When I first started with copywriting, I got the advice to “Find your voice.” I was encouraged to help my clients find their voices. I even wrote a few articles on how to find your voice. Hopefully, they’ve all been deleted by now.
[Prefer to listen? Check out Episode 37 of the Strategic Storytelling podcast. Listen on Apple or Spotify.]
Because “Find your voice” is really lousy advice, right up there with, “Be vulnerable.”
As Tom Kuegler wrote in an article on Medium: “You don’t read your favorite writer because they’re a master wordsmith. You read your favorite writer because their ideas are mind-blowing.”
When you’re enthused about the content, you barely notice the words.
You may have seen those experiments where people are asked to recognize their own brand of beer or cola. Usually they can’t tell one from another, without labels.
In the same way, most readers aren’t sensitive to the differences among their favorite business owners.
You work so hard to distinguish your voice – and nobody notices. Here’s why:
- People skim and scan. They’re not reading sales letters the way they read novels.
Think of your reader’s eyes moving down the page, stopping along the way to ask, “What’s in it for me?”
- You probably won’t recognize your own style.
A client asked me to write a sales letter, but “be sure to include these 2 paragraphs from my previous sales letter.”
So I did.
She came back with, “I love the letter – but where did those two paragraphs come from? I’d never write like that.”
I’ve had the experience of looking at my own writing and wondering, “Did I write that or was that something I saved as a swipe?”
- The best copywriters are invisible.
That’s right – it’s their superpower. As I wrote in another article, your readers go away when they begin thinking about the copy instead of the content. You want them to focus on the message, not the person who wrote the message.
Think of the way movies and plays draw you into the story. When you start admiring the cleverness of an actor’s line, or wondering how they handled a special effect, you’ve stepped back from the fourth wall. You’re no longer caught up in the story.
The author has lost you.
So…what can you do instead?
- the message you want your audience to notice and remember. Even when you share a story or a set of bullet points, you’ll want to leave your audience with a takeaway. Here are some non-specific examples – your could be much more focused:
“Use storytelling to write your copy”
“Steps to use Pinterest to get more traffic quickly”
“Financial success comes from changing your beliefs about money”
- Your client’s backstory so they recognize themselves and realize you understand their pains or problems.
Your client comes to an encounter with a story. When you target your content to your client’s backstory, your message will get past the clutter and get noticed. You’re using their words and thoughts – not yours.
- Benefits and outcomes you promise
Here’s where you answer the WIIFM question. As your reader’s eye travels down the page, s/he will be ticking off benefits. “Oh yes…more sales while I sleep…easier to save money…lose weight without being hungry” and so on.
Readers will be evaluating your credibility: can you really deliver on what you claim you offer? They won’t be paying attention to whether you sound like yourself or someone else.
They’ll be thinking of themselves. If you’ve done your work with a good story, they’ll be picturing themselves as transformed…and getting excited about hiring you to help make that happen.
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If you’d like me to help you develop more compelling, higher-converting content, let’s start with a consultation. Click here to learn more.