.Stuff it in your backpack, slam it into the back seat and pour soda all over it or use it as a tray for sandwiches and then rinse it off in the sink.

  46. Cerys said:

    What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out
    loads. I hope to contribute & aid other customers like
    its helped me. Good job.

  47. company listings in woodinville said:

    Email is okay, printed (if their economics justify it) is better.

    She* is going to the Yukon alone for 90 days in the summer of 2011.
    Many of us remember the days of the HUGE networking parties where you would go and talk with someone only long enough to receive their business cards.

  48. Charis said:

    Verry nice article, just what I wanted to find.

  49. small business said:

    It’s hard to come by well-informed people for this subject, however, you seem
    like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  50. stair parts distributors said:

    Remember that it’s going to soon be of others,
    so attempt to that would be that around possible.
    Not easily but once picking out the following kitchen or bathroom
    DIY project, please you should definitely know this. This may necessitate additional shoring
    up on the structural components at added cost.

  51. isaac said:

    Great discussion, personally I found the Copyblogger course to be a fantastic resource for learnign to be a great copywriter

  52. Comprar limones online said:

    I simply couldn’t depart your website before suggesting that I extremely loved the usual info a person provide in your visitors? Is going to be again regularly to check out new posts.

  53. Chanel iPhone 6 Case said:

    iOS 9 beta 2 includes several minor design tweaks and feature updates that have been introduced as Apple works to refine the software ahead of its public release this fall.

Leave a Reply