Copywriting myths that might be holding you back
I was interviewed on my sweet client, Chelsea B. Foster’s podcast a couple weeks ago, and she asked:
Do you think great copy can help ease the pain of biz burnout?
To be honest, I was trying to take a sip of my iced coffee without making a noise, but it really stopped me in my tracks for a second.
I mean, I had never thought of it from that angle.
Honing in on your message for your business can certainly help you with getting more, but can it also help that more feel better?
And, as I thought about it a little bit (and bought some time with the, “hmmm, that’s a good question!” stall-tactic), I thought about my sweet shop student I chatted with recently.
“You know, since I’ve put my new About Page copy up and really nailed down my message through the process you gave us, I’ve noticed something crazy. I’m not just booking more brides, I’m booking more of my brides. They want to work with me specifically, and that’s just the best feeling in the world!”
Come on, you guys.
That’s the dream, right?
Being paid to be exactly who you are.
Being paid to serve people with your passion.
But, even more importantly, those clients who book you for you? They respect you, they honor your boundaries, they trust your genius + creativity…
...and that results in… well… happy days, to be honest.
Because it doesn’t matter if you’re doing what you love if you still have an overbearing and intolerable client breathing down your neck. You’re just trading one temperamental boss for another (plus, you have to pay more taxes and stuff).
You know what makes the biggest difference with how your business feels?
Who your business is attracting.
Friend, that’s all about your message (a.k.a. your copy).
A carefully crafted message can do the work for you. It can attract. It can (and should) repel. It can nurture those dream people into not only believing you can help them with what they need, but that they have what it takes to make it happen, too.
BUT, after conversations with so many entrepreneurs, there are a few copywriting myths that I’ve noticed are holding you back.
And, frankly, these myths are costing you your best clients.
In today’s blog post, I want to share these myths with you, along with a few action steps to change your mindset and hone your message to be a total dream client + customer magnet.
Copywriting Myth #1: You need to “sound professional.”
Truth: Intentionally-crafted brand voice shows more commitment and attention to detail than any of that stuffy, professional language.
I can’t even tell you how many times my friends, followers, and clients have said, “I just don’t know how to sound-like-me, but still sound professional, ya know?
In this context, “professional” really translates to:
Devoid of personality
Don’t knock anybody’s socks off because you might drive someone away.
Here’s the thing. Gone are the days when “professional” websites—the ones filled with seemingly unbiased or unopinionated information—are of value in this world. Remember? We’re not in the “information age,” we’re in the “attention age.” We can’t hold anyone’s attention without a little personality and attention to detail.
The New Definition of Professional Messaging:
Proving that you know what you’re talking about, but also that you can meet your audience where they are, in what they’re going through, or even in what they enjoy.
Plus, I think it’s really professional when brands pay attention to their message and make every aspect of it entertaining. Great brands don’t waste word-real-estate.
Let’s take Bubly sparkling water, for example:
I mean, those TABS, Right? That’s attention to detail. But what about the little taglines for each flavor on their website? Giving each flavor it’s own personality sets this brand apart like crazy.
Or, the toilet paper brand, Who Gives a Crap: (*brb, still dying at that brand name*)
Props for the subtle use of “bum.”
That parenthetical copy at the bottom shows that they are paying attention.
Copywriting Myth #2: “It’s not about YOU.”
Truth: The “solution” gets them to click around, but you get them to stick around.
Newsflash: If you only talk about your solution itself, you’re going to get price-shopper clients.
I’m a firm believer in knowing the pain points of your audience down to the letter. It’s completely necessary to communicate the solution you’re providing.
BUT, when countless other businesses provide that same solution, you are your own greatest differentiator.
Think about it. You could try to totally reinvent the wheel with your process or your product. That would be AWESOME, but it’s a little more difficult.
OR, instead, you could focus on this question: How can I bring all of myself to every piece of my process or product in a way that over-serves and WOWS my clients and customers?
Starting from the place of you is easier than starting from scratch.
It also has the added bonus of people saying, “TAKE MY MONEY, I want to work with you no matter the cost.”
But, you can’t make it all about you. It’s not even mostly about you.
The Key to Infusing YOU into Your Business:
Make sure to align the details you share about yourself with who you want to attract and who they need to help them get where they need to go.
For example you could position yourself as one of these:
The Bestie, Go-To Gal: In this case, you’d want to share things that would position you as that best friend. Encouragement, those “girl, same” kind of quotables, sharing the things you’re loving + obsessed with (that they might be obsessed with, too).
The Been-There-Girl, Challenger: On the other hand, if you find this is more of what your audience needs, you would share specific things that have helped you through a certain time in your life, business, etc. Because, you guessed it, you’ve been there.
It’s important to remember this:
To get anyone any results, get them past any obstacles, you have to get them to trust you enough to graciously change their mindset. Only then will results come and lives change.
Each of these personas will do a fair amount of challenging, but one would function in a “you deserve better, girlfriend!” and the other would talk more about what you’re missing out on or sacrificing if you don’t make a change.
So, what version or pieces of you do your people need the most?
Copywriting Myth #3: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”
Truth: It’s BOTH. But, that’s a relief.
To be totally transparent, I’m not even sure what this means when people say it. Have you heard it before? I’m going to guess they’re trying to emphasize that your words need a voice behind them.
Yep, I agree.
BUT, it’s also your job to know what information your people need to hear at that point in their journey.
This also rubs me the wrong way, because I think this is one of the reasons people feel like selling is sleazy. This implies that, applying the right how to any message will result in sales.
Selling a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves? Easy.
Selling a business investment opportunity to someone without a penny to their name? Oh, cat’s in the bag.
But, you guys, if there’s ONE THING you takeaway from this blog post, let it be this:
Words that sell are about meeting your audience with exactly what they need at that point in time to make a buying decision.
That means making them say “yes” OR “no.” It doesn’t mean convincing them to say “yes” whether it’s right for them or not.
Now, let me step down from my soapbox. As I said before, I’m a total advocate for voice. BUT, voice devoid of value and the right information at the right time is no bueno.
In other words, it might be good for a laugh, or an “OMG, yes!,” but if those responses don’t actually convert, what’s the point?
This reminds me of one of my PET PEEVES: Pinterest pins that overpromise and underdeliver.
I clicked on this pin just a few days ago, thinking, “Ohhhh, yes! I want to see this iced coffee recipe!”
And when I clicked through, where did it take me? To Nespresso’s website.
No option to easily find the recipe.
No matter how much I love Nespresso, they lost a bit of my trust because they promised me something, and didn’t deliver.
If your voice promises a best friend with your audience’s best interest at heart, but you don’t deliver any value or help them get started, they’re going to be trained to believe that you’re not trustworthy, or not the right person to help them solve their problem.
So, moral of the story is this: what you say and how you say it are equally important in writing copy.
Lead with substance, pack a polish punch with voice.
*And all the hands go up*
But, Jess, how the heck do I figure out what to say and how to say it?
Here are some awesome action steps writing value-packed, personality-infused copy that actually converts:
1. Write a letter to your best friend describing your offer or your business.
This is one of the easiest ways to get into voice and substance all at once. You are not going to leave any details out when you explain to your best friend, but you’re going to sound like yourself. You might add little asides and parentheticals (tip: those make the best copy additions!), you will start with explaining the big picture, and then you’ll get into the details, etc.
Take it a step further: Try writing a script. After you write your letter, fill in how your bestie would respond to you. What questions would they ask? Would they say “OMG that’s awesome”? Would they get tripped up at one point and need some more information? I know this requires a fair dose of imagination, but it’s a POWERFUL exercise!
2. Create a spit-draft.
I know, gross name, but a “spit-draft” is a copywriting/marketing term for making an outline of “what to say” before you fill it in with “how you say it.”
For example, you might create a bullet point that says, “describe the benefit of this service and tie to real client results.” This is really helpful because it takes the pressure off of needing to write AMAZAZING copy right away, but it will strengthen the copy you eventually write.
(If you need a way to remember this term, I always think, “Jess, just SPIT IT OUT.” 😂)
Wish someone would just write a spit draft for you?
Well, that’s what I did with The Promptlate Shop! In just a few weeks, you’ll be able to purchase The Website Bundle from the shop including prompts and templates (a.k.a. Spit drafts) to help you write your home, about, and services page so it doesn’t sound like *literally* everyone else.
So, tell me, have you fallen victim to any of these myths?
If you can get past these, I know you’ll write better copy.
In turn, your business will not only attract more people, but it will feel better to run your business knowing you’re attracting the right people, instead of spending your energy (and your caffeine budget) on keeping your head above water with clients who don’t value you the way you deserve.
Speaking of busting these myths, you wanna know the key to writing a great website? Learning to see it through your dream client or customer’s eyes.
Download my free Client Goggles Worksheet, and find out what your people actually think when they land on your website.
Then, join us for our Dream Client Goggles FREE challenge during launch week (for the secret shop I just leaked a second ago)!
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