Episode 037: Show Notes
Today on the podcast, we have Claire Swinarski, a copywriter and content marketer for creative entrepreneurs. She has been featured on the Washington Post, Seventeen Magazine, Bridal Guide, and many other amazing magazines and publications around the country. Claire is based out of Wisconsin and she pretty much loves burrito bowls, so we like her. She is a girl after our own burrito loving hearts.
In today’s episode, Claire is going to break down a lot of stuff that many of us need help with, like copywriting. First, we are figuring out how to dive into knowing your ideal client, because you have to start there before you even know what to write in the first place. Next, Claire walks us through the pages that you probably should have on your website and others that you shouldn’t even worry about, as well as how to actually break down what goes on that website itself.
Claire also gives her tips on how to avoid copy overwhelm, and how to stay true to yourself in your own copy so that you can repel the “wrong” kind of people. Make sure you listen all the way to the very end, because she gives some really quick tips on how you can update your copy today and not be so stressed about it anymore. If this is your jam and you need a refresh for your website, then be sure to give this one a listen. Hunker down, put your socks on — we are going to get started!
Writing Copy with Someone in Mind Reduces Stress
Finding your ideal client is one of those pieces of advice that everyone hears but so few people actually do. However, that part of branding is really important, and has to come before you do any copywriting. You need to spend money and focus on your branding before you move on to your copy. Because if you try to write and you are not sure who you are writing to, you are going to try to appeal to everyone, and that is obviously not good. First, start by creating an avatar for your ideal client, because having someone in mind that you are writing to just makes everything 10,000 times easier, and a lot less stressful.
Hints and Tips For Finding Your Ideal Client
Saying you need to identify your ideal client is often easier said than done. The best place to start is to think through exactly what it is that you do. For example, if you are a photographer, who are the people you most like working for, and what type of events do you love? That is an easy way to identify whether your ideal client is a bride, a newborn, or an athlete. Next, narrow it down to where they are located and the types of things they most like. This could be the area in which you live and any specific preferences related to the culture of the area. Thinking through who you want to work with and asking those specific questions is a great place to get started.
The Blinking Cursor Panic Is Real
When it comes to copy, Claire is all about the lists, as are most of us creatives. Before sitting down to stare at that blank document, start by making a list of the different pages you will need, who you might want to send launch emails to, and the different categories that you want your posts to fall under. Having a list can really help you focus in and not be so panicky about writing. Because when you open up that blank Word document and you have no idea where to start, it can absolutely terrifying. A list just makes it easier and allows you to go section by section, giving you the sense that you are actually making progress.
Navigating Your About Page
Your About page is one of the most frequently visited pages on your site, so it is really important that it is as on brand and perfect as you can get it. Claire suggests starting out, again, by picturing your ideal client. Even as you’re talking about yourself, you want to be thinking about your client. What do they care about for you? What do they want to know about you? Adding in a few sprinkles of your personality is also a bonus. People actually do want to know the fun facts about you, because it can help to create a much better connection to you. So when you start out with your About page, picture that client and try to visualize what your conversation would be like if you were chatting in person and you were just telling them about yourself.
Structuring Your Sales Page for Success
On your sales page, the number one priority is to make it absolutely clear what someone can hire you for, or what it is they can buy from you, and exactly what steps to take next. Claire breaks it down with her WAVE method. Starting with the W, which is the why behind the why, discover the deeper reason behind why someone would want to hire you. Then A, agree, letting your potential client know that you understand their situation. Next, the V, which is to visualize yourself speaking to your ideal client in order to get the right tone in your copy. Finally, the E, laying out clear expectations for your clients, letting them know that you can help them solve their problem and how you plan to do it.
From Draft to Published
Claire is a big believer in shitty first drafts. She is all about the brain dump, getting it out, just going for it and giving it a try. When you want to start writing copy, you just have to sit down and give it a whirl, even if it totally sucks! After you have it all written down, go back and really whittle it down to only the things that you truly need to say. The reality is that the average person only reads about 60% of your website copy, if that. So it is important to make it easy to read and that you really focus in on getting your core message out. Next, you also want to add some structure, like bullet points, sub headings, or anything that breaks it up and makes it just a little easier on the eyes. Writing is a process that takes some time, but in the end it will definitely be worth the effort.
What to Cut and What to Keep
The first place to start when going through your copy is to read everything out loud. You will be surprised at how you can intuitively feel where you start just talking too much. Go through and make sure that every word has a purpose. This can help you to focus in on the message that you want to portray. Reading out loud can also identify where you are sounding overly sales-y, especially on your sales page. You always want to be focusing on persuasion, which is driven by internal pressure, rather than manipulation, which is driven by external pressure.
Using Your Own Voice
In today’s world, where there is so much copy and content out there, it can be hard to hear yourself above the noise. When you are constantly reading other people’s websites and blog posts, your subconscious slowly starts to “speak” like them. Speaking in your own voice is another one of those pieces of advice that everyone hears, but only a few apply. The thing is, it is so easy to see when someone is trying to be different to who they really are. So to truly speak in your own voice, you need to really think about who you actually are and use words that are already part of the way you speak in real life.
- Understand the importance of having someone in mind when writing copy for your website. [0:03:42.0]
- Learn how to find your ideal client before even starting to write your website copy. [0:06:03.8]
- Find out how to overcome the blinking cursor panic and get started on your copy. [0:08:36.7]
- Hear Claire’s tips on how to navigate the About page to make it work for you, not against you. [0:09:54.4]
- Discover how to structure your sales page for success using Claire’s WAVE Method. [0:13:26.6]
- Learn how to transition your copy from the rough draft to getting it publish ready. [0:17:07.8]
- Find out Claire’s tips on what to cut and what to keep when writing copy. [0:24:31.7]
- Understand the importance of speaking in your own voice and not copying someone else’s copy. [0:29:45.4]
- Go through your website and “kill your darlings” — go through and cut some of your copy, which will hurt your heart but be good for your business.
- Go back over your copy and add things back in. Make sure to add sprinkles of your personality throughout.