Don’t worry about your writing? Really? That’s probably the last thing you’d expect a professional copywriter to say!
But even I have to admit there’s something much more important than “good copy.” And without it, even the best copy in the world wouldn’t make a bit of difference to your business.
So what’s more important than writing good copy?
Now if this has you a little confused, stick with me. Because by the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll know the difference between copy and messaging. You’ll also know why messaging is more important. And you’ll know how to make sure you have the right messaging.
So let’s start by getting clear on the difference between messaging and copy ...
Simply put, messaging is about what you say ... and copy is about how you say it.
Now ideally, you’ll have both of them dialed in. Because even though your messaging is more important, how you say things does matter. It can make a big difference in whether people will engage with you.
But copy really only matters if people are interested in your messaging in the first place.
Think of it this way … You may remember what it was like to tune into a radio station before everything went digital. When you were tuned in and the signal was good, it sounded great! But if you turned the dial a little to either side, it would start to sound crackly. Or it would get crackly if you were driving near the outer edge of the transmission signal.
Well I remember times when I was so interested in what I was listening to that I’d just deal with the crackle, and even the static. It didn’t matter that there were other stations that I could listen to clearly because I wasn’t interested in what they were saying.
It’s the same with your copy. People are more willing to make their way through crackly, mediocre copy if the messaging is good.
That comes down to your perfect client. And there can be important nuances when it comes to what they will think is good messaging.
For example, when I was commuting 3 hours a day to my corporate job, being a “smart grocery shopper” meant going to Stop & Shop. It was the closest store and my main concern was time.
But as soon as I stopped commuting, being a “smart grocery shopper” to me meant shopping at Whole Foods, which was farther away. I cared more about having a wider selection of healthy foods to choose from and was willing to drive more to get there.
So the messaging you use has to match what your perfect client cares about.
You need to spend a little time listening to your perfect client. And it’s easy to do if you’ve decided what problem you want to become the expert at solving. Because once you know the problem, you know where to go to listen to your perfect client. Here are a few ideas:
Go to forums where you can find out what they’re talking about. Use Facebook pages and groups to hear their concerns. And check Amazon for any books on the topic. Then read the reviews.
You’re looking for 2 things when you do this. First, you want to identify patterns. What types of things come up over and over again? Second, you want to find the specific words they use to talk about the problem.
And please, don’t think you already know. You simply can’t trust that you do.
This happens no matter what the subject is. As soon as you learn something, it’s very easy to forget what it was like not knowing it. And you start to talk about it differently.
You’ll use different words to describe it … even fancy words or words only people “on the inside” know. And when you do that, it starts sounding like crackly radio static.
So spending time researching how your perfect client talks about the problem will help you fine-tune both your messaging and your copy. It will make you a better writer, and your writing will do a much better job resonating with your perfect client.