Once upon a time, I followed an amazing copywriter on social media. Based on the results she was sharing, she was great at her job and amassed a large following for it. I loved her spunk and her advice made sense, garnering my respect right away!
But eventually, l unsubscribed from her newsletters and social platforms without thinking twice about her level of expertise.
Why? I got tired of hearing about how formulae for copywriting success would rescue my business! Baby, six-figures aside, that’s not all there is to effectively sharing a story with your reader! Though punting a copywriting formula is nothing strange, it kinda grates my (cashew) nuts when it’s misconstrued as the single resource for positive copy results. Kind of like date night was sold to my husband and l as the ONE thing that would keep our marriage afloat.
It’s not unusual to receive a brief from a client when providing my services, but l always let out a naughty giggle when the brief is accompanied by (or made up of) a guru’s formula for copywriting success. Bruh!
A serious case of the giggles and genuine concern for your stories has encouraged me to compile a short list of reasons why that fab copywriting formula you found (or purchased) is not enough to communicate authentically with your online peeps, enjoy!
1. You don’t have enough information about yourself or your business.
I’m basically going to re-hash this point below but in more detail. In a nutshell, a formula is a method, procedure or rule by which a particular result can be achieved. Its result is the sum of what happens when you apply that method, procedure or rule. And like a recipe, if you miss a step, you aren’t likely to achieve the same result as the originator of that principle or formula. So instead of buying into that formula, which essentially, is the final step of putting everything together in the order of instruction, you really need to buy into each component of the formula first.
Now, usually, the steps which make up the copywriting formula you see advertised online as the best thing since tea-infused cake (make one here) are built on information about you and your business. Who are your clients? What are their frustrations? How do you solve them? Familiar, yeah? What the formula does is curate all that information into its most optimum format. Now, how do you propose we implement that formula without first being knowledgeable on its cornerstones? Granted, this is something you can work on with your copywriter, but unless you’re crystal clear on the nuts and bolts, it’s not going to be a smooth transition from formula to paper. Expect to be billed for lots of delicious research time, and prepare to answer many many critical questions about your business you should probably have covered at your own pace.
So, let’s take a look at the information l am talking about.
2. You don’t know your product or service.
If you know nothing at all, you should know what you’re selling and you should be able to describe the product, service or experience in detail, with very little effort and lots of passion. A copywriter can clean up those adjectives and work on grammar, but the fundamentals should flow out of your mouth with ease. Heard of an elevator pitch? That’s exactly what l’m talking about.
3. You don’t know your why.
Why do you sell a particular product, service or experience? It is said that people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it. This is all the juice that’s going to keep you motivated on the bad and busy days, and guess what, your ‘why statement’ makes for great copy too!
4. You don’t know your client.
Your ideal client is a blur. You know that she’s probably female, probably between the ages of 18 and 45, and probably lives in a large city like Johannesburg or New York. What you don’t know is whether she’s a working mom of one to three children who is exiting her twenties and purchasing her first home in a suburban area with good schools and a large yard for the family pup, Max. Because you don’t know her well, you struggle to talk to her. It’s like reaching out to a stranger on a train. Awkward.
5. You don’t know your voice.
Or you haven’t yet figured out how to express that voice online.
A client and I are constantly amazed at how accurately l am able to communicate on her social media channels in HER voice. And guess what? As much as it comes down to this being something l do really well, she makes my job effortless because SHE communicates clearly in her voice. Once you are consistent in your voice, it is fairly simple for the right copywriter to adapt to your style and create content appropriately. Similarly, if you know your vibe, you can attract your tribe when writing your own copy.
In my opinion, point two to five make up the meat of most copywriting formulae floating around the internet. And without spending time with yourself, your branding/biz coach or a copywriter, to figure out each step, your recipe just won’t yield those yummy sales. Does it mean the recipe is broken? Not really. It just means the recipe doesn’t work without the required ingredients.
My recommendation? Hire a copywriter who can work with the information you do have about you and your brand, while you work with a professional to source the best vanilla extract (story) and cocoa powder (voice) for the recipe (copywriting formula) you would like to try out in future. With the necessary prep time under your belt, even l am sure that a copywriting formula can work for you and your online biz!
Featured Image: Nappy