If you can't write copy for your own website, you're doomed.
I can't begin to tell you the amount of money I've spent on copywriting, either trying to learn from courses or paying someone else to do it.
When you learn how to write copy for yourself you're going to be miles ahead.
The thing about copywriting is that it's as important as your portfolio and your design packages. People are visual so your photos need to speak to your dream client. Once they see images that tell them that they are in the right place and turn them on - THEN they read.
Even if you've got the prettiest portfolio pictures out there and they go to read your copy on your website and get bored, they aren't going to be likely to connect with you.
Here's how you start writing good copy
Before you begin writing:
- Figure out why you're writing
- Who you're writing to
- What's in it for your reader
First things first, why are you writing?
Why are you writing? If you are writing a blog post, you should be either entertaining, informing or teaching your client. You're building trust and giving them value.
If you're writing the page for one of your design services, it's to sell your service so you need to figure out everything they need to know to make a decision.
Whatever you're writing, figure out why you're writing.
Second, figure out who your dream client and write to them.
For example your dream client is: a mother who has young children and wants a home that's pretty but family friendly.
Would this appeal to her?
Every Friday night you go out to the bar looking for the young hot lady to bring back to your pad, but can we just say it? Your pad is about as attractive as a brick-walled dorm room with bunk beds with stale Top Ramen on top of the mini-fridge. Read: Fugly (and gross).
Your bachelor pad needs to be as seductive and sexy as you are on a Saturday night. Wouldn't you hate to bring that hot little blonde back to your place for a nightcap only to have her take one look at your place and run.
No, that would not appeal to a young mother, she already found her loverboy. She's has a totally different view of the world and it doesn't include hooking up for the night with some young stallion. So know who you're writing for.
There should be a point to your writing. And that point is what's in it for your client. So many designers have all this copy on their website about themselves... yawn. I love you, but your clients are only thinking about themselves when they first come to your website. They want to know that what you have to offer will help them.
Third, what's in it for them?
If you're writing your blog post about sofas teach your dream clients about the construction of a high quality sofa. Then they will understand why a great sofa costs more (think:benefits). It will last longer, it's a better value, it's made with better materials, etc.
If you're writing about your design service, what benefit is it to your dream client to buy this service from you? Are you saving them time? Then tell them that in a way they will get. Imagine not having to waste another weekend at the mall with those annoying people. You know the ones that knock into you as they gaze like zombies at their smartphones? You'll be relaxing at home because you can just order everything online and have it delivered to your doorstep. Ah, bliss (and more Netflixing time).
Start writing from you heart and you're halfway there.
When you prove to your clients that you get them you will capture their attention. But, I get it. It's takes time, practice and getting your voice right.
What I finally figured out is that when you can write honestly and confidently, your website starts working for you. Your website is your 24/7 sales person and it needs to work hard for you.
A website with shitty copy is like a home with Ikea furniture.
Look, we all start somewhere and I've bought my fair share of Ikea furniture. It serves a purpose. It's just not going to stand the test of time.
So when you're investing time and money into a website, you also need to invest time and money into your website copy. It will reward you a thousand times over, but you have to work at it.
When I started my business, writing copy that anyone gave two shits about was tough. I was looking to see what other designer's were writing about and mirrored that. Guess what, I looked like every other boring designer out there. That's not me.
When I started to write things that made me nervous to hit the "Publish" button that's when I finally knew I was on to something. Embrace who you are (and I'm sure you're not like every other designer out there).
The most important thing to know about copywriting is that you can learn how to do it.
You can learn how to do it. Don't spend a shit ton of money on those copywriting courses out there. Here's how to hone your writing:
- Practice. Good writing comes with lots of practice. I like to start every day writing so I can get better.
- Get your voice to sound like you. If you need to, record a video of yourself and listen to yourself and how you speak. Then write how you speak. That tone resonates so much more with people than boring factual writing. Your clients already expect you to be an expert, so just share your knowledge in a conversational way. It may help you to pretend you're writing an email to a friend - yes open up a new message and start writing.
- Refine. Nailing your voice takes time, so don't put off getting better at it. It will take that much longer to get where you want to go with your business.
Lastly, don't outsource your blogging.
I know you can buy pre-made articles to put on your blog, but don't do it.
There's a bunch of key ingredients that go into getting your clients to bang down your virtual door. When you get those ingredients working on your website (which is sooo key to a booming design business) how could you not succeed?
Alycia Wicker is a business coach for creative entrepreneurs. Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.