Author and journalist Gene Fowler said…
“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
That used to happen to me a lot when I first started writing my own copy — except in my case — they weren’t drops of blood. They were beads of sweat.
Here’s what makes copywriting tricky…
It’s not just about writing beautiful words and sentences. It’s about writing words that motivate people to MOVE. Your copy needs to get people to share, comment, subscribe and – yes – reach for their wallets.
In other words…
Your sales pages, emails, website copy and social media posts, have the power to make or break your business. When I first realized this truth as a newbie entrepreneur, “learn how to write killer copy” instantly shot to the top of my must-do list.
I took a couple of copywriting courses and read great books on persuasive writing.
Then, I met Murray and things really took off. He stole my heart with his words (find out how he did that here) AND he helped me hone my copywriting skills.
As they say, the best way to learn a language is to fall in love with someone who speaks that language…
So I figured the best way to learn copywriting is to fall in love with a copywriter 😉
(If you’re already taken or there are no eligible copywriters in sight, read the rest of this post – I got ‘ya covered!)
Around the time I met Murray, I also started saving emails and sales pages that I liked – a habit I’ve stuck with – and that’s when I noticed a pattern.
The most powerful copy is almost always produced by highly successful entrepreneurs.
They’re BIG names doing awesome things in their business…
7-Figure Society kids who wow their audience with great work and amazing copy…
The copy practices or guidelines I’m sharing with you here are consistently used by the world’s most successful online entrepreneurs. But don’t worry if you’re brand new or just beginning to grow your business, you can use these copy practices right now to start seeing great results.
I know they’ll work for you because I apply these rules on all kinds of content – blog posts, social media posts, sales pages, emails, landing pages – and things have been going really well for us at Live Your Message 🙂
Okay, so let’s start with the rule I love most…
Tell A Tale
We all LOVE stories. We can’t help it.
When we read a great story, we have that irresistible urge to ask ourselves, “So what’s gonna happen next?”
This is exactly why you must try to include relevant stories in your copy.
Stories compel your audience to keep reading, which is one of the most powerful elements of great copy.
By the way, if you noticed that I included a personal story at the start of this post, you get a virtual gold star, from me!
The Tell A Tale Rule is so important that I created an entire program around it called Hidden Story Power (you can check it out here).
Steal the Spotlight
What’s the first thing people notice when they arrive at your website, check out your blog posts or sales pages, and read your emails?
Every headline must grab your reader’s attention. It needs to steal the spotlight from countless other headlines.
There’s a LOT you can learn about writing powerful headlines (I’ll write a full post on this) but for now, here’s a quick checklist you can use to make yours shine.
Ask yourself if your headlines:
- Make a clear statement or promise
- Inspire curiosity
- Include a number and/or words that inspire emotion
- Let the reader know how they can benefit from reading further
- Highlight how the reader can overcome a problem/fear
If your headline contains one or more of the above, chances are good you’ll grab and hold your reader’s attention.
Insider tip: If you’re short on time, the classic “how to” headline i.e How to Write Killer Copy, is a great fallback.
Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken
If you’re thinking, “I’ll just get a copywriter to handle all the writing in my business,” then you need to pay close attention to this rule.
You must know your personal writing voice and you can only achieve that if you practice writing your own copy.
If you hire someone else to write for you before you uncover your writing voice, your copy will NOT sound like you.
Your readers will sense something’s off and you’ll lose their trust.
Successful entrepreneurs have a deep understanding of their personal writing voice.
By voice I mean the tone and choice of words.
A simple example on voice…
Take a look at your email inbox and click on 2 or 3 emails, at random. Notice the greeting at the top. Some emails begin with “Hey, Marisa”. Some start with “Hey, Gorgeous,” or even “Hey, Rockstar”
Others get straight to the point with just “Marisa” or with no greeting at all.
It’s just a couple of words but it sets the tone and gives the reader insight into the personality that’s behind those words.
Whatever happens, don’t get tempted into adopting someone else’s writing voice just because you think they’re successful.
Rely on solid copy practices (like these) but always write in your own voice. It’s far more effective – and a lot easier to do – than trying to write like someone you’re not.
Just As Long as it Needs to Be
There’s an ongoing debate around the number of words you should write for your sales pages, emails, blog posts and all the rest.
But the most successful entrepreneurs already know the answer…
Your copy should be as long as it needs to be to hit your goal.
Sales page copy needs to be as long as it needs to be to motivate your customers to buy the product.
Emails need to be as long as they need to be to achieve the objective — introduce a blog post, motivate people to click to a sales page, or watch a video.
Length doesn’t matter. Inspiring your readers to subscribe, share, comment and buy, does.
And if you feel that adding 3 more testimonials to your sales page or 2 more sentences in your email will do the trick, then go for it.
There are lots more copy practices out there but the ones I’ve listed here are timeless. I go back to them again and again because they’ve never let me down.
And I’ll be the first to admit that knowing how to write strong copy that delivers value and connects with my audience is a big reason why I finally got to join the 7-Figure Society a few years ago 🙂
Here’s my recommendation for you…
Make, “improve my copywriting skills,” one of your goals, right now. It’s a massive needle-mover and it WILL accelerate your journey to success.
So, what do you plan to do to get REALLY good at writing powerful copy for your business? Share your favorite tip and how you plan on implementing it in the comments section below!
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Hey your info is great. I appreciate your help. Thanks
I VOW to do this: For years I travelled and lived in countries around the world. PRE-EMAIL days, I would write letters home to family and friends, sharing my adventures in a super entertaining way as a way of staying connected. Years later, I was surprised to have person after person hand me a manila envelope or shoebox FILLED with these letters, all saying “someday you should write a book, these are priceless”.
To this day I’ve NEVER opened nor read one–Not one!– of these letters that stay stashed in my closet!! In my business, until last year when asked spur of the moment to stand up and share a story in a group, I knew my life was really interesting but honestly felt I didn’t have ANY stories relevant to my business or worth sharing. Blinders in every direction!
ACTION: This summer I vow to SCHEDULE time out under the trees opening and reading these bundles of letters that use to entertain others enough that they actually saved them. It’s time to discover the richness they hold for me NOW! Drum roll……!!!!!!
Marisa, I love what you say about the importance of being yourself and knowing your own personal writing voice. It’s so essential!
You, Marisa, have a super unique personal voice that can’t be duplicated, and I love how you use it. For instance, I love how you answer your blog post comments all by yourself in that unmistakable personal voice of yours. Not by using your staff or your assistant like so many other “gurus” do. With their generic comments – “Great!” or, “So awesome!” or, “That makes me happy!” – it’s so obvious it’s not the “guru” talking, but rather their assistant. Makes me feel like their readers are not very important to them.
And it’s so unusual that you do not do this; you do the opposite. Makes you stand out. Makes you different. Makes me notice. But most of all, it makes me trust you.
Good recap of the basics, Marisa. The book that really turned my head around and opened my eyes about copywriting, and particularly making it about the prospect and not the business, was Sell Copy by Jeffrey Lant, which I discovered in the 1980s–before the Internet was a apart of everyday life. (I interviewed him for my 1993 book, Marketing Without Megabucks). Since then, I’ve read dozens of books about effective copywriting. I still very much believe in focusing copy on user benefits–but I’ve moved far away from the aggressive hard-sell approach Lant uses. the older I get, the more I tell stories and work a much softer sell. was always impressed, even back in he day, with the storytelling power of Drew Kaplan’s DAK catalog. He could make the most ridiculous products sound fascinating, all by using the power of storytelling.
I love this article Marisa. I have always written my own copy, but i write like i talk which means it tends to go on and on and on…Finally i did hire a copywriter with a degree in Journalism. I get the idea of using “my voice” but how do i learn how to share my voice without droning on. I am not succinct, I’m not boring either, but i do go on and on and on (see i’m doing it now :))
I love being a part of your group. I have had many coaches since i started my business over 10 years ago but you and your EPM program changed everything for me. I am your biggest an and promoter!!