Why writing marketing stuff feels so hard (and what to do about it)
Website content. Social media profiles. Advertisements. Blog posts.
My clients often feel surprised, frustrated and sometimes a tad bit embarrassed when we talk about “writing words for their marketing.”
Some of the comments I’ve received over the years:
I’ve been in business for 8 years now. You’d think I’d be able to explain what I do by now…but I can’t.
I do this all the time for other people. I just can’t do it for myself.
I sit down and stare at the blank page…and I’ve got nothing. I’m a good writer. I don’t get why this is so hard.
If you can relate to any of the above, know that you’re not alone.
When my clients hire me to help them with their copy and messaging, 80% of them come because of some version of the above.
The other 20% come because they don’t have time…
…and I suspect that if they DID have time, they’d also find it a struggle!
Explaining what you do – clearly, succinctly and so that people “get” it – is something that looks easy, but actually isn’t.
When you get copy and messaging right…it just flows.
It’s simple to follow.
It makes sense.
It appears to be obvious.
And because it’s just “words on a page” – it looks like it should be easy to do.
I suspect that a good part of the frustration stems from this perception: “this should be easy…why is it so hard?”
Want to know why?
Let me tell you!
Here are 3 things that make writing marketing copy challenging
1. Copywriting (writing marketing materials) is a skill – and you may not have learned it yet
Think back to when you learned how to drive a car.
If you were anything like me, it may have looked easy when you watched your Dad do it.
But the first time behind the wheel, all of a sudden it seemed hard.
There was that moment when you recognized that you didn’t know what you were doing.
After some practice and experience, it becomes easy. So easy that you might not even think about it, you just do it.
We all know how to “write” – but copywriting is a specific skill.
Like driving a car…it’s learnable. And it requires some practice and experience.
The lack of skill part is easy to rectify.
You don’t need to become a pro copywriter.
Just learn a few basics about copywriting.
I cover the 20% you need to know that will give you 80% of your results in my free e-book.
The next challenge is a little trickier to resolve.
2. Writing about ourselves is…awkward
A lot of people find it easy to write for other people, but struggle to do it for themselves. (Ask me how I know about this one!)
One of my favourite sayings:
“You can’t read the label when you’re stuck inside the jar.”
When we write our own copy, we instinctively look from the inside out. We share the view from inside our own head.
When we do this, copywriting feels…awkward. Self-conscious. Braggy.
The thing is, copy isn’t for us or about us.
It’s for our future clients.
If you want to write good copy, you need to write it from your future clients’ perspective – from the outside in. What are they seeing? What do they want to know?
I often tell my clients:
“Listen to your prospective clients. They will tell you EXACTLY what to say in your marketing!”
(Hint #1: they want answers to these questions. )
(Hint #2: they want to hire an expert.)
Coaches and consultants come with built-in skills to get this perspective.
We’re good at asking questions. We’re good at listening.
Which leaves us one final challenge…and it’s a doozy.
3. We don’t really know what we want to say
Often, writing is hard because you don’t know what to say.
For marketing copy, this is partially skill: knowing what you need to say to create good copy.
But often, the real problem is lack of clarity about these foundational questions:
Who is going to buy from you?
It’s hard to “get inside the heads” of your future clients if you’re not clear about who they are and what they want.
This question is especially challenging to answer early on in your business – and even experienced coaches and consultants cast too wide a net.
Why are they going to buy from you?
What problems do you solve for them? What results do you help them get?
What, exactly, are you selling? (And how is it better than what all those other people are selling?)
This is partially the structure of your service offer: what they get, how it works, what it costs.
For coaches and consultants, it’s recognizing that our clients aren’t actually buying our services.
They’re buying what they get from those services. (More on this here: How to build a trusted advisor marketing machine.)
The big takeaway…
When you have clarity about these questions, can see the world from inside your future client’s head…and have a few basic copywriting writing skills, you’ll discover that writing marketing materials doesn’t feel so hard anymore!
Or if you want to save time and effort…you can just hire me! 🙂
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