You only have so much energy. You’re already pouring your heart into your freelance business. Trying to pour your soul into writing your copy is, well, tough.
Good copywriting is easy to spot but it’s insanely difficult to create. It takes thought, practice, and a single method to make your potential customers fall in love with your brand and hire you.
The Method: Breaking Expectations
Surprise! People actually love surprises.
Are you shaking your head thinking, “no, I hate being surprised!” Neuroscientists proved you wrong in a recent study.
Researchers squirted fruit juice or water into the mouths of participants. They used patterns that were predictable and unpredictable, watching how the brain reacted to each one using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scans during the activity.
The result? Pleasure centers lit up when the patterns of juice vs. water were unpredictable.
People find unexpected pleasure in getting a surprise. In your writing, you can trigger that same type of surprise element by shocking your reader with something extraordinary. Do something others in your industry haven’t done before. Mix up how you sell your products so you stand out from the sea of other freelancers. Make your writing unique.
Here are three ways you can take a break from the ordinary and write in a way that makes your reader excited to browse your sales pages.
1. Avoid Cliches
Want your writing to land you an ace in the hole? Don’t air your dirty laundry or your reader will get bent out of shape. Not all that glitters is gold. At the drop of a hat, you’ll confuse your reader and make your writing sound canned instead of creative.
Cliches are phrases your readers gloss over. They’re overused, trite and lack oomph.
The more you use these in your writing, the less your reader will resonate with you.
But be careful. Cliches are easy to sneak in. We’re so used to hearing these phrases that soon they become a pattern of speech for us. In your copy editing process, take note of any cliches you used to sell your product. Then, break the expectation (see rule #1) by turning the cliche on its nose. Switch it up or rephrase a common cliche to keep it surprising. This keeps your reader’s intrigue.
2. Banish Jargon
Perhaps nothing confuses readers more than jargon loaded copy.
Many freelancers sprinkle in jargon to make their brand seem more authoritative. This strategy backfires every time.
When someone lands on your website, the only question going through his mind is, “What’s in it for me?” If they cannot answer that question clearly, without engaging you (and they won’t engage you), you’ve lost a potential client.
Banish all jargon from your website and get crystal clear in your writing. Make it easy for your audience to understand what you do. No one cares about UX and parallax coding. They care about their website looking incredible, running quickly, and bringing them business.
3. Find Your Voice
This is probably the toughest thing to do. Finding your writing voice might not seem difficult on the surface but sit down in front of a blank page on a computer screen and feel how intimidating that flashing cursor is while you try to pull out your unique voice.
It’s something every writer struggles with – even the greats.
There are two rules I use to help pull out my voice when writing.
Write a letter to your best friend, not a sales page. The more you can make your writing feel like you’re talking to your best friend across the table, the more authentic it’ll sound. Plus, it’ll make writing much easier. You can edit later. For now, let the thoughts spill on the screen in a conversation between you and your bestie.
Find your fight. What do you believe in? What gets you fired up? Start talking about these hot button issues and your true voice will bubble to the surface.
4. Embrace the Unexpected … With Balance
All this focus on shattering expectations is bound to get you off course. Too often, clever copywriting goes awry. Advertisers and marketers try too hard to make things funny or humorous. The end result is a message that falls on deaf ears.
The key to stellar copywriting is to balance clear vs. clever.
Clarity in copy is vital. If a person doesn’t know what you’re selling or what he’s buying, he won’t whip out his wallet for you. People like structure and order. It makes them feel safe. A customer must know what happens after he hits the buy button is vital.
Still, clarity can bore readers. Getting too clear in your copy will cause you to blend in with the crowd of other freelancers. You’re swimming in a sea of sameness and it’s time to get to dry land.
To balance clarity with clever writing, think about your overall brand. What message do you want to send to your audience? What do you stand for? What do your customers stand for?
REI did this well recently with their announcement that they’d be closed on Black Friday. Instead of saying “We will be closed on Friday” they said “REI stores are closing on Black Friday. The outdoors, and the website, are always open. #optoutside” This message falls directly in line with the REI brand, is clear in its purpose, but is still entertaining to read.
The number one way to wow your readers with your copy is to balance the unexpected with a clear structure and order. Nurture your customer through the buying experience with continual small, sometimes subtle, surprises. The more you keep your reader leaning forward in his chair with excitement for what’s next…
… the more people will start to fall in head over fist for you.