Doing your own marketing means finding the words that will hit the spot and really engage with your audience through your blog, website or social media. And some days this can be a struggle. Do any of these sound like you?

“I can’t ever think what to write”
“I can’t get started”
“I soon get bogged down”
“I’m not connecting with people
“I’m really slow – and I don’t have time to spare”
“I’m boring myself”
“I sound too salesy”
“No one seems to understand what I actually do”
“I hate writing, I prefer talking”
“I have too many ideas”
“I struggle with structure”

Think of it this way…

It’s not about you – it’s about your customer. So while you’re showcasing what you do, it needs to be from the angle of how it benefits them.

• Who are your audience or customers?

• How will they feel when they buy from you?

• What need are you satisfying, or problem are you solving?

Most good copywriting is telling people what the problem is, what the consequence is of not solving it, and how you are the best person to do so.

Here are some tips to help you when generating ideas

Make it interesting
You are trying to get people to feel, think or respond – and ideally to want to know more. What do people find fascinating about what you do? What are the unique benefits of your product or services?

Client research
Know your audience. Listen to their needs, desires and pain points. Listen to the language they use and then redeploy it in your copy to let them know you can help them.

Market research
Having the background info will make your copywriting stronger and you may find some inspiration or attention-grabbing phrases to use.

What’s your message?
Don’t take the topic head on. Instead, ask yourself why it matters. Find the larger story happening behind your message.

Talk it out
If you’re better at talking about what you do than writing about it, record yourself talking through some case studies or interactions with clients or examples of your work. This works better if you get a friend to interview you. Transcribe the interview and highlight the interesting bits that really capture the magic of your brand or service. These will make great subjects for blogs and social media posts and may provide some phrases that nail your USP.

Right, let’s get down to the actual writing

Skip the intro
It’s common to get bogged down in those first words. So dive right into your subject and started roughing out your key points. Then go back to the headline and intro once you’re clear on what you’re actually introducing!

Be surprising
Instead of ‘Experience pure luxury with our 100% silk pillowcases’, turn it on its head. Why are silk pillowcases a good thing? ‘Your hair needs silk and we can help’ (READER THINKS: “Why? How?” and their attention is grabbed)

Write the way you speak
Gone are the days when we had to avoid slang, stick to whole sentences and never start them with ‘and’ and ‘so’. Being conversational makes you approachable and memorable.

Put time into writing headlines
The purpose of the headline is to get you to read the first line. The purpose of the first line is to get you to read the second, and so on. So your headline needs to be killer. Does it grab the attention in an instant?

Avoid jargon
We all have language that’s specific to our profession, but would your audience use it? Will they know what you mean if you use an acronym or refer to something technical or industry-specific? Think in terms of the benefits and use simple day-to-day terms to get them across.

Talk it through
Can’t seem to pin down the order of your post or blog? Explain the message to someone else. If you can, summarise it in a single sentence or short paragraph. Having to quickly sum it up to someone else is a great way to figure out how to structure it.

What is your message?
Don’t try to make too many points. One is enough if it’s an interesting point! Stick to that message and don’t stray into other areas unless they back up or expand on that message.

Read it aloud
This will really help you ascertain how you come across. Do you trip over any phrases? Is it hard to follow? Is it too long or over-wordy? This will soon become apparent.

Write it badly
You don’t have to get it perfect first time. No one ever does. If you write and edit at the same time, you’ll never get it off the ground. So, write it fast then leave it. Walk away. Then come back to it and edit or rewrite it completely. Then edit again.

Let someone else say it
What do your clients say about you? How are you different to everyone else in your market? Use testimonials – or just a catchy phrase – and let their words speak for you. It can make the self-promotion side of marketing feel a bit less cringey.

Break it up
Use short sentences. Short paragraphs. Bullet points. Cross heads. This makes it visually more appealing and less daunting, helping your key points stand out.

SEO optimisation
Write first, optimise second. Do some keyword research. What are your potential customers googling to find what they’re looking for? Make sure you add those keywords and phrases into the intro and cross heads. Even the headline if poss. But try to do it in a way that feels natural.

Words: Marina Gask, copywriter and journalist.

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