5 Things to Think About When Writing Compelling Copy

  • All copy is sales copy. This includes your social media, website, blog content and everything else. It is all used to connect with your audience and convince them to do something.
  • You should create copy that your audience wants to read. It should compel them to want to learn more and engage with you. Listen to what your audience wants to hear and the words that they use. Use those words in your copy.
  • Use emotion in your copy that makes it easier for customers to connect with you on a deeper level.
  • Your copy should address your customer’s fear right off the bat. Address all the reasons they won’t engage or feel afraid to. Use your copy to let them know why they don’t have to feel this way.
  • Give your audience the opportunity to respond to you. Have a conversation with your audience to gain actionable insight for new copy in the future.

Your audience is comprised of real human beings and your copy should be written for them. Your customer should

be the focus. You will want to explain why you are the solution to their problem and convey that using their words and compelling emotion.

  • All copy is sales copy. Here’s why. – 03:29
  • #1: Researching your audience – 04:54
  • #2: Focusing on features vs benefits – 07:05
  • #3: Using emotion works in copy – 09:02
  • #4: Addressing your customer’s fears – 10:45
  • #5: Hearing and responding to customer feedback – 12:00
Transcript below


Hello, and a very warm welcome to episode number 10 of the Social Media Marketing Made Simple Podcast. I'm your host, Teresa Heath-Wareing. I am so glad to have you here for what is my 10th episode, which is great. 10 weeks of doing the podcast. And if you listened to last week's episode, you'll know that I said it's really hard work. So I'm really pleased I've managed to bring you these 10 episodes consistent.

If you didn't get chance to listen to last week's episode, so number nine, then please go back and do so. It was a really good episode to record. I really enjoyed it. A little bit different to my standard format, where I'm normally giving you X amount of tips or certain things to do. I just talked generally around what makes successful entrepreneurs, and some of the things that I think makes a successful entrepreneur. And one of those things was talking about consistency, and maintaining something when you start doing it. So go back and take a listen, because like I said, I was really pleased with that one, and I thought we covered some really good things.

The one thing that I should still mention at this point though, is I've still not got around to batching, much to the frustration of the team, who are eagerly waiting every time I record a podcast, to type up show notes, do transcripts, get it ready on the website, upload it to iTunes. So like I said, the idea was that I would batch content. Now, I'm going to do an episode in this, but basically it's where you sit down, and instead of recording one podcast like I'm doing now, that I'll record two or three, obviously not simultaneously.

But the idea is basically you block out a whole section of time, and you do several of those things, either a podcast or a blog, creating social media content in a big block. Because there is a science behind how our brain works. Basically, if our brain is focusing on one type of task, it's easier to do that task two or three times over, than it is doing that task, coming away, and then going to do a different task. Your brain has to work at a different gear, if you like. So we definitely want to do batching, and I keep promising my team I'm going to do it, and I will soon, hopefully.

The other thing I should mention about the podcast, is that I record it really early in the morning, because it obviously won't surprise you that you need quiet. You need there to be as little background noise as possible. I live in a house with me, my husband, a dog, my eight-year-old daughter, my two stepchildren who are teenagers, and this house is anything but quiet. So I tend to get up super early. It's currently 5:30 in the morning, and I am recording a podcast, which I think may make a difference to my voice, because I probably sound a little bit sleepy, so I apologise.

I think that's enough of me wittering on. Let's get on with today's content. In today's podcast, we are going to be looking at the five things that you should be thinking about when you're trying to write compelling copy. Now, initially in this title, I had the word sales copy in there, but I decided to take the word sales out, because I think this is very misleading.


All copy is sales copy. Here’s why.


In my mind, all the copy that you write is sales copy, whether it's website copy, i.e. what's written on your website about you or your products or services, whether it's social media copy, whether it's even written down for me to speak in a podcast, or something like that. Every copy is sales copy.

The reason I think this, is because you are trying to sell yourself or your service in some way. And I don't mean sell as in money, I mean sell as in you're trying to connect with someone. You're trying to either convince them to listen to another episode of the podcast, or convince them to sign up to something so they receive your newsletter, or convince them to come back to your website every week and read another blog. You're trying to, I suppose the word is convincing copy, rather than sales copy, because you're trying to get them to do something in everything you write, or otherwise what's the point in us writing it?

And I guess the other thing you want to think about at this point, is you want to write copy that people want to read, that they're going to engage with. So these points are really helpful for that as well. I should also probably mention at this point that I am not the most natural of writers, hence why I started a podcast. I think I've said this before. I like to follow these points to help me maintain a structure or to help me write better copy. These points aren't about grammar or proofreading, these are more about writing compelling copy that people are going to want to engage with.


#1: Researching your audience


So let's jump in. Point number one, is actually not to do with writing at all, it's about listening to what your customers and prospective customers have to say. And in brackets I've put, “Do your research.” Now, this is one of the most crucial points for me, that if you're going to write for a avatar, now your avatar is the person that you're trying to target. It's the profile of your prospective customer, or a customer you have already. If you're going to be writing for them, you've got to think of them in mind. One of the best and easiest ways to do this to know about them, is to go and listen to what they have to say.

For instance, when I go and talk to my target audience, and I speak to them about social media and marketing and how they can use it for their business, I will listen to all the words that they say when they're talking about it, because this is so important. What they're going to do, is they're going to tell me their problems. They're going to tell me what they find difficult about social media marketing. Some of the words that they use, are words like overwhelm. Do you know what? I think in most parts of our business, we probably feel overwhelm. But it is something that you particularly feel in social media marketing. When I talk to these people, when I write copy, I would use the word overwhelm. I also listen to the kind of language they use, the words that they say, so that I'm not using my words, I'm using theirs.

The first thing I do, is I go out and have a conversation with them. Think about two or three either prospective or current customers, and why not go and have a chat with them, and ask them, “What made you want this product in the first place? What made you come to me? What do you find difficult about doing XYZ?” and listen to what they have to say. As I mentioned before, the one thing you want people to do when they read your copy, is resonate with it, is to engage with it. If you're using words that they think about, or they can read something and think, “Gosh, that's me,” or, “I feel like that,” then obviously you're going to be able to engage them much easier. It shows that you care, that you've bothered to listen to what they have to say, and that you want to try and help them.


#2: Focusing on features vs benefits


Point number two, features versus benefit. Now, this is really funny, because it seems like a really old technique. Years ago, you may not know this, but I used to work in a bank. This was something that was in the training then, that we used to talk about features versus benefits. It's still prevalent now. It's still really important that we think this way when we're writing copy, because if someone wants to use our service or buy from us, they're not actually buying the features of the product or the service, they're buying the benefits. Let me explain. Basically, if you want to get better at social media, it's not the driver that you want to be a brilliant social media person, it's because you want your social media to bring you more sales. The actual being good at social media is just the byproduct of that. You could not care that whether you're going to at social media or not, you just want to get the sales, or you just want to connect with people through social media.

So when people come to me, they don't say, “Teresa, I want to be a brilliant social media person,” they say, “I want to use social media for my business, and I want it to work.” The same way as our very basic form. If you think about a door, you're not selling a door, you're selling the solution to the gap in the wall, and that solution just happens to be a door. Again, it's not so much necessarily about the product or the thing itself, it's the solution that it fixes.

Another way to think about this, is from a perspective point of view. When you talk about the features of the product, you're talking from your perspective. You're talking about you and the product that you have. Whereas when you think benefits, you're thinking of your customer, and the need that they have. That is a much nicer way to write copy, because we don't want to feel like we're talking about ourselves all the time, we want our customer to be the focus. They should be the thing that we're concentrating on.


#3: Using emotion works in copy


On to point number three. Use emotion. Now, sometimes you can look at this and think, “How am I going to use emotion?” or, “What do you mean by use emotion?” The first thing you need to know, is that people connect so much easier when there's an emotion involved. If you can connect with someone on emotional level, then you're going to find it much easier to get them to engage with you. What do I mean by emotions? Well, when you write your copy, I want you to try and include emotion words, or words that conjure up emotions. Let's think back to someone who wants to be better at social media for their business. I would talk about things like being frustrated, or having the fear that their business might not succeed, and they will be a failure. I know some of these words may seem a bit dramatic, but you'll be amazed where people will take themselves when they link things. If my social media isn't very good, customers won't know about me. If I don't have customers, my business won't succeed, i.e. I'll be a failure.

Or you can use emotion on the other flip side, so talk about how they will feel when their problem is solved, or when they have achieved the thing that your service helps them achieve. If you needed proof about how powerful emotions can be in marketing, just think back to the last thing you either shared on social media, or the last thing you saw your friend share. I bet it conjured up an emotion, either an emotion of upset, an emotion of anger, an emotion of love or happiness, or something that really made them laugh. The stuff that people share on social media is the stuff that really builds on that emotion side.


#4: Addressing your customer’s fears


On to tip number four. Address their fears. Now, this isn't necessarily like the emotional talking where we address their fears and say, “What if this doesn't happen?” Addressing their fears means think about all the reasons they might not want to engage, or they might not be able to use your product or service. If you were selling an online course, for instance, someone might be thinking, “I can't afford to spend the money,” or, “I can't afford the time,” or, “I don't think the content will be good enough.” In your copy, when you're writing things, make sure you address those things. Make sure, instead of trying to hide from the reasons they might not want your product or service, full on address them, and tell them why that isn't the case.

For instance, if it was about an online course, then they might think they don't have the time to do it. However, they would be carrying on making the same mistakes over and over, so the time invested now will save them a lot of time in the long run. For this exercise, you could either think about the reasons why people haven't bought, or go back and speak to them and say, “Can I ask why you didn't buy?” Make a note of all those reasons they say they couldn't buy, or they didn't use your service. Those are the things you want to readdress in the future.


#5: Hearing and responding to customer feedback


This brings me on to my last tip. This one again isn't really about writing, but it's super important. Let them have the ability to respond. Anything that you're writing, you really want to be asking them to respond. You want to be asking a question. You want to be asking them to comment or give you feedback. Because people want to be heard. And also, marketing and social media now is all about a conversation. The more that you have these conversations, the more I'm going to trust you, because I'm going to realise you're a real human being at the end of that social media profile. I'm going to feel like I'm heard. And you're going to get better information, because you're going to get that valuable insight, those valuable words that people use. You're going to be able to address questions straight off.

That brings me to the end of my five tips. Let's just recap on what we covered. Tip number one, listen to what they have to say, and do some research. Tip number two, use the features versus benefits. Think about the benefits that it's giving them, and talk about that, rather than the features of your product or service. Tip number three, use emotion where possible. Try and bring those emotional words into it. The idea of feelings and how they might feel now, compared to how they might feel in the future. Tip number four, address their fears straight away. Make sure you understand the reasons why they might not buy or use your service, and then address these concerns in the copy. Then last but not least, tip number five, let them have the opportunity to respond. Make sure you are giving them every opportunity to get in touch, ask questions, comment, and give feedback.

I really hope that you found today's podcast useful. I think I've managed to squeeze it in before the children got up and made too much noise. I can't wait to see you again next week. Until then, have a fab week.