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How to Avoid the “Newbie Copy Paradox” & Sound Like A Pro

Modesty might be a virtue but it isn’t always helpful when you’re writing about your business. You’ve got to find a way to show your future clients how awesome you are and how much you can impact their lives. If you don’t, they might not stick around to find out for themselves.

But if you’re anything like me, you might find bigging yourself up in writing a little awkward—whether you’re writing an “about me” page, a sales page, or a description for Facebook. This doesn’t necessarily mean you lack self-confidence; it just means you don’t want to sound like an arrogant jerk, and fair enough!

Unfortunately, we can’t always tell when we’re undermining our own efforts to attract clients. This is especially challenging when we’re new to business, or moving into a new line of work.

If you're brand new to online marketing, it's possible you've fallen into the trap of making newbie mistakes. Especially with your copywriting. Here's how to sound like a pro instead.

So here are three questions to ask yourself to figure out if you’re selling yourself short in writing—and to turn it around.

1. Am I sharing the big-picture benefits of working with me—instead of just describing what I do?

It’s easy enough to say you’re a virtual assistant who helps small business owners with administrative tasks like bookkeeping, scheduling and social media updates. If I’m a business owner wigging out about my disorganized files—and if I’ve already decided to hire a virtual assistant—this might be enough to convince me to get in touch.

But what about the people who are on the fence about needing your services? What about folks who’d love to hire a VA, but aren’t convinced you’re worth the investment?

They’re going to need a little help seeing the big picture.

Beyond describing the tasks you help clients with, take a few big steps back and think about the impact this has on their businesses and their lives. Do you help your clients launch new projects and courses so they can bring in more revenue? Do you make them come across as more professional and legit? Or do you simply save them stress and time, freeing them up to spend more time with their families and pursuing their passion projects?

Adding these benefits into your copy will make a huge difference. You’ll sound smart, helpful and immensely valuable to the people you work with.

2. Does my copy sound aspirational, like I’m still wishing and hoping for my first clients?

If you haven’t been in business for very long, you might find yourself stuck in what I like to call the “newbie copy paradox.” You can’t exactly pretend that you’re an old hat with decades of experience doing exactly what you’re doing right now. You’re an honest guy or gal and that kind of embellishment would keep you awake at night.

But that doesn’t mean you want your copy to scream ROOKIE either—you know that’s unlikely to convince folks hire you.

What might make you look like an amateur? One common mistake is writing about why you decided to go into business and ending the story there, making it sound like you set up shop yesterday. Another mistake is using “I can” or, worse, “I will” while describing what you do for folks—instead of a much more confident “I do.”

If you’re struggling with this, here’s a trick: imagine it’s four months from now. Write about how four-months-older you is helping your clients — even if it means using a little bit of optimism and imagination. You can absolutely maintain your integrity while still sounding like a pro.

3. Do I know my superpowers, and have I sprinkled them into into my copy?

We all have some superpowers, but it can be hard to know how to incorporate them into our copy without sounding full of ourselves.

First things first: it’s always better to show your skills and valuable traits—your sense of humour, your thoughtfulness, your ability to think on your toes—instead of publishing a laundry list of of great qualities. You can do this in writing, through storytelling and examples, but you can also record a short video, send audio notes to your mailing list, or host a webinar.

At the same time, it’s a good idea to get clear on a few key traits that people would be happy to hear about, and add them into your copy in a fun and self-deprecating way. You can also try paraphrasing other people.

Here are three sentence starters for you to play around with:

“People often tell me I’m…”
“My clients always thank me for…”
“I’ve been known to…”

Remember: confident copy sells

Confidence is often the difference between copy that attracts clients and copy that doesn’t. And although real confidence can take some time to build, you can leapfrog over the awkwardness and make yourself sound as amazing as you are.

I’d love to hear from you. What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to writing about yourself and your business?

Nicole Baute Nicole Baute is a writing coach and story strategist for coaches, consultants and health and wellness professionals. A writer, editor and teacher, she has a master’s degree in journalism and was once a reporter at Canada’s largest daily newspaper. As a writing coach, Nicole helps her clients become more confident writers and grow their businesses by getting clear on what makes their messages unique and creating helpful copy and content. She believes that being yourself—unabashedly—is the best way to stand out, online and in writing. You can learn more about Nicole and download some free writing resources at

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • ishmael A Junourgh

    nicole, this is awesome!

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