Be Your Own Freelance Copywriter
Hiring copywriters not in your budget? These copywriting secrets and tips can help you broaden your audience and get you the attention that generates leads.
As Luke says at the beginning of this week’s episode, copywriting is hard—and it is. Professional copywriters consistently spend their time learning and refining their skills. But you don’t have to be a professional copywriter to use a few copywriting secrets to improve the lead-generating potential of your own emails and blogs.
Jacob McMillen is a thriving freelance copywriter who routinely appears at the top of Google’s results page. He also trains other copywriters to develop the skills that helped him achieve his own success. During this interview with Luke and Josh, Jacob shares his thoughts about what makes for good copywriting and offers tips that agents and other sales professionals can use to write their own emails and blogs.
And if you’re a bit anxious about writing your own copy, think about this. Copywriting is essentially putting the sales process into writing. This means that as a sales professional who is versed in walking someone through a sale, you already have more of an advantage than you might think.
Choose your audience
Before you begin to write, choose your audience. Do you want to help an audience who is at the beginning, middle, or end-stage of the buyer’s journey?
Will you be writing to prospects who have a growing awareness of a problem with which they’ll need help?
Are you more concerned with those who are actively looking for a solution?
Or are you ready to pitch to those who are ready to buy?
Once you have your audience, imagine yourself speaking with one person in that audience. What would you say?
As Jacob notes, the significant difference between in-person sales and copywriting is the absence of a real-time conversation. To compensate, you need to anticipate the questions you’d likely get and proactively answer them. You’ll want to anticipate the challenges and have a plan.
Choose your topic
If you’re a real estate agent, a financial advisor, an insurance broker, or another type of sales professional, then you know far more about your industry than any prospect. That’s a good thing and a bad thing.
It’s a good thing because you’ll be perceived as an expert and someone they can trust. You can offer sound advice and answer questions. You can help them solve their problem.
It can potentially be a bad thing because you may forget your prospect doesn’t know as much as you do. Nor are they as likely to care about the intricate details you find fascinating. For these reasons, it’s important to remember that what you may want to write about may not be what your audience wants to know.
Focus on what’s urgent
When choosing a topic, Jacob advises selecting one based on your audience’s most urgent need. Don’t fall into the trap of writing everything there is to know about whatever subject you choose. Instead, focus on the one idea about which you can share one piece of value, one benefit, or one solution.
What might that one big idea be? Ask these three questions, and you’ll find your muse:
- What does my audience care about now?
- What is my audience struggling with now?
- What questions is my audience asking now?
One of the better ways to find the answers to these questions is to do some searching on Google. If you’re a real estate agent, for example, you might search, how sellers can get the best price for their property. See what comes back, and ask yourself, “Can I possibly push this writer out of the top position? Can I write a better article?”
Many times Google will show a section titled, “People also asked,” on the results page. Look at that section as well. You may find it easier to write a better answer in response to one of those questions instead.
Use SEO keywords
When writing your copy, include the keywords people will use to search for your topic. There are many free keyword search tools available. Here are a few to get you started:
- Google Keyword Planner (You need a Google Ads account to access this tool.)
- Wordstream Keywords
- Ahrefs Keyword Generator
- SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
Jacob has discovered with his own content that the more time people spend on a page, reading what you’ve written, the more Google’s algorithms are likely to identify your content as a good answer. Write your copy so that it’s engaging, easy to follow, and delivers value, and people will spend time reading it. At that point, Google will begin to push your content toward the top of its search results.
Choose a promising headline/subject line
Your headline (if you’re writing a blog) or your subject line (if you’re writing an email) is arguably the most important part of your copy. If either doesn’t sufficiently tempt your audience to click, then it doesn’t matter if you’ve written the best copy in the history of the world . . . no one will read it.
The most enticing headlines and subject lines offer a promise to the audience that they’ll find irresistible. If, for example, you targeted home sellers and you wrote a subject line for an email that promised, “3 Simple Things You Can Do to Start a Bidding War For Your Home,” you’d likely get a fair share of clicks. But here’s the thing . . . you must deliver on your promise.
Anyone clicking on that line will expect to get three ideas to start a bidding war. If you fail to deliver, you’ve shot yourself in the foot because you’ve dramatically reduced your credibility. And a writer without credibility doesn’t get read.
Copywriting is an art. There are rarely one-size-fits-all answers to questions, but Luke, Josh, and Jacob flesh out some good starting points that any writer—whether they are a professional copywriter or not—would do well to consider.
- Copywriting is essentially taking your audience through the sales process, but rather than having a conversation, you anticipate the questions they’d ask and proactively answer them.
- Deciding between long and short copy is a matter of determining at what point in the sales funnel your audience is and asking what is it they need to know now?
- Keep in mind that what you want to write about may not always be what your audience wants to know.
- Regarding SEO, the longer you can keep people on the page reading what you’ve written, the more favorable Google will treat you. Make an enticing promise, deliver on that promise, provide value, structure your writing so it’s easy to follow, and your audience will enjoy reading what you’ve posted.
The next time you sit down to write an email or a blog, put your promise in your subject line or headline. Then deliver on the promise.
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