Picture yourself at your workspace preparing to write a marketing piece for your soul-centered project. Feel the pen in your hand or the keyboard under your fingertips.
What happens once you begin writing that copy? Do you get stuck? Do you start judging your copy even before it’s on the page? Do you procrastinate in order to avoid doing it? When you finally get that writing done, does it actually work?
Do you wish there was a simple and painless way to create copy that works and that you feel good about?
I know how daunting soulful and effective copywriting can sometimes feel, and the following 13 principles will help you expand your community, earn more income, and feel good about how you market.
Thirteen Foundational Principles for Effective & Soulful Copy
- Make it personal. Instead of feeling like your copy needs to speak to EVERYONE in the world, understand that it’s most effective to make copy as personal as possible and to speak directly to your ideal client. Mention your ideal client’s needs and goals, and specifics that let them know you understand them. It can be helpful to choose a current or former client who feels like an ideal client, and pretend like you’re writing directly to them.
- Speak in your own voice. Don’t try to sound like anyone else. It’s so easy to see folks out there who seem like a good model and you feel like you need to imitate them to be successful, but that’s not true. The more you use your real voice, the more you’ll be able to really communicate with your ideal client. If you’re sassy, put that sass in your copy. If you’ve got a sense of humor, that should come through. If you’re more tranquil, then that needs to be apparent. Don’t use stock phrases or clichés unless you truly resonate with them yourself. Use your own voice and language.
- Most of the time, make your writing conversational. Don’t use formal language because that keeps it from being personal. Exceptions: if you’re writing a proposal for a large corporation or if you’re writing a bio to go in another corporation. For your own marketing, newsletters, your personal bio, etc., keep it conversational and less formal.
- Connect emotionally to the writing. The topic of the writing should be something that excites you. Your excitement and passion will be clear to your readers.
- Always use client-centered language. Use words like "you" and "yours" instead of "people" or "women", etc. You’re not talking about theoretical people out in the ether. You’re talking directly to your ideal client. Additionally, using "we" is not recommended, because it’s too self-referential. Stay focused on the client.
- Use power words and phrases. Words like "ground-breaking," "transformative," "deeply moving", etc., that will catch your readers’ attention. It lets them know that your offering is special and not mundane. The more you can use power words and phrases, the stronger your copy will be and the more folks will pay attention to what you have to say.
- Always activate your ideal client’s gap and vision. This means you must address the specific need the client has, the thing they lack. Then talk about the vision of what it will be like when that need is met (by you!). For example, let’s say you’re a professional organizer, and your ideal client is a mom who needs help getting her home or home office organized. Your writing should touch on the need she has to get organized, the difficulties she’ll face without organization, and then describe all the concrete and emotional benefits she’d enjoy if she could get organized. Then you are in a great position to share your offerings with her to meet her needs.
- Your call to action must be clear and big. Always have a call to action, whether it’s to sign up for a newsletter or to join a call or to buy a program. Prospects and current clients need to know what to do when they’re on your website, so tell them! The CTA needs to be highly visible, easy to understand, and it’s best to have more than one.
- Check spelling and grammar. Always. It’s ok if you have partial sentences if it’s part of being conversational. Just make sure there are no mistakes that you didn’t intend.
- Vary the types of sentences you use. There should be a variety of long and short sentences, bullet points, questions, and longer and shorter paragraphs. This will keep the reader’s attention. Also make use of space throughout the copy to break it up a little. Your readers will be overwhelmed if they get a giant chunk of text to read, but if you can break it into little bites, it’s much less intimidating and easier to read.
- Find the right length for the copy. There are no hard and fast rules for this because it depends on the type of marketing you’re writing – the length of a newsletter will be different from that of a registration page.
- Know your ideal client. If that client is a busy mom who doesn’t have a lot of time, a huge amount of copy will not be effective because it’s hard for her to get through all of it. Adjust the length based on your client’s needs.
- Use an angle for marketing pieces & newsletters. This isn’t recommended necessarily for websites, but for marketing. Find an angle into the readers’ attention based on their needs to make it much more urgent and powerful. An angle for a working mom might be her desire to find more family time. An angle for someone new to yoga might be to address their fears around not being flexible, or their need for tranquility. You can use a different angle each time.
Marketing is about connecting and creating relationships. If your marketing copy is not as connective or is not creating the type of relationship with your ideal prospect, then you’ll have a really difficult time being successful.
Soulful copy is not cookie-cutter. It’s something that feels authentic to you. It feels aligned for you, not icky like that proverbial used-car salesman. It feels like a natural extension of you. When your copy is both effective and soulful, you’ll know because it feels authentic AND gets results!