When I started out, I had no idea what it meant to write copy that converts. But over time, and thanks to training with amazing teachers like Marie Forleo and Melissa Cassera, I learned a thing or two.
What really helped me is realizing that copy writing is actually a skill that you can practice. And that there are principles and psychology that apply, no matter what’s your writing style. You do not have to sound cheesy. Or do anything negative salesy to get attention, but you do need to understand the principles of copywriting and how they work.
I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you! This is a loooong one, best to grab yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable. Let’s dive in.
# 1 Invoke curiosity
We human beings are inquisitive by nature. Our minds are wired to figure things out and any time that we see an open loop, our brains are triggered. When you see copy that’s drenched in curiosity, it compels you to click, to read further.
Here’s an example:
“If your wrists hurt in downward dog, you’re probably making this common mistake.”
It invokes curiosity because your brain quickly identifies that there’s a specific mistake you don’t know about that’s tied to a big pain point you might be experiencing. With curiosity, you want to tease your readers and fill them with anticipation by revealing just enough to get them to continue reading.
#2 Write scannable content
People don’t really read a lot online. Instead, they scan the content. What most web visitors do is glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for.
To write scannable content, use headlines that say exactly what to expect, use sub-headlines and bullet points or small paragraphs.
#3 Write for lazy people
Just like the lazy panther looks for an easy catch for his dinner, your web visitor doesn’t want to make an effort to read your text.
Use short paragraphs – four sentences max. Use short sentences. Strive for one single idea per sentence. Skip unnecessary words. And keep your web copy as simple as possible.
Here’s an example:
Here is an example of the kind of sentence which seems to contain a few too many extra words.
This sentence has extra words.
#4 Use the friend filter
If you wouldn’t say something to your friends, it doesn’t belong in your copy. Instead of being formal or sounding like a Wikipedia article, your copy should be personal and inviting. Like in this example:
“Dear Amanda, I would like to inform you of a very special yin yoga workshop we are making available to our loyal students on September 15th. We would very much appreciate your presence. You are welcome to bring a guest.”
“Hi Jennifer, wanna come to an intimate yin yoga workshop on September 15th? We’ll share some new facts about fascia that you might not know yet and we’ll have awesome live music.”
#5 Talk with one person at a time
Don’t start your emails or your videos with, “Hi guys,” or, “Hi everyone,” because chances are people are not sitting around a computer in a group. They’re gonna read or watch you individually and you want them to feel like you are connecting with just them.
#6 Use contractions
I’m vs. I am. We’re vs. We are. Contractions make your writing instantly more personal and more conversational, which makes them more persuasive and easy to read.
#7 Connect to your readers’ dreams, pain points and struggles
You wanna convey, “I get you. I know what you want. Here’s what you want. I’m here to help, let’s make this happen together.” To do this you need to know who’s your ideal customer and what makes him or her tick.
#8 Use concrete language
Try to be as concrete and specific as possible when you describe something. This helps your readers to actually picture the situation and engages their senses
For example: “Get a toned triceps” versus “Transform your body”. One’s very specific, one’s very abstract and general.
#9 Start with an outline
Instead of feeling you have to write one perfect paragraph after the other, first map out your content from start to finish, jotting down notes for the intro, middle section, and ending. Flesh out your lessons, tips, or story-points with bullet points, or whatever organizational format feels right. Only after that, you start writing the content.
#10 Proof it
Proofread for typos, missing or duplicate words, awkward-sounding sentences, and other boo boos. Try using Grammarly.com if you feel calmer knowing that a smart robot has taken a stab at proofreading your words, too.
Extra tip: Create a copy sizzle file
Start your own private “swipe file” collection of great headlines, email subject lines, social media updates and blog post titles. Collect any piece of copy that you find irresistible and save it to inspire your own writing. (Big note: inspire does not mean plagiarize.)