All that boring, not-you language is actually squashing your business

all that boring not-you language is actually squashing your business

Let me whip out my trusty crystal ball for just a moment. Hold on, I gotta dust it off…

*ahem*

Okay, the magical crystal ball (not to be confused with a Magic 8 ball) is telling me you’ve been trying oh so desperately to nail your copy.

You’ve been pumping out draft after draft after draft. You’ve been pinning all kinds of pinteresting content about how to write copy. Maybe you’ve even been lurking in some copywriting Facebook groups to learn from the self-proclaimed pros.

And…you’re still stuck and not even one step closer to having copy that sounds even remotely like you.

The crystal ball and I totally sympathize with you, my friend. 

Like, total bummer.

And we’ve got a secret for you (because I think that’s why you’re consulting the crystal ball in the first place): It’s definitely NOT your fault. You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re not destined to be a horrible writer. And, no, your business isn’t doomed because your tagline isn’t 1000% perfect.

It’s damn near impossible to learn to write like yourself when you’re looking outside yourself.

Ooooh, that one just gave me chills.

How in the hell do you expect to write like YOU when you’re asking other people to tell you how to write like you?

Yeah, sure, there are allllll kinds of tips and tricks you can pick up from all that pinning you’re doing and all that creeping around in the shadowy depths of Facebook groups you’ve been up to. 

Hell, you’ll even find some of those tips and tricks if you poke around on this blog.

But that’s not going to get you to your ultimate goal: copy that sounds like you.

Because, my friend, this is the thing: If you want to write like you and finally have copy that no one else has because it’s so you and there’s no one else quite like you, there’s a few things you gotta do.

Lucky for you, we’re gonna break it down. Buckle up, buttercup.

Stop copying everyone else

Online business can be pretty cutthroat. I mean, any business can be pretty cutthroat. People are always copying other people, stealing ideas, borrowing words, performing ridiculously sneaky acts of subterfuge…

You’ve probably heard stories of people taking other people’s content – blog posts, programs, courses, books – word for word. I can think of at least four in the last two years, and I’m not even in “the know.”

Look, you can’t copyright ideas. So there’s that.

But do you think it looks good for you, for your business, for your credibility and your reputation to take something word for word from someone else?

I think it looks pretty lazy and reflects pretty poorly (I’m being nice) on you.

But it’s soooo tempting, right?

You see a sales page that you LOVE. The headline is spot on, the name of the program is super creative, the call to action is so compelling you want to buy and you’re not even in the market for whatever they’re selling…because you sell the same thing.

How about instead of being a plagiarizing asshat you do this instead: You take a second to appreciate this person and mentally give them a high five for creating an awesome piece of content.

Then, you read through the sales page again and see what really stood out to you. And you realize – yeah, the headline, the package name, and the call to action are awesome – but what you really love is how positive and upbeat the tone is. There’s not a putdown in sight, no calling anyone out, no finger pointing, no name calling…just an honest offer to help.

It makes you swoon. And you know your audience would love it, too.

So you use that feeling as inspiration. You remove any traces of fear mongering from your copy and infuse it with so much love and optimism that it feels like a giant hug.

Instead of taking exact words and phrases (or, you know, exact pages of copy), you take inspiration. 

You use what you love about a piece of copy and make your copy do the same thing. Without failing a Copyscape scan.

Resist the template temptation

Templates are a big thing. They’re a mega popular opt-in around the interwebs (hell, I’ve got butt loads of templates saved on my trusty MacBook here, taking up precious space as my poor little computer becomes increasingly decrepit). 

Not gonna lie: Templates kick ass. I love me some templates.

But they’re not so awesome when you use them word for word and maybe switch out a couple words here and there to make the copy more applicable to your health and wellness business.

That’s because someone else wrote it!

Here’s the thing: Templates are a great place to get inspiration, to find a starting point, to see what works, but they’re not so great at giving you copy that sounds like you.

UNLESS…you rewrite them. 

UNLESS…you use your own words.

UNLESS…you view them as a tool.

Let’s say you’ve got a template in your hot little hands, and it’s walking you through creating a blog post. And it’s got some handy dandy fill in the blanks for you. Leading into those handy dandy fill in the blanks is something like this: Here’s the deal.

Before you blow right past that and start filling in the blanks, did you stop to ask yourself if you’ve ever said “here’s the deal” in your life? Is that something you say all the time? Something you’d write yourself? Something you’ve written before?

No?

Then why are you gonna publish a blog post with language in it that’s totally not you?

Instead of blindly filling in the blanks, why not understand what the structure is, what the point of that piece of copy is, and then rewrite it in a way that sounds like you?

Maybe you’re much more likely to say something like, “Here’s the thing.” Or, “You know what?” Maybe you wouldn’t even include a phrase like that because it’s too many words and you’re super to the point.

Stay true to you, even (especially!) when you’re following a template.

Practice, practice, practice…and then practice some more

Can we just clear the air here? No one is born being a perfect writer. 

Sure, some people have natural talent. But you know what else famous, uber successful writers have? A team of editors. Proofreaders. PR agents. Marketers. They have a dedicated group of people swarming around them, holding their ideas with kid gloves and shaping and molding and taming them in to something that’s like a gift to the universe.

You probably don’t have any of that, being the plucky wellness pro you are.

You know what else they do?

They practice.

Writing is just like any other craft – if you want to get better, you have to practice.

Your copy might not be blistering hot right out the gate. It might take a few weeks or months or even years (don’t panic) to really truly nail your copy.

Because there are so many pieces that need to fall in to place – your style, your voice, knowing your customer’s language, knowing your customer’s real problem, and on and on.

It takes time, tons of patience, and even more practice. But you can do it. You’ve started your own business, and this whole writing thing is just one more part of that. 

So use every time you sit down to write – whether it’s a blog post, copy for your website, podcast show notes, a social media caption, an email, your freebie – as an opportunity to practice and learn something new. 

I’m not pretending any of this is easy, especially that last bit about being patient and practicing like crazy. But I’m peering into my trusty crystal ball, and I’m seeing a pretty good first step in the right direction for you, my friend: 10 Days to Better Than Okay Copy. 

It’s designed to help you write like you and infuse more personality into your copy. And it goes super deep into what I think you should do with templates (way deeper than what I covered here and, no, it’s not shove them where the sun don’t shine) so you can use them and STILL come out with copy that’s undeniably you. Oh, and it comes with a workbook and it’s totally free. You can sign up right here.

Tracie Kendziorawriting, editing