26 Apr 3 things you must know before you (re)write that web copy
So you’re ready to write – or rewrite – your site. Or at least, you should be. The copy is long overdue and your web developer is starting to get tetchy.
You know what you do. You know your work can be life (or business) changing. But when you try to write about it… ugggh. The words just ain’t there.
You know your copy is holding you back, but you can’t figure out how to say what you want to say. So you take a break, hang out the washing, make some payments on internet banking, check Facebook three times… and still that blinking cursor is staring you in the face.
Here’s the thing – the magic you seek truly IS all in your head. You just need a little help drawing it out. Because writing great copy – and building a great business – starts with knowing what lies at the heart of your work.
Before you sit down to write (or instruct a copywriter), you’ve gotta get clear on a few fundamentals. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Know who you help and what she needs from you
I know you’ve been told you’ve got to choose an ideal client – but how well do you really know her? Did you just scribble down a bunch of seemingly irrelevant details about her favourite movies and magazines, and then bin the exercise?
Client avatar exercises are a decent place to start, but the real magic happens when you start really listening to your ideal clients. Find out where they hang out (in person or online) and pay attention to her exact words.
Your clients’ words are copywriting gold. Nothing speaks straight to the heart like the words of someone who is struggling with the same problem you are facing.
Create a “swipe file” on your desktop, where you can copy and paste comments from Facebook groups, client intake forms, Amazon book or product reviews and anywhere else where your potential clients are talking about what they need and want. Then use your clients’ exact words in your website copy, your sales pages and your social media posts.
And don’t just do this once – treat it as an ongoing research project. Any time you see or hear a relevant comment, drop it into your swipe file. Then make a date to review your swipe file every month, looking for patterns and themes, as well as words and phrases you can use in your copy.
If you pay enough attention, you’ll find your clients give you a ton of ideas for blogs, social media posts, products and more.
- Know what you are really selling
There’s an old saying in marketing – sell the destination, not the plane. People would much rather see themselves cradling a cocktail and soaking up the sun in Tahiti, than cooped up in cattle class on the way there.
Your clients don’t want really care that they get four coaching sessions and six PDF files. They want to know how their life or business is going to look different, once they’ve finished working with you. They want to know about the transformation your product or service will deliver.
So tell your clients about the transformation. Show them that you understand where they are now (their struggles, their challenges, their “pain points”).
Then show them where they will be, once they’ve finished working with you. How will their life or business change? What will it mean for them, on a daily basis?
- Know your flavour
Picture yourself walking into a cool gelateria on a sweltering summer day. Beneath the chilled glass counter lie pastel piles of icy gelato. There’s pomegranate, coconut, ginger, pistachio, stracciatella, Black Forest….
So are you going to choose vanilla?
Vanilla might go with everything, but it’s also bland and kinda boring. Something you serve alongside the dessert, but never as dessert in itself.
If you want to set yourself apart in the crowded online marketplace, then you have to choose your flavour – and by flavour, I mean your point of view. Yes, by taking a strong point of view you’ll turn some people off. But others are going to love you for offering a taste of what they’ve been craving all along.
So how do you find your point of view? A good place to start is to think about your soap-box speech.
If I gave you a room full of your ideal clients and one minute at the microphone, what would you tell them?
What is the one thing you’d like them to know?
Now make sure that message comes through loud and clear in your website copy.
As for my soap-box speech, it goes something like this:
If you want to write great website copy, create deep and lasting connections with your ideal clients and build a business that is richly rewarding in every sense – then you must start by truly getting to the Heart of your Business.
You have to know who you are, what transformation you deliver, what sets you apart from the crowd and how to share that in a way that inspires your ideal client to take action.
All of this information is already within you, but you’re too close to it, so you can’t see it. You just need a little help drawing it out. And once you’ve got it, everything else – from your blogs to your tagline, your packages and your social media posts – falls into place.
And the best way to do that? Well it’s working with me of course!
If you’ve found this helpful, sign up for my ‘Write to the Heart of Your Message’ workbook – 12 Essential Questions to Refine Your Core Message, so you can write for your business with clarity, focus and passion. I’d love to help you go Write to the Heart of Your Business.