Let’s talk about writing copy and being real.
First and foremost, if you’re reading this, odds are you’re a direct response marketer or at least you understand the value of direct response marketing.
The #1 Skill For Marketers
I believe that copywriting (the ability to use words to lead prospects through the buying journey) and leading prospects to ultimately buying your product or service is one of the most valuable skill sets, that you can have in this business.
But it goes without saying that, over the last 15 years doing this, not just my skills, but the way I view copywriting and the way I go about every single piece of copy I sit down to write has evolved…
In fact, the way I view copywriting has changed enormously.
When I first started marketing, maybe just like you, I had this view of what I thought good copy was all about.
What Good Copy Isn’t
I watched what other marketers were doing. I studied what other marketers online were doing, and what I saw was really a lot of hype or exaggeration or just blown-up claims, or I saw a lot of adjectives and adverbs, like, the jealously guarded, explosive, unbelievable secrets of a hidden ninja marketer (LOL).
And that’s what I saw all around me, like we still see today from a lot of marketers.
And so, I thought that that’s what good copy was all about.
I thought that when it was time to write copy, that it was time to put on my copywriters cap and begin thinking like a copywriter and no longer think like Todd, no longer think like a marketer or an entrepreneur.
Let’s say, no longer think like myself, but instead, I thought it was time to start thinking like a copywriter and writing like a “copywriter” and “writing copy”.
And at the time, I thought that writing copy was that hyperbolic, hyped-up stuff that I was seeing. And so, that’s what I ended up putting out, right?
And maybe that’s what you put out now, or maybe you also realize what I realized today, what thankfully I realized years ago and that is that, the stuff that sounds like copy, the stuff that reads like copy, the stuff that feels like copy…
…is NOT good copy at all!
The FACTS About Good Copy That Converts
Fact #1: Good copywriting doesn’t feel “hypey”.
It doesn’t feel exaggerated.
It doesn’t even read like copy.
You don’t immediately feel when you begin reading good copy, that you’re reading copy, that you’re reading something from a marketer or a salesperson, right?
Good copy doesn’t read like copy.
It reads like a valuable, educational, entertaining communication from one real person to another real person.
That’s why I’m writing this article to show you about writing copy and being real, because it’s not about you or me putting on our copywriters cap and thinking like a copywriter.
To be honest, one of the things that I tell clients all the time is that you’re better off not thinking like a copywriter.
Fact #2: You should never try to write copy.
Simply convey your message in the clearest voice that you possibly can.
Don’t try to wordsmith up your stuff, OK?
Don’t try to become this word master certainly not in your first draft, certainly not in your first pass of when you’re writing copy.
Instead, think about why the other person on the other end should care about what it is that you have to say.
Fact #3: Your copy… is ALL about them.
Think about what every word you write means for the prospect.
What does what you’re sharing mean for the individual on the receiving end of your message?
What’s going to change in their life?
What’s going to be better in their life?
What pain are they no longer going to experience?
And simply communicate that as clearly and concisely as you possibly can.
That’s where you should begin.
Got it? Good.
Yes, there’s editing in copy.
Yes, you should be going back and going through the copy that you write multiple times, editing for different things, things that we’ll talk about in just a second.
At The Root of Good Copy is Being Real
But at the root the priority is that you’re communicating effectively, that you’re communicating clearly, and that you’re being real.
Recognize that the stuff that we’re exposed to on a daily basis from a lot of typical marketers that immediately screams of copy, where you can tell that it’s a template, or it’s a fill-in-the-blank formula, or they’re using “copy language”.
That’s not good copy.
What you need to just remember is at the foundation of your copy is that you want to be real.
You want to be authentic.
You want to be true.
You want to focus on the prospect…
You want to focus on what’s in it for them.
You need to focus on the benefits (and more specifically) the emotional benefits.
Again, what’s going to actually change in their life as a result of having your product/service and everything it promises?
But at the root, you want to be real, right?
What Never To Do When You Write Copy
Don’t say stuff that isn’t true.
Don’t try to just blow it up because that’s what you think you should do to “write copy”.
Don’t copy other marketers just because you think their words “sound cool”.
In fact, one of the things that I really think about or the mindset that I take when I do sit down to write copy, whether it’s in email, whether it’s copy for a funnel, for a single video funnel, for a webinar, for a multi-part video sequence funnel, is… and this might surprise you…
I don’t think like a salesman.
I don’t think like a marketer.
I don’t think like copywriter.
If anything, I think like a prosecutor.
I think like somebody that is trying to present an emotional AND logical case.
I want to provide value.
I want to educate.
I want to establish certain beliefs and in the prospect’s mind, and I don’t need to do it with hyperbolic, hyped-up, exaggerated language, nor do you.
Nitty Gritty Elements of Rock Solid Copy That Converts
So, what are some of the elements of good copy?
Good copy is not adjective or adverb-driven.
Good copy is driven by good, powerful verbs.
Verbs that convey a picture or an image.
First Pass Through Your Copy… Do This
If you’re not going back and doing any kind of editing right now on your copy, one of the things that you definitely want to do is you definitely want to take at least one pass through your copy, and you simply want to look at verbs during that pass.
You want to look at the places where you’re using a weak verb plus an adverb, and you want to see if you can replace that weak verb an adverb with just a powerful verb, a more expressive verb.
Instead of saying:
“A leisurely walk down the street”
And so, go back through your copy and see if you can replace weak verbs and adverbs with just a stronger, more expressive verb.
That’s one thing.
Remember to Focus Your Copy On The Prospect
The second thing is, keep the copy focused on the prospect. Whether this is a long-form sales letter you’re writing, whether it’s for a VSL (video sales letter) whether it’s copy for a webinar, whatever it is, keep it focused on the prospect.
Go through some of the copy that you’ve written before and see how often you use the word “I” or the word “me” or “my” or “mine”, because ultimately what you want to do is you want to turn those statements that are about you, and you want to focus them on the prospect.
Instead of saying:
“I’m going to show you XYZ.”
“You’re going to see XYZ.”
See the difference?
Instead of saying:
“I’m going to tell you about LMNOP.”
“You’re going to hear about LMNOP.”
Got it? Good.
Your copy should be filled with words like “you”, and “your”, and “you will”, and “you are”, and “yours”.
Keep it focused on the prospect.
Why Does The Prospect Care?
The other thing that I would tell you is (of course it goes without saying, and this is kind of Marketing 101) keep it focused on what does your copy mean for the prospect.
WHY should the prospect care?
What’s going to change for the prospect?
What’s going to be different for the prospect?
What is what you’re saying mean for the prospect?
How does it impact their life for the better or for the worse?
How does it alleviate pain?
How does it give them relief?
How does it give them MORE of what they want and LESS of what they don’t want?
Focus on what it means for them.
Don’t get caught up in the weeds, the minutiae, the nitty-gritty details without regularly going back and expressing to your prospect what it means for them and how their life is going to change.
Most Importantly… Be Real
Overall, The most important thing that I wanted to share with you, that I wanted to convey to you in this episode is that you need to be real with your prospects…
Articulate what it is that you’re trying to say purely.
Stop thinking like a copywriter and be real.
Recognize that on the other end that there’s an individual that is reading or listening or watching what it is that you’re saying.
In this business, in marketing, especially in the online marketing world, it’s so easy to get caught up in this idea that you’ve got leads, that you’ve got X number of leads, that you’re broadcasting an email out to 50,000 leads, a 100,000 leads, 500 leads, whatever it may be on your list…
But the reality is the right way to look at it…
The healthiest way to look at it, is that these are individuals with real goals, real dreams, real aspirations, real fears, real families, real financial issues.
You are talking to a real human being.
You don’t need to use hype.
You don’t need to use hyperbole.
You don’t need to use exaggeration.
You’re doing them and you and your business a disservice when that’s the type of copy that you write.
Stop thinking like a copywriter and instead, think like YOU.
Think like an individual.
Think like a real person talking to real people.