Make no mistake: the ability to write in your own voice — in a way that’s both conversational and persuasive — is a must-have skill for your business.
If you’re not seeing the results you want from your website or marketing, more work and more hours pushing out the same ineffective message is not the answer.
If you want your creative business to thrive over the long term, you must learn how to use the right words.
If you’re willing to do the work, I know that effective copy will radically transform your website.
Let’s explore actionable strategies that will get you writing powerful and persuasive copy that comes to life with personality and stops getting lost amid all the noise out there.
Here we go:
You know that horrible dream where you’re being chased by a pack of rabid dogs, or a serial killer in a ski mask, and you try to scream but nothing comes out?
Ever feel like writing copy is just like that?
Not the rabid dog/ski mask part, but the silent scream —
Like you’re fun and sparkly in real life, and yet…
When you sit down to write, no personality comes out? Instead, the words are as dry as a bone.
Here’s one quick trick to end your copy nightmare. It’ll help get that dazzling personality of yours into your writing. In fact, I’ve already used it here. The trick?
You’ve probably heard that storytelling is a key way to hook your audience. But it’s also a great way to channel your voice. Think about it: we tell stories from the time we can speak. So, naturally, shifting into storytelling mode takes you to the place where your real voice hangs out.
But wait —
Does the story have to mean a whole “story” story, with a beginning, middle and end?
Nope, nope, nope.
Story can be anything with a touch of narrative. It can be about you, the writer, or us, the readers. In the past, future, or present tense. As quick as one sentence, or just the first part of a sentence. It can even come in the middle of a sentence.
Here’s an example.
“You know that horrible dream where…”
Remember that one?
Yup. I used it in the beginning of this post to help set a conversational, relatable tone for this article.
And you can do that, too!
Before we dive into the the next trick, there’s something important you should know.
Your audience has zero attention span.
Don’t take that personally! I’m easily distracted, too.
When it comes to reading stuff online, we all are — in the sense that we don’t stay focused. When we curl up to read a good book, we have focus galore. But it all disappears when we’ve got email and 30 different browsers open — OOH! Red circle notification thingy. Someone just posted on Facebook. Must. Click.
Want people to focus on your words?
Think about what you do when you read something online.
You scan. With your hungry, impatient eyes. And so do even your most loyal clients. The eyes are busy, with places to go and people to see!
So here’s the trick:
Give their eyes something to grab onto.
Make your text scannable.
Better yet, make it scan-proof. Make it so no one can look through without stopping here and there.
How do you do this?
Two words: speed bumps.
What are speed bumps? The bold lines your see in this article. Including the one above that says “Two words: speed bumps.” They’re actually called subheads. But I call them speed bumps because that’s the effect they have on the eye, which normally drives down the page like a tourist in a Ferrari on South Beach.
Subheads force it to slow down.
So what’s the secret to creating these speed-bumpy subheads?
Here’s the trick.
You could just decide as your write, “Ooh, this line’s important. I’m going to bold it and make it a subhead.”
But there’s an even better way:
Step 1. Before you write your copy, write out five to ten lines that sum up what you want to say. Those lines are a condensed version of your copy and should more or less make sense on their own if you read through them.
Step 2. Bold them. Now that you’ve got subheads.
Step 3. Fill in the rest of the writing in between your subheads. Don’t worry, you can change the sub-heads if they no longer make sense with your copy. Or take some away, or add more.
This method forces you to use your voice.
When you break something down into interesting one-liners, it forces you to ditch the formality and the fluff. It strips your writing down to the way you naturally say things.
And it hooks your reader.
Worked on you, right? If you’re down here and you got the gist of all this, then you’re lining proof that subheads work. After all, this is a pretty long post.
Want people devouring your words? Sharing your ideas? Clicking your “buy” buttons?
Turn these insights into action now, you'll thank yourself for it!
When you know how to write copy that connects and converts, you have the power to sell anything.
Always in your corner,