I LOVE writing and I always have. But I have not always been good at writing copy.
Let me explain the difference.
Writing can have a whole bunch of different purposes: personal reflection, telling a story, giving instructions, emotional processing, entertaining someone, teaching, etc.
Writing copy, on the other hand, is about persuading someone to take a specific action.
Copy is any of the words we use to talk about our business and/or our products and services. It can be written or spoken (like in a video or audio).
There are 3 things that I’ve worked on over the years to get better at writing copy:
1. Being myself.
The problem with the way we’re taught to write in school, often, is that our words become divorced from who we are. In an academic or professional setting, you’re often supposed to strip your words of personality. But when you’re writing copy, you’ve got to be yourself. Why? Because your customer needs to connect with you on an emotional level. And they can’t do that if you’re being robotically academic or overly professional.
So how do you do this? You practice writing like you speak or like you’d write in texts or emails to your friends.
Cardinal Rule: If you wouldn’t say something the way you’re saying it to a friend, don’t say it that way for your business. People buy things (or take any action) because they feel emotionally moved to do so, not because a robot told them to.
Try this: Before you hit send or publish, read what you’ve written out loud. Does it feel awkward and like you wouldn’t actually say that? Edit it until it feels more like you.
2. Be specific.
Vagueness plagues the business world, especially in the wellness, personal development, and spirituality spaces.
The number one problem I see in people’s copy is that it’s not specific enough.
Cardinal Rule: If someone can’t see a literal image of what you’re talking about in their head, it’s not specific enough.
Try this: Read your copy and think about if you can see a literal picture of the problems you’re describing and the benefits or results you’re describing. If you can’t, go back to the drawing board.
For example, while “empowering women to feel their best” sounds really nice, I can’t see a picture of that.
If that were my copy I’d ask myself, “What do empowered women who feel their best do? What is possible in their lives?”
My answers might lead me to more specific copy like the following:
“Helping women look at themselves in the mirror and give themselves a wink because they’re feeling themselves.”
See the difference?
3. Use fewer words.
Oh jeez. I struggle with this one the most.
More words don’t make better copy. In fact, they often detract from it.
Try this: Look at a sentence you’ve written. Make a game out of seeing how many words you can take out and still get the same message across.
For example, I could have written:
“My friend Marie Forleo, who reaches over 40 million people worldwide with her work and who introduced me to the art of copywriting, is hosting an amazing webinar today that will help you get better at writing copy that gets results; it’s called 5 Writing Mistakes That Are Killing Your Sales and How to Fix Them, and you can sign up by clicking here.”
That’s A LOT of words to use to say something simple.
Instead I could take out the extraneous words and turn this sentence into:
“Want to write copy that gets results? Click here to sign up for Marie Forleo’s free class, 5 Writing Mistakes That Are Killing Your Sales and How to Fix Them.”
Do you see how fewer words helps get the message across more effectively?
In summary, to write better copy you can:
1. Be yourself.
2. Be specific.
3. Use fewer words.
Plus, the webinar in my example above is really happening TODAY, and Marie told me she’s going to be sharing writing tips she’s never talked about before.
Reserve your spot for 5 Writing Mistakes That Are Killing Your Sales and How to Fix Them. (You’ll leave the webinar with a checklist of exactly how to fix your copy. Yay!)
OVER TO YOU:
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to writing copy? Which one of the tips above do you most need? Tell me in the comments!
P.S. If you want to write copy with ease and for it to be more effective, you’ll definitely want to join in for the free writing class Marie Forleo is teaching today. Get your spot here.