They’re beyond cool, right?
Sitting in their board shorts and Superdry t-shirt, legs stretched out in front of them, laptop in their lap.
Usually besides a swimming pool, with Caipirinhas on tap (
Casually typing words they’ve plucked out of thin air, to not only engineer whip-smart copy that flawlessly reflects the brand of their client, but also gets right into the heart of what the target audience feels, with the sole purpose of making the sale.
Which happens, of course. Repeatedly. Making both the client and the copywriter filthy-freakin-rich.
So that instead of sitting in board shorts next to swimming pools, they’re in a softly lit library, lounging casually in their leather wing-back chair, cigar in one hand and glass of single malt in the other. Because … what else does one do to celebrate their millions?
Sound like a dream?
THAT’S BECAUSE IT IS
The last thing any copywriter who actually knows what they’re doing will just pluck words out of thin air.
Far from it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
80% of the work is done before you sit down to write
That 80%? Is audience research, competitor research, brand clarity, and a crap ton of analysis before a single word of actual copy is written on actual page.
That’s why copywriting’s so damn tough
It takes a lot of work to figure out what copy converts and what simply sinks like the sad Titanic.
Not everyone’s willing to write, test, edit, test and keep going until they get the results they want.
What most people want? Is to write a few words, slap them up on a page, and wait for the avalanche of clients to fall.
Which brings me to you.
You’re not here because you want to be a copywriter.
You’re here because you want to write copy for your own site, to sell your own service, whilst using your own unique voice.
And you get mighty frustrated when you read generic copy advice like this:
Think benefits! Not features!
Make your writing appeal to the emotions of the customers!
Write while in the nude!
(that last one’s great in the summer heat)
The smart thing to do with advice like this? Is to ignore it.
And instead … look for advice that’s specific enough for you to apply it (Hi! It’s right here on this page!).
So you want to think like a copywriter without actually being one? You want to know how you can use copywriting principles to make your website sexy?
Here are 3 key things you can apply today:
1) What matters to them?
If you’ve been hanging with me for any amount of time, you’ll understand that your audience is more important than you.
For your copy, of course (if a building’s on fire and you’re the only one in it, then that scene’s totally about you).
That’s why copywriters spend so long researching the audience before they start writing any copy.
So when you write anything on your website, put your audience front and centre. Know what their hopes, fears and dreams are, and weave these into your copy.
This means talking to them, getting to know them, and asking them questions that get you closer to understanding why they would (and wouldn’t) use your service.
Some questions to get you started:
- What are you struggling with right now? What makes this a struggle for you?
- When have you purchased a product or service to help you with xx (where xx = the thing they’re struggling with (
- How was your experience with that service? What would you change?
Notice that all the questions are focused on past behaviour.
Past behaviour’s a far more realistic indicator of future behaviour, than a ‘what if’ scenario is.
Remember there’s a big difference between what people say they’ll do, and what they’ll actually do (every crappy boyfriend you’ve ever dumped is testament to that fact).
How to apply it to your business:
Let’s say, for the sake of this article, that you’ve done something plum-crazy and applied the lesson in this section by speaking to a couple of people that represent your target audience.
You now have a ton of info on exactly what they feel about the situation they’re in. How do you transfer that to your copy?
The easiest way to start editing your copy is with the headline on each page or blog post, to appeal to the emotions your audience is feeling.
I’ll demonstrate with an example:
**flicks over flipchart paper**
Let’s say you’re a career coach, working with women in their ’40’s who want to change their career to something completely different.
Their vision is to work in a different sector altogether, but they fear that they’ll have to take a salary cut to do this. They worry that they’ll lose credibility, and all those years they invested in their current sector will have been a waste.
Your article headline could read something like this:
How to decide if you should change your career
It’s good, but totally lacks emotional connection.
With the audience research as a guide, the headline can be edited to this:
3 simple steps to changing your career, without taking a cut in salary or losing your credibility
Notice the difference?
We’ve acknowledged the hopes and fears of the audience by clearly stating what they can achieve (changing their career), without their fears coming true (losing money and credibility).
This is what appealing to the emotions of your audience means – showing that you know exactly what they fear, and telling them it’s ok, because you’re the one to help them move past it.
Onto point number two:
Does it move you?
The best way to write copy for your business is to .. well … copy it.
But not word-for-word (plagiarism looks good on no-one).
Reinventing copy takes more time than anyone has. So rather than sitting with a blank document and writers block, take lead from existing pages and see what principles they use that you can use on your website.
How to apply this to your business:
Find a website or sales page that you adore.
And I don’t mean in a isn’t-that-a-cute-puppy kinda adore.
I mean: when you read it, it makes you salivate uncontrollably, go a little weak at the knees and beg them to take your money already.
Once you’ve calmed yourself down, read the page again. This time, make note of the different sections you can see.
What’s the purpose of each section? What information is it giving you? What does it result in? And more importantly, how can you restructure a similar page on your website to reflect this?
We need a visual aid to help us, so here are two examples that I’ve already prepared for ya:
And finally …
Just do one thing
When hiring a copywriter, you’re hiring them to write copy that keeps the audience engaged up until the point where they need to take action.
A page without an intentional result (the action) is a big, foie gras-fat, waste of everyone’s time.
Note: The result doesn’t always have to be a sale or opt-in. It could be an email to you, a comment on your blog or clicking a social media sharing button.
So when you’re writing for your business, have one clear call-to-action (CTA) on each page or email.
You could have the CTA appear more than once (like on this page), but the action itself is the same thing.
How to apply this to your business:
Take each page of your site at a time. Read it all the way through and decide what one thing you want your audience to do.
Is this one thing clear to the audience?
If it is, cheer so loud that you can be heard from Paris, and then take a break – you’re done.
If it isn’t, add text that makes it clear. This could be a big CTA button (click here to contact me, click to share, register here), or a little section that starts with What to do now.
You may not want to be a profesh copywriter, but it helps to start thinking like one.
What one thing will you apply from the lessons today? Lemme know in the comments
Now, if you’ll excuse me, the swimming pool and Caipirinha’s are calling …