5 of the Best Books on Copywriting (That Will Help You Become an Expert, Too)

This list breaks down 5 of the best books on copywriting. Get ready to learn how to scale up your writing game with help from the experts.

Great copywriting is a lot like going on a first date. The purpose (if you believe the person on the other side might be a good fit) is to get that person intrigued enough to take some sort of action. That could be asking for a second date, leaning in for that first kiss, or — in the case of business marketing — becoming a loyal customer. 

However, learning how to write compelling copy that takes things to the next level for your prospects is hard! It takes research, practice, and quite a bit of trial and error. 

You might be wondering, is studying the art of copywriting really worth it?

Statistics show that it is. 

Whether you’re selling a car, a software solution or a jar of pickles, great copy can increase your website traffic by 50%, and your conversion rates by up to 110%! And with data like that, it’s hard to ignore the fact that if you’re running or marketing a business, you should be interested (to say the least!) in learning how to write great copy.

Where do you start? Well, right here!

One of the best ways to improve your copywriting skills is to learn from copywriting experts. In this article, we’ve outlined 5 of the best books on copywriting and content marketing so you hone your skills, start driving sales, and live happily ever after with all your new customers. 

For each of the books we’ve chosen below, we’ll outline:

  • Which area of copywriting each book focuses on
  • Who would benefit the most from reading it
  • And our overall Scribly rating out of 5 

Let’s jump in! 

Our top 5 picks for the best books on copywriting:

1. The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert W. Bly 

We wanted to highlight The Copywriter’s Handbook first because it’s sort of an all-in-one step-by-step guide for getting started writing great copy. From emails to ads, to website copy and direct mail, this book runs the gamut on how to write copy for a ton of different mediums. 

The author, Robert Bly, is well-known in the copywriting world as a copy genius, so he's the kinda guy you want to listen to about this stuff. 

The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert W. Bly

What’s the focus?

The book covers how to write copy for a ton of different mediums, but the overall focus is on mastering online copywriting. Bly does, however, touch on direct mail and print advertising. 

Who would benefit from reading it?

Because The Copywriter’s Handbook is such a comprehensive guide, it would be appealing to anyone who writes or edits copy: marketers, creative directors, freelance writers, business owners, executives, brand managers — everyone can learn something useful from this book.

Scribly Rating out of 5 

Since we see this book being a gold mine of information on any area of copywriting, and because it appeals to such a wide audience, we’re going to give it a 5 out of 5.

If you only have time to read one of the books on this list, make it this one.

2. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

If you’ve enjoyed the show Mad Men on AMC, we’d venture to bet you’ll enjoy reading Ogilvy on Advertising. This book is often lovingly referred to as classic or iconic in the copywriting world and has certainly withstood the test of time holding great popularity with today’s copywriters even though it was written and released by David Ogilvy in the early 1980s. 

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

What’s the focus?

Ogilvy on Advertising is (pretty obviously) focused heavily on advertising copy. It focuses specifically on actionable advice and real-life examples of good and bad advertising more than theories or observations. Ogilvy (who is now known as the Godfather of modern advertising) is not shy about sharing some of his own useful failures and lessons learned. 

Who would benefit from reading it?

While the lessons in this book could be applied to general copywriting, we’d suggest it’s best for those who are specifically focused on writing ads  — whether for print or online. So while it’s still a great read for all copywriters, most of the advice in this book is directly applicable to writing advertisements.

Scribly Rating out of 5:

We give Ogilvy on Advertising a 3 out of 5. Some of the language is a bit outdated and because it was written so long ago, it lacks insight on some important aspects of copywriting in the digital age like writing ads for PPC and inbound marketing. Still, it’s a classic, and we love a book that’s chock-full of examples!

3. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan

Strange title — wonderful book! Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This has been a firm favorite since it came out in the ’90s and continues to be a sort-of prerequisite read for many copywriting jobs in advertising. The unique title was inspired by a Charmin toilet paper ad in the ‘70s (but we don’t want to spoil it so we’ll let you read about how that went in the book). 

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan

What’s the focus?

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This puts a lot of emphasis on how to connect with customers through copy in an emotional way. It dives into how to create brand stories with authenticity and simplicity, and how tapping into and appealing to your customer’s feelings can help you build trust for your brand and ultimately drive more sales. 

Who would benefit from reading it?

We’d really recommend this book to any copywriter. It’s a pretty common resource for young professionals, especially those who are just starting out in their careers and want to build the basic foundations of what it means to write great copy that people want to read. 

Scribly Rating out of 5:

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This gets a 4 out of 5! It’s not as advanced as some of the other books on this list, but man, we are suckers for an authentic brand story and emotional copywriting! Plus we can bet it will give you a laugh or two, so bonus points for that. 

4. Finding the Right Message by Jennifer Havice

Did you know you only have about 15 seconds to connect with visitors on your website before they either find what they want or leave? In the book, Havice helps readers understand exactly how to connect with customers on their website by communicating the precise value of their product and service quickly (within 15 seconds!) and coherently.

Finding the Right Message by Jennifer Havice

What’s the focus?

Finding the Right Message focuses on how to write website copy that converts. Havice dedicates a large portion of the book to teaching business owners and marketers how to use their current customer base to learn how to communicate effectively with prospects. She outlines the questions every business owner should be asking themselves ‘what is it that the people who buy from me really want to hear?’

Who would benefit from reading it?

This book would be a fantastic read for anyone who is looking to update the copy on their website to increase conversions or reduce bounce rates. Marketers, hired copywriters or small business owners could all take a helpful nugget or two on optimizing their website copy from Havice’s helpful hints! 

Scribly Rating out of 5:

We wholeheartedly believe website copy has the power to convert visitors to customers if it says all the right things, which is why we’re giving this book a 4 out of 5! Your website is the online face of your company and making sure it gives a great first impression and leaves your visitors wanting more is really the ultimate goal.

5. The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan S. Kennedy

Arguably one of the trickiest things to write for any copywriter is a great sales page. This last little gem, The Ultimate Sales Letter, is here to help you with that! This book will teach you how to write an effective sales message for almost any medium and dives into exactly why some sales messages connect with customers while others fall flat.

The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan S. Kennedy

What’s the focus?

Kennedy’s expertise focuses on writing long-form sales copy: sales pages, sales emails, etc. It gets pretty in-depth with best practices, principles and theory. 

Who would benefit from reading it:

Any copywriter, freelance writer or small business owner who is currently or is going to have to write a sales page or sales email (ahem, everyone) could benefit from reading this book. Sales copy requires a lot of knowledge on structure, tone, content, etc. So, better to spend your time learning how to do it effectively than to spin your wheels in frustration trying to go at it alone! 

Scribly Rating out of 5:

We’re going to get real personal with this one and give it a 5 out of 5 only because we know writing sales copy can be a huge struggle and we’re just so happy a resource exists that can make it a little easier! If you want your copywriting to sell (is that even a question?) The Ultimate Sales Letter is one read you shouldn’t pass up. 

What did we miss? Share with us the best books on copywriting you’ve ever read! 

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