Prospects respond to your message, not the words it’s wrapped in.
When I first started with copywriting, I got the advice to “Find your voice.” I was encouraged to help my clients find their voices. I even wrote a few articles on how to find your voice. Hopefully, they’ve all been deleted by now.
“Find your voice” is really lousy advice, right up there with, “Be vulnerable.”
As Tom Kuegler wrote in an article in Medium: “You don’t read your favorite writer because they’re a master wordsmith. You read your favorite writer because their ideas are mind-blowing. “
You may have seen those experiments where people are asked to recognize their own brand of beer or cola. Usually, they can’t tell one from another, without labels.
Most readers aren’t sensitive to the marketing voices of their favorite business owners. They’re listening for stories.
You work so hard to distinguish your voice — and nobody notices. Here’s why:
Think of your reader’s eyes moving down the page, stopping along the way to ask, “What’s in it for me?”
A client asked me to write a sales letter, but “be sure to include these 2 paragraphs from my previous sales letter.”
So I did.
She came back with, “I love the letter — but where did those two paragraphs come from? I’d never write like that.”
I’ve had the experience of looking at my own writing and wondering, “Did I write that, or was that something I saved as a swipe?”
As I wrote in another article, your readers go away when they begin thinking about the copy instead of the content. You want them to focus on the message, not the person who wrote the message.
Think of the way movies and plays draw you into the story.
When you start admiring the cleverness of an actor’s line or wondering how they handled a special effect, you’ve stepped back from the fourth wall.
You’re no longer caught up in the story.
The author has lost you.
So…what can you do instead?
(1)Focus on the message you want your audience to notice and remember.
Even when you share a story or a set of bullet points, you’ll want to leave your audience with a takeaway. Here are some non-specific examples — your could be much more focused:
“Use storytelling to write your copy”
“Steps to use Pinterest to get more traffic quickly”
“Financial success comes from changing your beliefs about money”
(2) Hold a mirror up to the client.
When you write to your client’s backstory, your message will get past the clutter and get noticed.
They recognize themselves and realize you understand their pains or problems. You’re using their words and thoughts — not yours.
(3) Paint a picture of the transformed client.
Here’s where you answer the WIIFM question. As they move down the page, readers tick off benefits.
“Oh yes…more sales while I sleep…easier to save money…lose weight without being hungry” and so on.
Readers will be evaluating your credibility: can you really deliver on what you claim you offer? They won’t be paying attention to whether you sound like yourself or someone else.
When they think about themselves, not you and your voice, you’ve succeeded.
If you’ve done your work with a good story, they’ll be picturing themselves as transformed…and getting excited about hiring you to help make that happen.
Originally published at https://cathygoodwin.com.