None of us were born with the ability to write. When I arrived into the world, just like you, I could only communicate by screaming. It’s taken a heck of a lot of study, reading and practise for me to hone my skills. I don’t say this to show-off (well maybe a little). I want to reassure you that even if, at the moment, you feel rubbish about your writing, you can get better.
These are the five most impactful things you can implement right now to improve your copywriting skills.
#1 Write For An Audience Of One
Hopefully, your content will be read by hundreds, maybe thousands of potential customers. But if you try to write in a way that appeals to all of them, you’re going to get muddled, fuddled and terribly overwhelmed.
Imagine standing on stage and speaking about your expert topic to a huge crowd of strangers. How does that feel in your body? Bit stressful?
Now imagine being at a party and getting introduced by a friend to a single stranger, and talking to them about your expert topic. Now how does that feel? Lighter? Easier?
Your writing will be clearer and more engaging if you write it for an audience of one. In marketing-speak, this person is called your Ideal Client. Direct your marketing efforts towards attracting the type of customers you most enjoy working with.
Think back to your most favourite customer. Hold them in mind whenever you write marketing content.
#2 Plan And Protect Writing Time
If you were going to record a video for your audience, there’s a few things you could do to improve the quality of your footage. You’d likely plan ahead to choose the best day and time to do the recording, and ensure nothing eats into this allotted time. You’d check your appearance, the backdrop, and the framing of your face in the shot. You’d map out the content you intended to cover. You might even do some voice warm-up exercises.
Recording video content doesn’t tend to be an everyday activity, and as a result we tend to put time, energy and thought into it.
Because writing is something we’ve done almost every day since we were around 5 years old, it can be tempting to just sit down and give it a bash whenever we get a few spare moments.
This is fine if we’re writing out a shopping list, or a Thank You card for Granny.
But for a 500+ word blog post, a sales page, or any other type of marketing content that needs to work hard for our business, we need to be more intentional.
If you feel like you’re just ‘no good at writing’, take a moment to be honest with yourself and reflect on the preparation you are putting into your writing sessions.
Then consider what you’d need to have in place to do your best writing. Do you feel more focussed and inspired first thing in the morning? After a nap? After dinner when the kids are in bed? Do you need complete silence, or maybe you’d prefer some background music? Do your ideas flow more easily when typing, or when scribbling onto paper? Or maybe you’d do better to record yourself speaking and get it transcribed?
#3 Find (Or Create) A Touchstone Piece
Your Touchstone Piece is an example of the writing voice you want to use when connecting with your audience.
Find the best example of your writing voice, that sounds like you on a really, really good day.
You don't want it to just sound like you. It's you at your absolute peak, your most engaging, your most energetic, and charismatic.
You'll likely find an example amongst your social media posts, as we tend to write those when we're a bit more relaxed, especially if we're using our mobile phones and we're in a slightly different mindset. So it tends not to be as stiff and corporate as when we write emails or write website content.
Have a trawl through your social media posts or your blog posts and see if you can find some piece of writing where you think, ‘yes, this really sounds like me. This is how I want it to sound and how I want to come across to my audience’.
That will be your touchstone piece of copy.
When need to write new content, read that touchstone piece, and it helps you to get into the frame of mind and you hear that tone of voice in your head. It brings you to the standard that you're aiming for.
If you don't have a piece of copy that springs to mind, I have got the easiest copywriting course you could ever do for business owners called Project Touchstone.
#4 Separate Writing And Thinking
I don’t know where this comes from, (I’m guessing our school days) but so many of my clients struggle to write because they’re trying to get it right first time. They’re so worried about it not making sense, or getting the spelling or grammar wrong, or rambling on, that they end up writing nothing at all.
But here’s the amazing thing about computers - you can write as much guff as you want, then go over and over it until you’re happy with the results….and nobody will ever see your imperfect first drafts!
Do not attempt to edit/proofread and write at the same time - you will break your brain.
Write the first draft will wild abandon. It doesn’t even need to be in full sentences - just get your ideas out of your head and into text.
Then proofread and polish as many times as you need to.
#5 Start With The End In Mind
This works when you need to create any type of content. Ask yourself:
By the end of this piece of content, what do I want the reader to know, feel and do.
The ‘know’ might be key information you want to communicate, action steps the reader needs to remember, or simple words of reassurance from you to them.
You might want them to feel inspired to try out your suggestions, or hopeful that change is possible, or angry about a situation.
At the end of the piece you might want them to immediately follow your recommendations, or go on to read another post, or check out a sales page, or sign-up to an email list.
Whenever you’re reading something online, try to identify what the reader wants you to know, feel and do. The more often you spot this pattern, the more likely you are to incorporate it into your own content.
If you’d like more help improving your online content and upgrading your copywriting skills, click the button below and fill out the form that pops up. I’ll get back to you with a selection of free and premium resource suggestions for you to explore.
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