14 Oct How To Write Non-Sucky Copy
I hate the word “copy.” I’m a professional copywriter, and I don’t like the word. It’s an embarrassing thing to admit, so you should feel super special that I told you. (Hides face with hands.) Before I write the rest of this article, I think it’s important that I put that on the table. “Copy” sounds so medicinal. It implies that the writing you are working so painstakingly to perfect is just…a copy…of some other website. It sounds stiff, boring and…professional. *Shudder.*
Don’t get me wrong; professional is obviously not a four letter word (but copy is, just sayin’). If you want to have a successful business online, you must conduct yourself as a professional. But there is a big difference between boring professional and individual, fun professional. You can be professional and still use slang. You can be professional and still be casual. In fact, the biggest marker of a professional in the online business world is not their stoic language or their adherence to grammar rules, but their ability to connect with their customers in a genuine way.
When you’re getting started in business, you need to write a TON of copy, er, words. Instead of fussing over the conversion rate of your landing page or the trigger words for your audience, first focus on your ability to write real words to a real audience. You can perfect the persuasiveness of your content later. Your first goal is to write your website, blog, landing page, or whatever as if you’re writing it to a friend.
Here are 5 Ways to Write Non-Salesy/Sucky/Sleazy Copy
1. Record Yourself
It’s important that your written content matches the way you actually speak. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with a bunch of confused clients who think they signed up for Rachel and got Monica (or Chandler!). The best way I’ve found to match your own voice is to record yourself. You won’t have to think about your language because you’ve been speaking since you were two. This method will let you get out of your head and just state your message in a real way that resonates with your brand, your personality, and your goals.
2. Bee Yourself
I say “bee” and not “be” because in my head I imagine a little bee floating around buzzing words of encouragement as I write. But that’s just me being myself. You can just “be” yourself if you prefer. The point is, don’t write anything you wouldn’t actually say. People will see through it, and you won’t feel good about it. If you’re all about rainbows and glitter, don’t try to be relatable by swearing in your copy. If you’re a no BS coach, swearing is totally fine. Be real.
3. Talk Directly to Your Customer
When you read the content out loud, imagine your ideal client sitting in front of you. What is she interested in? What does she do for a living? What kind of shoes does she buy when she has an extra $250 in the budget? Does your copy make sense to her? Is there anything that would make her feel like you’re trying to stretch your scope to include other clients? Narrow your scope and talk only to her. She’ll appreciate you more for it.
4. Use Contractions
“Do not”, “Will Not”, and “Cannot” only belong in your copy if you have a super professional service (like a Law Firm or a Medical Practice). If you aren’t in charge of someone’s physical safety or imminent lawsuits, say “don’t”, “won’t”, and “can’t”.
5. Keep It Simple
When I was a Junior in high school, I loved English class (I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up off the floor). I always exceeded the page limits and my teacher always graded me down for it. He said, “Anyone can write 10 pages about a broad topic. It takes skill to write it in 5.” I learned a lot that year. There is a finesse in writing short, simple, sentences. Don’t use 50 words if you can use 10.
Ok, so I know I said grammar isn’t the mark of a professional, but terrible grammar (or spelling, typos, etc.) is the mark of a non-professional. A typo here and there is fine – nobody will call the grammar cops. But content that is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors is distracting. If you know you’re not a strong writer, at least use a writing service like Grammarly to fix the errors. It actually can cost you clients.
Writing a strong About page or website doesn’t have to be a life-sucking process. You write a mini about page every time you write a Facebook status update. Talking about yourself or your business can take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll find that the process becomes a bit easier and less stressful. You may even look forward to content creation days! (Or maybe not, and that’s okay too.)
About Nicole Hunt:
Nicole Hunt is a business copywriter specializing in creating genuine, relatable, engaging copy for fun and feisty entrepreneurs and business owners. She writes blogs, websites, landing pages, email funnels, and anything else your business needs. Nicole thinks words are awesome, and she wants your words to make sense, look great, and attract only your DREAM clients. She has an MBA in marketing and a background in social media marketing.She lives in Portland, OR with her husband and two naughty but adorable pets. In her spare time, she likes to read, travel, and hike. You can learn more about Nicole at www.nicolemariehunt.com
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