October 30, 2019
Nobody told you when you started your business, you’d not only have to be a crazy-awesome photographer, designer, wedding planner, course creator, coach, (insert the passion your business was built on here)…
… but you’d also have to be your own accountant, Instagram model, clean up crew, tech guru, and – you guessed it – COPYWRITER.
I’m sure when you went to write words for your first website, it seemed like it ain’t no thang, until you opened up that blank page and thought:
Then, you quickly close the tab – or just slap something sub-par up and never speak of The Document That Shall Not Be Named ever again.
Honestly, I get it. The point of owning a business is not to dive straight back into something you hate, right? It’s to do what you love every single day.
Here’s the thing: Crafting KILLER copy can help you do more of that thing you love every day – and it can help you attract the kind of people who actually make it feel like a total dream, too.
The kicker is in how you approach it. So, let’s go back in time a bit for context, and then we’ll get into the good stuff – the proven process for how to write anything and everything for your business. Cool?
First, let’s think back to lunch boxes and recess and backpacks that were bigger than we were – packed with Lisa Frank, of course.
Whether it was during your formative elementary years or awkward junior high, I’m sure you’ve heard of the 5 paragraph essay in your lifetime, right?
It’s the SUPER BASIC, but quintessential structure we were taught to frame our writing – since birth. (At least it seems that way.)
As a teacher, it was the bane of my existence because it was the only thing that stuck when it comes to writing skill.
My high school seniors didn’t know how to write solid, compelling sentences.
They didn’t know how to develop their own ideas.
They just knew they needed 5 sets of words with a period at the end to make a paragraph; 5 paragraphs in an essay – DONE. Give me an A, please?
So, naturally, I felt the same deep loathing for templates when it came to writing website copy in the online world.
I’ve seen countless industry friends purchase a gorgeous website template, only to take a fill-in-the-blank approach (or a squish-my-life-story-in-the-blank approach) with their website words.
Sure, it got them to the “finish line” and into launch mode, but the cookie-cutter words slapped up in an afternoon were FILLING SPACE instead of FILLING THEIR POCKETS.
But, I knew there had to be a way to walk my people through this process SIMPLY, so The Promptlates were born.
But, you’ve heard that story.
Today, in this mega-post, we’re focusing on getting you to take ACTION. I’m walking you through the essential process to writing any and every page for your website, marketing email, sales page for your business.
PLUS, I’m giving you a glimpse into the magic (and science) behind The Promptlates – my D.I.Y. Copy Solution – and a little sneak peek into a mini one you can try out yourself!
If you’re trying to write copy off the top of your head, you’re doing it wrong. I say that with so much love, because I want you to know there’s a BETTER way!
Trust me, pro copywriters spend the bulk of the writing process gathering instead of simply creating. When you’re ready to write something, spend time on a braindump.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Start there, and get it all in one document that you can pull from, trace themes, etc.
This is also the stage when you conduct any customer/client research, like interviews, surveys, forum searches, etc.
Whatever you gather, dump it all in a place that’s easy to find for this project, or for your business as a whole.
Do you know if your copy is actually working?
Remember: It’s hard for us to expect the action we want our readers to take to be CLEAR if we’re not even clear on what we want them to do.
When setting a goal, be sure an action word is included.
Bad example: My reader will know who I am/know what I offer.
“Knowing” is not really a metric we can track.
Good example: My reader will sign up for my email list.
We can track sign ups. It’s an action. That’s the start to a good goal.
Round out your goal setting by thinking through what your reader needs to think or feel in order to take that action. What mindset shifts need to happen? Do you need to address any objections?
Repeat after me: I will not write my copy in one sitting.
I know, you’re having flashbacks again to high school. I was an English teacher, and I ONLY ever wrote first drafts. BUT, my writing assignments until I was a copywriter were A LOT less tied to revenue.
Copy is not a task to complete so you can check the box for words on the page.
Copy can CHANGE THE GAME for your business. Think: More sales, better clients, forever-loyal fans.
I suggest you start any draft with a “what-to-say” outline. All you have to do is bullet-point out the information you need to include in your message.
For example: Let’s say you’re writing an email to sell mini sessions.
After you write your outline, step away. If it’s a small writing project, 30 minutes or an hour is fine. If it’s something like a sales page, or a whole page of copy, give it a day or so.
When you return to your outline, it’s time to use your braindump information to bring those bullet points to life.
Tip: Start with the MOST important pieces first. Headlines, value + benefit statements, telling them what they’re actually signing up for is the most important. Then, go back and fill in story and body copy to add dimension and reinforce those super-important headlines.
Rule of thumb: Make sure every piece of headline copy (larger font) is a statement that has value on its own.
In other words, ask yourself, “If my reader ONLY read the headlines, would they understand the value I provide?”
Similarly, for headlines, if you have trouble reading it in a breath or two, it’s too long. Read it out loud, and make sure you’re not stumbling over words.
For body copy, keep paragraphs to 2-3 sentences, MAX. Like I said before, this isn’t your high school 5-paragraph essay. Your “grade” is determined on whether your readers understand, feel something, and then take action because of it. That can’t happen if all your stellar copy is hiding in a newspaper-style chunk of tiny text.
Now that you know the process to write any and every piece of copy you would need for your business, let’s dive into the solution I created for you – so you don’t have to do it alone!
Each and every Promptlate starts out with context to set the stage. I walk you through why that particular page is important, and what is difficult about it. Like, how the home page has ONE JOB – but it usually tries to do about 73 jobs. Like, how the about page should actually be working toward converting, just as much as other pages.
It might seem like – duh, these pages are important. Why else would we spend time writing them?! But as with many other things in business, copywriting is often a task we know we should do, but we’re not really sure the point.
Spoiler: The point is never just to fill space with words – and this lesson at the beginning of each Promptlate will hopefully light a fire under your booty to give that copy a makeover, not because everyone’s doing it, but because it’ll change your business.
What is the objective?!
The actual writing process is more an act of noticing and assembling from what you’ve gathered than actually creating something brand new.
So, how can you assemble if your brain is filtering everything out before it has a chance to shine?
Creating and editing actually occur in two completely different parts of your brain function. You cannot physiologically write and edit at the same time.
This is where the magic of the prompts come in. The Promptlates each have prompts, specific to the page you’re writing, to help you get all of those ideas out of your head. They’ll even help you extract ideas you never knew were there in the first place.
The Prompts are the very first step in the process, before you’re ever thinking about how the words will appear on the page. This allows you to collect a body of information – there for you to trace common threads and themes, include or eliminate as you move along in the process.
Promptlate Shop students rave about the fact that The Prompts remind them of the very foundation of their business.
And we haven’t even put any copy on the page, yet!
When I first created this DIY copy solution, I thought, “There’s really no way I can just tell them how to do this. Some things just need to be shown.”
But as I moved along in the process, I remembered how reassuring it can be to have an actual voice guiding you through the difficult and tedious pieces of the process.
It’s also impossible to convey my level of NO CHILL about things that really matter in your business unless you hear my voice.
Each Promptlate contains video mini-lessons relevant to that page, and the content that goes into totally nailing it.
Some of the videos mini-lessons include:
Real Talk Question: Is your copy working?
If you can’t answer that question, here are a few things for you to think through:
Copywriting Lesson #1: The goal of copy is not to provide information, but to move the right people to action.
It’s impossible to know if your copy is working if you don’t know what that action is.
Now, a page goal doesn’t always need to be an inquiry or sale. Of course, that’s always the ultimate goal, and we want all of our copy to move readers toward that decision. But, we know that not all visitors are ready to buy from our Home Page.
So, in each Promptlate – before you start crafting copy using our templates – we set your page goal.
For your Home Page, where do you want to send your readers next?
For your About Page, if they’re diggin’ your story, what’s their next step?
And, as a best practice, for every single blog post, email marketing broadcast, Instagram caption – think, What do I want my reader to do?
Once you have your page goal, it’s time to choose a template.
Now that you have your braindump of information, you understand your visitors and the goal of your page, it’s time to write some killer copy and lay it out on the page.
Remember that personal vendetta I have against templates?
The Promptlates have a choice of templates. In each one, I’ll walk you through: Choose this template if…
Choosing a template based on your goals – or piecing them together to make your own – means no single Promptlate Shop Student will come out of the process with cookie-cutter copy.
The Templates help answer those burning questions:
These templates are reverse-engineered from my one-on-one copy experience, and utilize formulas and structures that I’ve employed to sling words for my 6 and 7-figure business-owning copy clients, daily.
OH, and they’re NOWHERE near the $5k starting project price.
Say “goodbye” to gathering information only to be just as stumped as when you started.
The Promptlates will get you past that dreaded blinking cursor – all the way to a copy makeover that connects and converts your dream clients and customers on auto.
It’s the very first solution of its kind to help you take #alltheideas inside your head and turn them into website copy that connects, converts, and doesn’t sound like literally everyone else’s.
You’ve gotta capture, connect, and convert—FAST. No big deal, right?
SHOP THE PROMPTLATES
Introducing: The Promptlate Shop
Thank you so much for this post! I’m gathering ideas now 😊