Write Great Copy Without Losing Your Voice
In today's competitive online world, content is King. We're all using blogs to share knowledge, establish ourselves as field experts, generate organic views and drive traffic to our websites.
In this age of web copy, many now specialise in writing SEO optimised content that specifically exists just to get a website high on a Google search. We have content mills like Fiverr and Freelancer pumping out SEO content at low-cost, with no real concern about who the client or the audience they're talking to is.
So with all these competing monochromatic voices, how do you keep a readers attention and let them know you're the business for them?
By talking in your own voice.
Great copy should show personality. Great copy is not about how many hits you can get from Google (although for many that part can be important), it's about engaging, empowering, educating and inspiring the reader to take action. And often, that action is buying your product.
When it comes to page views, quality over quantity really is the rule. You don't want to spend time attracting viewers that have no interest in what you're selling. You want to fine-tune your copy to attract the right views from the right potential clients or customers. These views, follows or likes are the ones that can actually be converted into sales.
If you look at a lot of successful online businesses, they don't necessarily have 100k Instagram followers reading their weekly blogs. What they have is a small community of committed readers who are able to make genuine referrals to friends and family recommending your service. Having 100k followers is definitely a goal to aspire to, but not if it means sacrificing the genuine value and camraderie you provide for your readers.
Here are the four tips to maintain your own voice and keep things authentic while still writing good - no, great! - copy.
- Write what you're passionate about
Stick to what you know and love. In the past I've written copy about investment banking and window blinds. Was that copy well-researched and well-written? Yes it was. Was that copy powerful and inspiring to the reader? Of course not! I didn't give two hoots about what happened to that copy once it left my inbox. Snoresville.
When I write about the imminent demise of the natural world as we know it on the other hand, things get explosive. If you want to position yourself as a leader in your field and showcase your authority on a subject, write about what you care about. Show that personality off through your passion for the topic!
- Keep it personal, but not too personal
It's important to be you. You can relate to your own experiences and stories, mention your likes and dislikes, and insert a lot of "you" into your copy. Where to the draw the line is where it gets too personal, or too unnecessary. For example unless you're a sex columnist, mentioning your sex life or a messy breakup in your professional copy probably isn't a good idea.
- Appeal to the good in people
When speaking to your audience, remember that most of them will share at least some of the same core values as you. We all love animals, for one. We're all going to be upset when the world floods from climate change, for two. Not everybody will be proactively fighting for these issues, but when writing your copy you can confidently write to your reader with the assumption that they will agree with you.
Remember when it comes down to it, one person at a time is reading your blog post. Your post is not being read by 100 people together. Each individual set of eyes independently engages with your words. Fundamentally, you are just one person talking to another. Two people, conversing. Assume the best of your reader and appeal to their values. You might just have more in common than you thought.
- Be OK with being you
The final and most important key to writing great copy without losing your voice is being OK with being you. You don't need to attempt to mimic the voice or tone of anybody else. Nobodies expecting Shakespeare, they just want to know what you have to say. The words may not come how you want them to, but that's OK. Slap up a photo of yourself on your website, write a blurb introducing who you are, and just be yourself. But if you still think your writing stinks and you're ready to take your branding to the next level? That's easy, hire a copywriter.
We just want to absorb your knowledge. Give us valuable content and forget about how perfectly it's presented.
To assure your place as a leader in your field, never forget the importance of connecting with your readership. You are one person writing to another person. Put SEO-optimisation out of your mind and learn to write from the heart. Use your own voice, stick to what feels natural, and I guarantee you'll churn out better writing than if you tried to imitate someone else.