Writing copy fills most of you with dread. I know that. It’s a part of your job that you need to do because you need to sell but it doesn’t come naturally to you, I get that. You’re happiest in front of your audience doing your thing.
But there are a few things I can share with you that will help you when it comes to communication. That’s my expertise. I’ve been doing it for more than 30 years now and I love it.
In this blog post I’m going to be helping you with your writing game.
We write copy all of the time. Copy is just the words. And it’s not just the words on your sales page or your website, it’s also the words on your blogs, your emails, your Facebook updates, your tweets, your Instagram posts. Every time you write, you are writing copy.
But you are probably missing out one major factor.
We all do, unless you know. And when you know, you know.
Every piece of copy needs to have a call to action.
Now I’m not saying here that you need to be asking for a sale every time, that would be very bad.
What I am saying is that you need to get your audience to act in some way. You have to train them to respond to you, to interact with you, so that when you do ask for that all important sale it’s not frightening to them. They know, love and trust you, because you have built a two way relationship already.
What kind of call to action can you ask for? Well there are many.
- You could invite them to think about something in a different way.
- You could invite them to hit like on a post.
- You could ask them to hit a video link
- Maybe ask a question and ask them to reply.
- Ask them to share something.
- Perhaps you can set them a challenge.
- Invite them to hit reply and talk to you or comment in a comment box.
- To jump on a call with you.
- To meet up in person.
The list is pretty endless. What’s important is that you are thinking about what you want them to do before you hit post. Be clear about what your call to action is.
My call to action in this post is to inspire you to change the way you write because ultimately it will help you grow your business and then one day my hope is that you will invest in your training further with me and invest in one of my programs.
Next, I want to teach you about a technique that will improve your writing no end – even though it feels a bit weird doing it.
I want you to read your work out loud. Not in your head, that doesn’t count. But out loud.
It’s only then that you will hear repetition or words that don’t quite work. It’s only then that you will hear when you stumble over certain words or they jar and make you stop. Your reader will do it too and we don’t want that. We want a nice chatty flow that rolls off the tongue.
If you ever walked into my newsroom when I worked at Leicester Sound you would think we were a strange news team. Often we would all be sitting at our desks reading our work out loud. It feels strange at first but you soon get used to it. It was very important on the radio because quite often we were writing for the next newsreader on shift and some words have double meanings like row – are we talking about rowing a boat or an argument? It’s only when you read it out loud that you see it.
Similarly, the newsreader would also read their script out loud just in case there were any words they could mistake in there, and to make sure it flowed, to make sure they could pronounce everyone’s names in the script. When Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned by the Russians one of my newsreaders failed to check her script before going on air and couldn’t pronounce his last name. Instead of giving up and moving on she kept at it until the breakfast show presenter intervened and said it for her. It was very funny on the playback. But a lesson learned.
Take a look at the last sales copy you wrote or the home page on your website. Read it out loud and see how it sounds. Are people going to be stumbling over your words? If so, change them. Are there any words with a double meaning, if so change them. Does it flow? I hope so. If not, change it.
When we sit down to write we tend to fall back into the way we wrote essays at school. It all gets very formal and very text book. You wouldn’t dream of starting a sentence with the word And or But, but that’s exactly what we want you to do so that you sound chatty.
You will probably also be writing your words out in text book style too just like we were taught. After reading this go and check through your latest sales copy and you’ll see what I mean.
What I want you to do (so that you sound chatty) is write using contractions.
Contractions are those words that we make shorter rather than using two or more (old fashioned) words.
For example, Goodbye is a contraction of God Be With You, now obviously you’re not writing phrases like that any more but you are probably using these.
- You will – you’ll
- They have – they’ve
- I am – I’m
- You have – you’ve
- Would not – wouldn’t
- Should have – should’ve
- You are – you’re
Now you don’t need to use them all of the time, just most of the time. When you read it out loud you’ll see where they belong. You’ll notice a couple of paragraphs up I have used you will and you’ll.
This is going to improve your copy no end and make it flow much easier for the reader. They will feel just like you’re talking to them and will be nodding their head in agreement with you, getting you one step closer to that sale.
Coming up on Friday I’ll do the final lesson in this free mini course. If anyone is interested in a half day paid workshop on writing techniques where we write a sales letter together then hit reply with the word YES and if I get enough interest I’ll put one on.
Now let’s talk about the final step, editing yourself.
When writing a book, getting the first draft out of your head and onto paper is the easiest thing (although it’s still difficult) the hard work starts in the edit.
It’s in the edit where we start to weave and layer.
It’s in the edit where we highlight the points we want to make.
You have many tools available to help you.
For starters there is spell check, but you don’t need to over worry about this aspect, nobody expects perfection nowadays but you want to make it as good as you can.
Your Bold feature is your friend you can use this in your sales copy to highlight words or phrases you really want them to pay attention to.
Italics is another good one, this is used as an aside, as if you’re whispering something in their ear while the rest of the action is still going on. Look at the second paragraph to see how I’ve used it. You can imagine me changing the tone of my voice to say that.
The presentation is important. The font, the point (size of the font) and the line spacing. I use Verdana, 15 point, double spacing because I like my copy to be neat, modern and with a lot of white spacing.
Personalisation. There is a feature on email where you can speak directly to the reader, use it. It makes them jump a little when they see their name and wakes them up, they pay more attention and feel like you are talking directly to them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini course on copywriting please leave a comment below and let me know, it’s always great to get feedback. (Yes this is a call to action)