(Enjoy these Copywriting 101 tips I provided via the Weekly Whisper back in the day. You do get The Weekly Whisper, don't ya?)
How To Start Your Copywriting Adventure
Pick On Someone
You are not selling to "anybody," and "everyone" is not your target market or ideal buyer.
When I hear my clients tell me that "everyone" needs what they sell, it reminds me of the poem "That’s Not My Job."
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have."
With seven kids, this is why the dishes, laundry, floors, counters, dog, and cars never get cleaned on time! (But I digress.)
In your business, you must create a "buyer persona" that guides you in the creation of sales copy that resonates with that one specific, unique buyer, or you'll be throwing money away.
What is a buyer persona?
Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.
They help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.
The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.).
Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas or as many as 10 or 20.
(Note: If you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later if needed.)
To see an example of buyer personas in pop culture, take a look at Carly Simon's 1972 song "You're So Vain."
Despite being over 50 years old, this song remains popular and has stuck with you because it made an impact.
It made an impact because it was written about the manner in which one specific person hurt her.
And that's what I mean by "pick on someone."
Your art, your music, your novel, your marketing, and your advertising copy need to be written with your ideal buyer in mind.
As humans, we all share similar experiences, so pick someone and create content as though you were mailing them a letter, and watch your results soar.
How and Why You Need To Focus Your Copywriting
Choose Who To Lose
The flip side of "picking on someone" is having the wisdom and the courage to eliminate a potentially large segment of the market for whom you just aren't a fit.
You see surgeons do this all the time when they choose to specialize in oncology or cardiac or orthopedic or pediatric.
Can a heart surgeon operate on your hurt knee?
But great surgeons specialize, and they choose who to lose so they can focus and improve.
You need to do the same thing with your copywriting.
Maybe your solution is only for women.
Maybe it's only for moms.
Maybe it's only for moms of teenagers.
Maybe it's only for single moms of teenagers.
Maybe it's only for single moms of teenage girls.
Can you see how the thoughts, hopes, fears, and concerns come more into focus as you move down the list?
Sure, the narrower your focus, the narrower your market.
But keep in mind that even though the Sun is a raging nuclear bomb that is 864,575.9 miles wide, with a little bit of sunscreen, you can lie down in front of it all day long with almost no effect, whereas a high-quality laser beam that is focused into an area smaller than the tip of a pen can cut through steel.
So narrow your focus and watch your impact—and earnings—grow.
How To Be Gooderer at Copywriting
When you read "gooderer" above, what did you think? (Which reminds me of another Copywriting 101 Tip: Notice what you notice. I'll get to that later.)
Great writers are often great because they can make up words that "just fit," and/or they're not afraid to tweak a word or insert a crazy word to get their point across.
The great advertising man, Roy H. Williams, a.k.a. "The Wizard of Ads," calls it seussing, which he covers in his book, "Accidental Magic: The Wizard's Techniques for Writing Words Worth 1,000 Pictures."
"Seussing" is obviously named after Dr. Seuss, who gave us words like:
So would you, could you make up a word?
Would you, could you make yourself heard?
It's easier to do, than you might think.
Though I know, at first, it might drive you to drink.
But when your copywriting becomes gooderer,
In your field you'll be considered a pacesetterer."
When you make up a word, it shocks/surprises the reader, and novelty is a key ingredient to capturing and keeping the attention of your prospect is key to making the sale. (I dig into this a bit in my review of Oren Klaff's "Pitch Anything" on The Sales Podcast.)
If it worked for Dr. Seuss and if it helped Oren Klaff raise billions of dollars in investments, and it has helped Phil Collins get 20 million+ views on his song, "Sussudio," don't you think it can help you, too?
How To Cheat at Copywriting
People don't do business with you for one of two reasons:
- They haven't heard of you.
- They have heard of you.
If #2 is your issue, I can't help you, at least not with this article.
If #1 is your problem, then you fix that by marketing more effectively, which means you need to become a gooderer copywriter.
To improve your copywriting skills, you need to "write" more.
Ahhh, hold on a second, Wes. Why is 'write' in quotations above?"
Too few entrepreneurs and business owners identify as being a "salesperson," which is why you're probably struggling, but the subject of another post.
But if you believe in what you offer the world and are you passionate and compassionate and empathetic when you work with your clients, then do this one "secret" to "write" more.
Are you ready for it?
Record your thoughts on a voice recorder on your smartphone or call yourself and leave a message. If you have a conference call line, you can record for hours at a time.
Record yourself on video with your clients and prospects.
Record yourself in team meetings at the company.
If you record yourself engaging with prospects and clients, and staff, you'll have more content for blog posts, YouTube videos, and even speeches in a week than your competition will produce in a year.
You can use virtual assistants or software like Dragon Dictate or online services like Rev.com to transcribe your audio so you can use it in books, ebooks, emails, study guides, SOPs for your staff, etc.
Bonus Easy Tip: Save your emails and make a blog post or ebook out of them. You have GOLD sitting in your Sent folder in your email client.
*Insider Tip: a lot—maybe even a majority—of the best-selling authors you know, especially in the non-fiction category, spoke their books into existence. They literally recorded themselves yapping while "in the zone" about their topic, and handed the audio to a transcriptionist, who then gave it to an editor to polish and publish.
It really is that simple to become a better "writer."
But you "gotta wanna". (That's Southernese for "you must want it most passionately with earnest, heartfelt desire.")
Why You Must Master Copywriting
Great copywriting is the core of your marketing.
Great marketing makes selling easy. (But great selling makes great marketing possible. Want to get great at selling fast?)
Marketing is just selling in print.
Marketing is NOT the medium, i.e., Twitter or Facebook or radio or TV.
Marketing is the message.
Marketing is knowing exactly who buys what you sell and why they buy it and then convincing them why you are their best choice to fill their needs.
Marketing is delivering a powerful message in a powerful manner.
When you master copywriting, your marketing will become more effective, which will make your sales come easier and will enable you to have a life which is why you must master copywriting.
How To Get Better at Copywriting
To become a better writer, start writing. (Genius, I know. Now you know why I get paid the big bucks!)
Writing is the easiest thing to practice, other than maybe sleeping. You can do it anytime, anywhere.
Write on your smartphone.
Write on a napkin.
Write on your iPad
If you wanted to get better at golf, would you say, "I'm no good at golf," and go play Candy Crush, or would you go to the nearest golf course, buy a bucket of balls and start hitting or maybe even hire a golf pro for some lessons?
If you wanted to get better at cooking, would you drive down to Taco Bell or would you at least turn on The Cooking Channel and begin to learn and maybe venture out and put some bread in the toaster or even work on boiling some eggs?
Will your first few creations be Pulitzer Prize-worthy? Nope.
Will Google reward you for getting started? Oh yeah.
Will your prospects and clients be drawn closer to you for "writing like you speak?" Indubitably. (That's a real word, by the way.)
If you need some inspiration, check out these podcast interviews with these great copywriters:
- Bond Halbert on The Sales Podcast, son of the late, great copywriting guru Gary Halbert.
- Ben Settle lives and writes on his own terms and makes money by leveraging his guru copywriting skills.
Or just contact me, and we'll set a time to speak.
Now get to the write!