Today, I’m going to break down some of the copywriting exercises I challenge myself to do for client work AND my students to do for themselves.
Pencils up? Let’s go.
When you have a creative small business, the writing never really stops, yeah? It goes FAR beyond your website words—emails, captions, newsletters, and more.
Sure. You could hire a “me”—a copywriter—but I want to get you equipped with some of the most profitable to-do’s you can do THIS week to write better words for your business.
Let’s map this out for you—don’t forget to take my brand voice quiz I’ve got teed up for you.
Add in one piece of specific data.
Have you ever said “how are you” when you really don’t care about the response? It’s a kinda vague way to greet someone.
We use vague words all the time: best, lowest, quickly, passionate, authentic, blah blah.
“If a claim is worth making, make it in the most impressive way,” said copywriting godfather Claude Hopkins.
Instead of those vague words, can you tell me something super specific?
For example, the number of clients, customers, or students you’ve served? That’s a pretty easy one, but think more. What’s another specific data point you can give me? For example, your silk dyed ribbons are double-washed to ensure the color stays? Or, that you’ll cull the thousands of wedding images you took down to just 300, so as not to waste my time and give me the most fantastic, heirloom quality photos? Even if that’s standard practice, YOU are the one telling your clients or customers. And if you’re the first to tell them that, it matters.
What if you’re selling me artwork for my nursery—can you tell me that between 4 and 8 months, my baby’s eyes start focusing equally … so I should hang some of your nursery prints across from the crib for him?
When you use specific data, people tend to believe it.
So exercise one: Go to a services or sales page or product description you have, and add in a numerical data point or statistic. Bonus points if it’s not the number of clients served—c’mon, you can think harder than that. 🙂
Batch write more than one headline at a time … make it a daily practice if you’re feeling sparky.
The purpose of the headline on a page of your website is to pick the people out of the crowd that you want to work with. By deductive reasoning, yes, this means you want to repel the people you do not want to work with.
Make sure to watch my video where I talk just about headlines, but my exercise for you here is to spend just as much time on the headline as you’re spending on the other part of your copy—more, if you can.
If you don’t have a headline this week, what about an email subject line or the first line of your Instagram caption?
Add 3 things to your copy bank today—or start one if you don’t have one.
This is something my Copywriting for Creatives™ students know I tell you to do. It’s a swipe file, but I dubbed it a copy bank in my head and it’s stuck. Creating a banking and housing system for your brands words and for inspiration. It’s like a mood board!
Sure, you can add swipes that you’ve seen around the internet. But think bigger. Be creative! Is there a quote you’ve run across, a phrase from a podcast you liked, a quip in an email newsletter that made you laugh?
Here’s an example of when I’ve done this recently. Recently I was reading an article in GQ about the Oxford Comma *nerd alert* and pulled a quote from that. You’ll see it come up, watch for it
Give morning pages a whirl.
Eh. Okay, so this is not exactly a sales copywriting thing but writing in general. My friend Katie Selvidge first introduced the idea to me, which Julia Cameron gives the how-to for in her book The Artists Way.
Essentially, here’s the idea: Free write 3 pages in a journal each morning. Don’t think, don’t edit, don’t judge, just write.
A lot of times I have students that aren’t BAD writers, they just need a BIT of grit. You aren’t as bad as you think. You aren’t, I promise. Your writing muscles may just be a little weak.
Every morning is a lot to commit to, but as you start work one day this week, sit down with a journal and just write. Fill 3 pages with your stream of consciousness. I think you’ll find it gets your head clear and makes you feel like you’re in the saddle.
Split test one thing in your business this week.
Figuring out if something works or doesn’t work in your business can be answered quickly, pretty cheaply, and quickly with a little split test.
If you’re already keen on how to test things, do you have a little nugget of time in your weekly workflow or monthly workflow where you can review your tests, see what worked, and take notes to tweak and repeat.
This is something I TRY to do in my monthly duty day—look at past data to guide my decisions. Did people stay and scroll longer when I changed that headline? Did more people open when the headline had an emoji or no emoji?
It’s been said that split testing allows the thousands decide what the millions will do—here here!
Schedule your next survey.
I love reading thoughts from the students inside my signature program that out of everything in there, one of their favorite exercises is the survey—I think it’s because we crave the clarity of knowing what people want, so we can deliver it to them.
When you learn what appeals to your clientele, THAT is what you turn around and use in your sales copy.
Develop a consistent brand voice.
“Before learning from you, I’d jump from sounding super formal and robotic (so not me!) to relaxed and fun, but it never sounded the same,” one of my students said. That’s pretty common to hear!
Create brand guidelines with your brand voice, and take my quiz to get started.
How are you feeling? I know that was a lot, but I promise you—like I tell my students and say at nearly every speaking engagement, yes, you can hire a copywriter. But to some level, you need to be able to do this on your own. No one is able to know your market, your story, your onlyness factor, quite like you.
I hope you feel excited about this and a little more equipped to DIY your brand’s messaging.
Again if you want some support on this, a starter copy bank, and direction on your brand voice, head to my 11-question quiz to vet your brand voice out. It’s worked for 5k creatives and I know it can work for you as well. 😉