You DON’T Need to Copy Old Ads Out By Hand (Learn Copy 5X Faster With the ‘Clever Lazy’ Method) - Pete OC
BY PETE OC The Clever Lazy Copy Coach


If you’re copying old ads out by hand as a big part of your copywriting practice, you’re handicapping the speed at which you can improve your skills…

And not just by a little bit…

You’re slowing your progress BIG TIME…

Blasphemy Pete!

Copying old ads out by hand is one of the best ways to learn copywriting… it’s touted by TONS of A-listers… besides, it helps ‘burn’ great copy into my brain…

Who are you to say otherwise?

Here’s the thing…

It’s possible that copying old ads out by hand does burn good copywriting into your brain on some level…

… and I’m not saying if you write old ads out every day, you won’t improve your copywriting skill.

You will.

But the real question is – if you want to become a better copywriter, is there a better use of your time?

I believe the answer to that question is a BIG, FAT FUCKING YES.

In this article I’m going to reveal a method for learning copy that TROUNCES copying old ads out by hand in its ability to improve your skill.

If you adopt it, I believe you will improve as a copywriter five times faster… and possibly even quicker than that…

Before I get into the method, let me tell you a quick story about a little boy called Johnny…

(Yes, there’s a point to this, bear with me)…

The Tale of Little Johnny… Or, Why You Aren’t Progressing as a Copywriter

Let me set the scene…

It’s Johnny’s first ever soccer training. And he’s excited.

Johnny’s favourite player is Lionel Messi. Because of that, he wants to be a striker. His dream is to be the top-scorer in the league.

However, when training starts… a strange thing happens: Johnny runs to the back of the pitch and starts training with the defenders!

He practices tackling, man-marking and how to defend corners… and he becomes pretty good. But when Sunday comes around and he lines up to play striker, he STINKS.

He can’t shoot. He doesn’t know where to run. And consequently, he doesn’t even get close to scoring.

He goes home sad and wonders where it all went wrong.


To you and me, it’s obvious what Johnny did wrong.

He wanted to be a striker, yet he practiced everything but the skills he needed to become a good one…

The funny thing is…

You’re Wasting Your Time in EXACTLY the Same Way When You Copy Old Ads Out By Hand

Only it’s probably even worse.

Copywriting is a VERY complex skill.

There’s a million different styles, leads, tones… and a HUGE variety of formulas and mediums…

You can study it for 30 years and still not know everything there is to know…

That means, if you aren’t certain about what you study, fully 90% of the things you learn will be next to useless for YOUR goals as a copywriter.

And that’s especially true for copying out old ads!

For one, most come from a time when market sophistication was low… so the headlines and offers in them often won’t even work anymore.

And second, the ad your copying is probably in no way related to what YOU need to know to be an effective copywriter… not the structure, not the headline… not anything…

For example, if you’re copying out an advertorial from the 1920’s and your goal is to write sales-letters in the fitness niche in 2016, what you’re doing is basically pointless.

OK Pete, I see what you’re saying… but how do I ‘get certain’ about what I need to study?

Well, you could use something I call the ‘clever lazy’ copy method.

The ‘clever lazy’ copy method is designed to give you maximum improvement for minimum effort a la Tim Ferriss. It’s based on something called deliberate practice.

Here’s how Cal Newport (author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You) describes the strategy of deliberate practice:

Step 1. Set a specific goal and focus your attention tightly on the specific skill-set that will help you achieve it

Step2. Get feedback so you can correct your approach to keep your attention where it’s most productive

Let’s start with Step 1.

For example, let’s say you decide on this goal:

I’m a solopreneur who wants to learn copy so I can
launch an info product to my list.

This is a good goal.

It’s narrow. (It’s also what I cover on my list).

Do you see how much more focused you can become when you have a specific goal like this?

Now, instead of wasting time writing old ads out by hand… or reading 10 classic copy books back-to-back without implementing anything…

You only need to learn JUST these three things:

  1. How to write a compelling opt-in device to qualify and build your list
  2. How to write 4-6 different types of sales emails
  3. How to write ONE very specific style of sales-letter…

And that’s it.

If you understand how to write these types of copy… you’ll know everything you need to start making great money selling info products… and you won’t have wasted any time learning shit you don’t need.

Will you have the skills you need to become the world’s best freelancer?

Of course not.

Will you care?

You tell me.


Just weeks from now, having all the skills YOU need to make money as a copywriter…

If you use deliberate practice, it’s possible.


So we’ve covered Step 1 of deliberate practice.

Now let’s move on to Step 2 – ‘getting feedback to keep your attention where it’s most productive…’

The best way to approach this is to find a qualified coach or mentor.

It’s the ultimate shortcut to improving ANY skill…


Well, the story of little Johnny shows you the kind of problems you have when you try to learn a new skill alone.

You see, because Johnny didn’t have anybody giving him feedback and keeping his attention where it would be most productive… he was practicing the total wrong thing…

If Johnny had a coach who said…

‘Johnny you little spaz, if you want to be a striker… go practice shooting…’

He might’ve achieved his dream of becoming top-scorer.

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But look, don’t just take my word for it… all the biggest achievers have used this ‘deliberate practice’ mentor method to build their skills…

  • Gary Bencivenga was a wet behind the ears copy cub when he met David Ogilvy…

  • Richard Branson turned Virgin Airlines into a global airline under the guidance of Sir Freddie Laker…

  • And Luke Skywalker was shown the ways of the force by Yoda before becoming the most powerful Jedi in the Star Wars universe…

And really, you need a coach for both parts of deliberate practice.

For Step 1, you need a coach to tell you WHAT to study to achieve your copywriting goal… and for Step 2, you need the coach to give you feedback.

In a perfect world, you’d employ one who will give you direct feedback on your copy… line-by-line.

And, after they’ve given your copy the once over… you should send it to your market immediately to see whether it sells or not.

If you use this process – of mentor-review and feedback from your market – you will learn copywriting FAR quicker than any other way. I guarantee it. Like, it’s not even close.

(Btw, if you’re looking for an expert copy critique or even a mentor, you might try contacting Colin Theriot… I know he offers one-off critiques, as well as mentorship programs… and at half the price he should charge!)

But Pete, coaches are expensive and I don’t have the money!

Well really, when you think about it… getting a coach is actually the cheaper option.

They can save you years of your most valuable resource – TIME…

Any smart person will tell you that if you have a choice to trade money to buy more time… you should ALWAYS spend the money…

It’s the one resource you can’t get back…’ and all that…

Besides, you can use that time to make more money.

But OK, let’s say you can’t afford to employ a direct mentor to give you feedback… what should you do?

The ‘Learn By Doing’ Method For Improving Your Copy SKILLZ Without a Mentor

You should try, as best you can, to do the same thing as you would with a direct copywriting mentor.

That means, study only the things you need to know to achieve your goal… preferably from only ONE or TWO sources… and then start implementing what you learn immediately by actually writing your own copy and sending it to your market.

This is why Ben Settle’s daily email method is fantastic if you want to learn email copywriting… because you learn by implementation.

Of course, without a mentor your progress will be MUCH slower – you’ll waste time sending out a lot of shitty copy that could be far better with a mentor’s guidance… and, when your copy doesn’t work, you’ll have to work out why on your own.

This will pump the brakes on your development.

But, it’s still MASSIVELY preferable to copying old ads out by hand with the goal of ‘learning copywriting.’

So, we’ve covered a lot here…

Let me break it down for you and give you an action plan moving forward (I’ll include an example to make it easier)…

What You Need to Do Next to Learn Copy 5X Faster

Stage 1. Set a specific goal for what you want to achieve by learning copy…

Example: I want to sell dog training info products to my email list…

Stage 2. Study ONLY the specific skills you need to achieve that goal…

Example: Study high-converting opt-in devices in your niche, as well as 4-6 different email formulas and the ONE type of offer-driven sales-letter you need to know…

Stage 3. Practice those skills each day (by writing your own copy)…

Example: Write an opt-in device, an email or part of a sales-letter based on what you studied in Stage 2 (and nothing else!)

Stage 4. Get feedback on your copy via critiques from a mentor and/or response from your market…

Example: If you have a mentor get him to critique what you’ve written… if you don’t simply go ahead and send it straight to your list…

Don’t have a list?

Start practicing your copy skills by building one.

It’s not easy.

But it’s simple.

And if you’re looking to become a decent copywriter using the minimum overall effort – this is the best way.

I promise you… if you follow this 4-stage action plan…

You will become an accomplished copywriter (in your particular discipline) 5X faster than any other method…

You’ll amaze your peers – ‘how’d he get good so fast?’… you’ll feel a profound sense of accomplishment… and, you’ll have built a skill-set that means you never have to worry about money ever again…

Pete OC

P.S. Did you find this useful? Think it could help any of your buddies? Then I’d love you to share it. All you need to do is hit the ‘Share’ button below on your social media network of choice…

... and in 2-seconds, you'll have made me a very happy chappy… AND you’ll have helped out your copywriting pals. Beauty!

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Pete OC

Pete OC is a launch coach trained at Agora ($600m/year marketer). He helps his students simplify the process of launching an online course using The Code of MAXIMUM SIMPLE. He works exclusively with people who are fed-up with the complicated and ineffective systems sold by most launch ”experts”, and just want a simple process that works.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Elijah - July 25, 2016

Hi Pete,

Dont you just always deliver.

While this advice you give seems so different from what everyone tells you,
it absolutely makes sense.

You reduce the time of learning while you see result faster!

And isnt result we all want?

Thanks a lot for sharing,Pete. You rock!

Rohi Shetty - August 2, 2017

Hi Pete,
Thanks for this great advice. I really like the advice to implement whatever you read and test it on your market.
I’ll use it to build my list.


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