Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on May 21, 2013. It has been updated to reflect offering changes, as well as newly available tools and solutions.
Nobody is born a good copywriter. It’s a skill that’s developed with time and practice. If you’re short on time, that can sound daunting. But it’s also good news. After all, if your skill set isn’t where you’d like it to be, it’s easy enough to get there with patience and the right resources. We can’t help with the patience, but the resources — 25 of them, to be exact, thoughtfully arranged in alphabetical order — are here for the taking.
Bob Bly – A copywriting mastermind, Bob Bly is well regarded in the industry. He brings that experience to bear not only on his highly successful writing business, but also on a string of bestselling books on the writer’s craft, secrets of the trade, and more. His website — and especially his blog — is an appetizer of sorts for his longer-form work.
The Content Marketing Institute – With a portfolio that includes how-to guides for everything from copy to KPIs, a magazine, seminars, and a blog that aggregates goings-on from around the web marketing world, the Content Marketing Institute is essential reading if you’re a copywriter or marketer.
The Content Strategist – The blog for content marketing company Contently, The Content Strategist will get you up to speed (or give you a quick refresher) on the fundamentals. But it goes a bit further still, with unique pieces on when to avoid (or court) controversy, building better content teams, and marketing trends from a global perspective.
Copyblogger – For eleven years — which is an eternity in web time — Copyblogger’s collection of articles, ebooks, classes, and webinars have taught the fundamentals of the copywriting craft. They also offer other products, from certifications to custom WordPress themes.
Copy Hackers – These days everybody’s offering “hacks” and “simple tricks” for practically everything under the sun. CopyHackers actually delivers, and positively excels when it comes to bringing copywriting skills quickly to those who might be thinking about their copy for the first time. If you’re part of a small team where everyone wears multiple hats — we’re looking at you, startups — this is a great place to start.
The Copywriter’s Crucible – You’ll find plenty of good tips on copywriting here, but more than most resources, The Copywriter’s Crucible focuses on what happens once the copy is finished. In addition to advice on writing better proposals, generating better copy, and getting a fair rate for your work, the site has advice you don’t see often elsewhere, from nailing your SEO to dealing with rejection and failure.
Copywriting.com – The words don’t come on their own, and copywriting.com helps with some of the background tasks — including editorial calendars, personalizing copy, and building swipe files so that you can work smart and not just hard.
GKIC – Dan Kennedy spent years working with high-dollar clients whose businesses were worth millions (or even billions) of dollars. GKIC is his effort to bring what he’s learned over the years to SMBs. Bonus points for a blog that’s not only informative, but also extremely easy to navigate; finding the content you need is quicker here than it tends to be on other sites.
Seth Godin – Godin seems omnipresent on the web, from his TED talks to his growing catalog of best-selling books. Reading his blog often gives you a preview of works in progress, but — more importantly — speaks to the harder work behind copywriting: finding and building community with your words.
Google Trends – Writer’s block happens to everyone, without exception. Google Trends can be a great block-buster, since it gives you insights on what people are looking for and talking about in near-real-time.
Grammarly – Proofreading is a bit of a sticky wicket. It doesn’t matter how well-read, well-written or diligent you are, it’s easy too miss thee misspellings and grammar gremlins that your spell-cheque dose knot catch (see what we did there?). Grammarly works as a browser plug-in, with both free and paid tiers of service, and catches what your tired eyes might miss.
Hot Copy– Tune in twice a month for new episodes or make your way through the archive of what’s billed as “a copywriting podcast for copywriters”. Creators Kate Toon and Belinda Weaver share writing resources, shortcuts, tips, and business advice in this lighthearted series.
Kissmetrics Blog – In addition to copywriting advice, there’s a lot here on analytics. Don’t overlook that part of the equation, since it’s vital for measuring results to determine what’s working.
Legal Guide for Bloggers – This is a portal to a set of resources compiled by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Since writers — especially freelancers — don’t often have the resources of a major corporation or newsroom at their disposal, the EFF’s guide is a handy one stop shop to navigate the legal issues and hassles they can face on a day-to-day basis.
Lousy Writer – While the interface is a bit clunky, you’ll find one of the best guides to writing in simple English on the web. Just as important, a lot of the things you probably slept through in your high school English class — punctuation, grammar, and frequently misused words, for example — is covered here in detail.
Market Copywriter Blog – We usually stick to the latest and most current sites when we make recommendations, but we’re making an exception for Lorraine Thompson’s Market Copywriter Blog. Her teachings are drawn not only from a quarter century of industry experience, but also from sharp insights gleaned from history, pop culture, and a variety of other sources.
MediaBistro – This resource offers self-paced courses of varying lengths for copywriters and freelancers. The fact that they’re also one of the best niche job sites on the web is helpful if you decide you’d rather hire a copywriter than take the time to learn the essentials.
Men with Pens – Unlike some of the other resources listed here, Men With Pens is a one-stop design and writing shop that covers everything from web design to ghostwriting. However, unlike their competitors, they’re willing to give a peek under the hood, sharing advice that makes for better copy, better engagement, and better results.
PsychoTactics – A blog that complements a successful podcast and website, it delves deep into the psychology behind what works — and what doesn’t — in copywriting and sales. Once you understand how your customers think, you can use those insights to influence customer behavior and action.
Quicksprout – Neil Patel’s Quicksprout blog explores SEO, algorithm updates, analytics, and practically everything else that intersects with marketing. It has frequent insights on copywriting, too, which are conveniently gathered in The Definitive Guide to Copywriting, one of the best free resources we’ve seen yet.
Skillshare – A peer-to-peer learning resource that’s constantly adding new classes on topics that range from hand lettering to SEO and entrepreneurship. Their copywriting offerings, like their other courses, break subject matter down to short bursts that encourage moving from theory to action.
Sorry for Marketing – Sorry for Marketing is the brainchild of podcaster/copywriter/branding expert Jay Acunzo. Acunzo cut his teeth with the likes of Google and HubSpot, and he brings that experience to bear on practical (and sometimes counterintuitive) advice on copywriting and marketing more generally.
StoryBistro – Brand storytelling is the next “next big thing,” and Téa Silvestre Godfrey’s Story Bistro is packed with resources to help you — as either a business or an individual — tell better stories.
WebInkNow – David Meerman Scott is something of a marketing polymath. The WebInkNow blog shares his insights on the craft among nuggets about other brands’ successes and failures, and alongside his other efforts, which include sound branding, conference talks, and “Newsjacking,” a news-driven approach to PR.
Write to Done – It’s increasingly rare that copywriting is just about the writing. Write to Done covers not only copywriting, but also the other tasks that intersect with the craft — HTML, CSS, lead generation, psychology, and even a dash of productivity — to expand your mind and your craft alike.
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