001 – The Best Copywriting Exercise Out There (That No One Talks About)

Shownotes for episode 001 of The B2B Copywriting Podcast.

Listen to it here:

Or wherever you listen to podcasts (just search for “The B2B Copywriting Podcast”)

The Benjamin Franklin Exercise is the best exercise out there for budding copywriters looking to improve their writing chops and emulate the masters.

The actual exercise is quite straight-forward:

  1. Find a piece of copy (or any piece of writing, really) that you like and want to emulate.
  2. Take out a pen and paper (or a Google doc) and write down the core message of every paragraph and sentence.
    The example used in the podcast:
    I showed them how to STOP chasing clients… and how to get clients to start chasing YOU.
    Looks like this in your Google doc:
    1 sentence: Stopped chasing clients and got them to do it instead.
    This way you have essentially copied what the author wanted to communicate without using their words.
  3. Do this for all the sentences/paragraphs. I usually take a page or two — if you want you can do the whole sales page, it’s gonna take significantly longer though. Up to you if you want to do it. I usually only write 1-2 pages.
  4. When you’ve taken notes of the core message of each sentence, save the document, close your browser (or the original sales page/post at least) and let your brain forget all about it. 24 hours is usually enough.
  5. After a day or so has passed, open up your Google doc (or your notes) and start rewriting the actual copy based on your notes. DO NOT LOOK AT THE ORIGINAL MESSAGE!
  6. When you’re happy with the copy, go back to the original message and copy-paste the sentences to your document.
    Example:
    THEM: I showed them how to STOP chasing clients… and how to get clients to start chasing YOU
    ME: I showed them a way to stop chasing clients – and getting them to do it instead.
  7. Compare your writing to theirs, pick out the things that differ and take notes on top of the page.
    Example:
    Capitalize power words like STOP and YOU. Write in 1st and 2nd person (YOU, not THEM). Shorten your sentences.
    ^All of that is from one sentence alone.
  8. You’re now done with The Benjamin Franklin Exercise. If you want to get the FULL benefits, keep emulating the same author until their biggest strengths have become YOUR biggest strengths. Then move on to another author.
  9. I suggest you do this exercise twice per week. It doesn’t take long, no one else needs to see it, this is all for you and your development.

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback on this episode, leave a comment below: