There are probably 4 million downloadables available right now via a quick Google search to help you write copy.
Everything from workbooks to templates to prompts to formulas to apps to funky little programs you stick your keywords in and *bam* out pops a headline – and don’t forget examples.
In fact, you may have found this blog trawling through all that content already on the internet.
The problem with even the best copywriting tools is they’re not going to teach you a jot about your brand.
They’re going to teach you how to insert words into a prompt. (Which is a great starting point for when you’re really stuck. Heck, I sell a boatload of these kinds of resources to help DIY copywriters get direction and inspiration and go from there.) That’s not what I’m warning you about in this blog.
What I’m warning you about is most of the tools you can learn from online will teach you how to:
Steal from your competitors. And call it inspiration.
The truth is: humans buy from humans
Your humans are on your website because they want to see what you have to offer.
So why would you find copywriting inspiration… on someone else’s website?
I believe one of the biggest copywriting, branding, and messaging fail whales in the whole wide world is a brand that sounds like everyone else.
Copywriting is part creativity, and part science. And here’s where someone who has never formally studied the human brain will tell you a thing I am 99% sure is true.
When we are under pressure, it’s much easier to recall something than it is to create something new.
Writing our own copy puts us under tremendous pressure.
And what do humans do when we’re put under pressure? We recall.
We can’t create.
We curate, and can’t create.
We resource, and can’t create.
We sure can’t find inspiration for our copy within our own heads!
And what does recalling, curating and resourcing mean? We use the conditioning we’ve been taught as students from the time we were tiny dots of spongy brain cuteness until we were spat out of uni or high school or any other learning institution.
We regurgitate things we’ve learned.
And add that to our human biological ancestral and forever and ever process of learning and retelling through stories and we’re literally just amplifiers of someone else’s words.
So if we’ve been under pressure, resourcing (read: consuming other people’s stuff) and then regurgitating – guess what we’re going to sound like?
Not. Bloody. Us.
So, stop doing that. Let’s check out what to do instead:
1. You don’t need to know the “rules.”
Rules schmules. Think instead of copywriting standards. Things like originality, knowing your audience, and staying true to your brand voice. You want to stand out, not blend in, so knowing what sets your business apart and why it appeals to your very best people is half the battle. The other half is: speaking to those people. Sounding recognisably you is key.
2. You don’t need to be a copywriting guru.
In fact, most professional copywriters aren’t copywriting gurus. They’re simply folk who can step into the shoes of others and understand the main draw of a brand. Writing great copy for your brand often means stepping outside of it and thinking like your own ideal client. There’s a reason why client avatars are so important! Don’t overlook it as a tool for writing your copy.
3. You don’t need to study copywriting.
Although, if you do want to, I know a gal.
It can be an intuitive process, but I can’t lie – foundations do help. If you decide you’d like some guidance on where to start and what to write, my Brand Voice Foundations is a great place to kick off.
4. You just need to be yourself.
Because your business is absolutely no different. Your brand is an entity. It was born from one person, one idea, one human. Sometimes that one human brought in other people as part of the brand voice choir, sometimes not. Your brand voice is also an entity. It’s not exactly you – it’s a human sounding voice describing human emotions to humans who need to know about your stuff but if you’re a team, the humanity still has to be the same, only you have a chorus rather than a solo.
Sounding like a human is never going to damage your brand.
Because human hearts are where human emotions come from and human emotions are what makes that buying decision. And culturally, historically, through generations of evolution, we’ve learned about what we need through the human voice and storytelling – so we’re psychologically built to listen for a human voice and use it to help us make big, risky decisions – financial or emotional.
Your copy should be a reflection of you and your brand.
Don’t use other people’s copy as inspiration. Use your brand voice work, your client voice research, the questions your best people ask you, and digging around in your own soul.
Then, all you have to do is pull it all together.
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