Before I go on… I’d love to share some feedback a makeup artist recently emailed me. I’d helped her with some copy advice and tips on word styling her blog. She completely melted my heart.
You have played a BIG role in my motivation. You make it (online content writing) sound easy and doable for someone that doesn’t find writing easy.
One thing that keeps resonating that you said is you are only limited by your imagination. My selfesteem has been shot lately (always been an issue really!) but you helped the other day. I think I care too much with what people will think of me so I limit myself too much. How I talk, how I write, what I wear.
You told me to be myself and write that way. I like helping people and write how I speak. So that is what I’m going to do. Be myself. This is already helping. People at work think I have some great ideas for the company/website. The website is already looking better *happy dance*. Only problem is… now I can’t sleep as I have sooo many ideas flooding my mind again on what to do.
It’s like you have triggered something in my brain and it’s exploding with goodness. You are giving a wealth of knowledge and not holding back to help others get somewhere.
Anyway, this is all of what you told me. SO THANK YOU!
This is how your content will make people feel too. WOW words have soul and substance.
Ok, so you’ve set some goals, you can now see the impact great content can have on your business and you’re ready to get started. Go you!
But what do you write copy about? No matter what you’re writing, there are some overall tips that will take any piece of online content from now to WOW. The first is getting to know your audience.
Get to know your audience… intimately
I’m going to assume that the main goals of your content are to attract new customers and keep existing ones enthralled, increase leads and promote yourself as an expert in your field, right? So to attract your ideal customers you will need to write and put up content that is going to appeal to them on their level. Which means you’ll need to find out exactly what they’re looking for and what they need help with, so you can write words that are their perfect match.
To do that, you need to know your audience super well – I would even go so far as saying know in an intimate way – virtually, of course. After all, if you don’t know who your ideal customers are, how can you provide what they are searching for?
If you’ve been in business for a while, you already know who these people are. They’re the ones who see the value in your efforts and invest in what you are offering. They feel delighted and energised after seeing you, they trust you, they pay their bills on time, they show up to their appointments early, they pay what you are asking, they give referrals… all the good stuff. In short, you love working with them and they love what you are all about.
This is your audience – these are the people you want to target with your online content. The more your content reflects these ideal customers, including the language they use and even the images they’ll respond to, the better you’ll reach them.
Think of your ideal client – who is it? Picture them while you write and pretend you are writing them a direct letter. To do this, you need to know more than just their gender and age. You need to know how they talk, what they read, what makes them tick, what their biggest problem is, and what they’re looking for.
So start with these questions:
Gender – Male or female?
Age – How old are they, or which age group do they fall into?
Where do they live – Metro, regional or country? Break it down again to city and state. Do they own or rent? What type of dwelling do they live in?
Educational background – Do they have a degree? Did they finish school? Are they self-taught?
Family background – Are they married, single, divorced or de facto? Do they have children or grandchildren? Where are their parents? Do they have brothers and sisters?
Cultural heritage – Where were they born? What nationality are they? What are their beliefs?
Social status – Where do they hang out? Are they extroverted or introverted? Do they go to the movies? Do they like a beer after work? Do they entertain at home? Are they on social media?
Are you friends with them on social media? You can really find out a lot about a person by what they post on their social platforms.
What makes them get up in the morning? What do they do? What’s their passion?
Do they like animals? Cats, dogs, birds, fish? Do they have a pet?
What are they frustrated with? What problems do they encounter in their life, business, relationships or career? What annoys them? Do they have bugbears?
What are their values? Integrity, compassion, credibility or respect?
What do they do? Where do they work (office/from home/big corporation)? Or do they own a business? Are they an entrepreneur?
What do they earn? (Roughly, I’m not sure taking them to coffee and saying: “So, what do you earn?” would go down too well. Although if you’ve seen Wolf of Wall Street, that’s kind of how Jordan Belfort (Leo DiCaprio) and Donnie (Jonah Hill) became besties and business partners).
What do they spend their money on? Do they save money? Do they have a budget (monthly, quarterly, annual)? Do they invest?
How often do they use your services? Weekly, monthly, annually?
What will they spend on your services? Put an amount on it.
What do they want from you? Think about your solution to their problems. What do they buy from you, which products and services?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, take one of your ideal customers to coffee and ask them in person!
How to use this intimate knowledge
If you know all of these demographics, then your content will reflect this in some way, shape or form. You wouldn’t talk about the performance of a Chevy 353 stroker engine to a bunch of stay-at-home mumpreneurs who all talk house. (Unless, of course, it was the latest invention that would get you from A to B for the kids’ sporting commitments, while also doing a load of washing, vacuuming the house and making the lunches, all at the same time). Granted, some of those mums may enjoy reading about the rev-head qualities of that particular high-performance machine but, in reality, it’s probably not high on most of their to-read lists. For their husbands, it may be a different story.
Ultimately, these questions tell you how you can add value to their life with your content so you can build a connection and trust. You will use this information to write content on topics that appeal to them, to publish that content in places where they’ll see it and to publish at a pace that keeps them wanting more.
Snapshot: I know my ideal customers have a grasp on the online world and how important content and content writing is to their business. So I’m not going to be too basic in my delivery. I also know they want to know personal things about me, so I mix that in as well. They’re not formal and like me to write conversationally, like we’re talking over a coffee. And I know they like me to write a little creatively so it’s light, entertaining and easy to consume. I know much more than that, of course, but that is enough to get me started. Can you see why this info is important?
From knowing the above, I know the level at which I should write to my customers on my website and in my blog that resonates with them, as well as the writing style they want me to use on their projects. It’s gold, really.
Word Style Step
Survey your existing ideal customers. Send them an email, give them a phone call or ask them when next you see them if they can spare a few minutes to go through a survey with you. What better way to gain an understanding of their needs, wants and how you can help them?
This will help you start building a relationship with your peeps, which is important because this high element of engagement is what will set you apart from others in your space. You want to talk with your target market and constantly have them engaged in your offering and what you stand for.
Your audience is your best, most reliable and most effective source of copy ideas, so make good use of them.