It happens a lot with copywriting clients — and copywriters, too. We write a sales letter, website or blog post. It sounds really good.
So we publish and … nothing happens.
What’s wrong? We get so close to our copy and don’t realize what’s happening. It’s like that sign they used to put on car mirrors: “Objects may be closer than they appear.”
Being too close to your copy means you’re writing for yourself, not your clients. We all do this, even the pros. And here are 3 questions the pro copywriters ask to develop copy that’s right on pitch for your target audience.
(1) Does your copy match your audience…especially if you’re shifting to a new target?
One of my clients developed a powerful message strategy to attract clients for one-on-one coaching sessions. She knew exactly what note to sound when she wrote content.
But now she wanted to appeal to sponsors for a special event. She needed to shift her tone. She needed to identify new features and benefits.
(2) Are you using jargon and insider language?
It’s not unusual for a lawyer to see her practice as a handful of “matters.” Clients don’t see themselves as “matters.” They’re experiencing gut-wrenching problems that keep them awake nights.
(3) Are you providing content consistent with your brand?
It’s getting late and Janet needs ideas for a blog post. Her mentor, Lucille, just blogged about her trip to London. Lucille stayed at the Ritz and shopped at Harrods. She got dozens of comments. Obviously she’d written a terrific post.
So Janet writes about her trip to Paris. She’d stayed at a luxury hotel also (she got a special deal) and shopped at a couple of fashion outlets.
Nope. Nobody commented; in fact, a few people wrote snarky comments.
Why did this well-written, carefully crafted post fail to deliver results?
Lucille is a Celebrity archetype. She brands based on living large. Her promise is, “I earned these luxuries and rewards. Therefore I’m qualified to help you reach your own goals.” Her followers become fans.
Janet is an Innovator archetype. She brands herself based on, “I’ve watched people struggle to solve a problem. Nobody had a solution, so I invented a program to solve this problem. And you can’t get it anywhere else.”
Janet’s followers want solutions, not lifestyles. Janet’s story isn’t congruent with her brand. Her followers want to hear stories about people who used her innovative program and achieved results they couldn’t get anywhere else.
I find myself doing this myself. It’s so tempting to write about my vacations and special events. I’m an Educator archetype, though. People aren’t interested in my life, unless I use specific stories to illustrate concepts that are relevant to the point I’m making.
Distance from copy leads to closeness with your target market.
Three ways to maintain perspective include…
(a) Coming back to your content after several hours. I’ve found when I write copy in the morning, it looks different that night…and my late-night copy looks different the next day.
(b) Using a personalized checklist. You’ll get to know your own temptations; for instance, I tend to get lost in elaborate metaphors. “Check metaphors!” would be on my checklist. Yours will be different.
(c) Getting a second opinion. With a really important piece of copy, such as a website home page or a long blog post that’s supposed to make a statement, consider working with a professional copywriter for a session or two; you’ll benefit from what you learn in your future writing, too.
Alternatively find a mastermind group or colleague who’s both knowledgeable and honest. Often people in forums come with the best of intentions, but they also want to seem collegial and friendly. On the other hand, a particularly critical comment might just signal the critic’s lack of knowledge.
If you’re new to my community, you’re invited to sign up for a Laser Consulting Session, specially priced to be accessible. We can use the time to solve a pressing problem, overcome an obstacle or review your copy. It’s your agenda! Learn more and sign up at http://mycopy.info/laserconsult
Want to write better copy without becoming a copywriter? Check out my Udemy course at http://mycopy.info/copy20
Or…are you considering the idea of becoming a copywriter yourself? Click here to get my course on Becoming a Copywriter. It’s like 3 courses in one: you’ll learn your craft and also discover how to market yourself as a successful copywriter.