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  • Writer's pictureSarah Turnbull

Things I've Learned Since Becoming a Copywriter, part 1.

So, some of these things may be really obvious, but these are the types of problems I encountered while running a business in the past. I never thought about them at the time! I think about the things that I wish I knew back then and how I would write copy differently now that I’ve trained as a copywriter and launched my business.

Benefits, benefits, benefits!

Yes, features are important, but it’s benefits that sell. Clients tend to focus on features (I know I did while writing brochures and product descriptions), but it’s benefits that convert browsers into buyers.

Tell them how the product or service is going to make their life better, happier, richer or more fulfilled. Tell them, if they buy these jeans how they’re going to make them look slimmer and give them more confidence – that’s much more compelling than saying they’ve got detailed stitching, available in 4 colours and they have a button fly! (I mean, do jeans still have button flies?)

About pages should be written about the target audience, not the company!

Okay, so you might want to add a little bit of detail about the company and what it stands for, but add this at the bottom. Flip your About page on its head and write about the target audience.

Use the About page as another selling page. My often-repeated quote is that no browser is bothered whether you have 2 kids, a dog and a guinea pig. No! They want to hear about what you can do for them and about how they will benefit from interacting with you.

Let them know you understand their problems and needs. Tell them how your product or service can fix those problems or fulfill those needs. Talk about THEM! Everyone’s favourite topic, pretty much, is themselves. Be different, don’t talk about you, talk about how you will help them. Your readers/browsers will love it and it demonstrates who the most important person is to you. It’s them, the customer!

Think about your target audience…

Before I start writing, I think about the target audience. How old are they? What sex are they? Do they have kids? Are they homeowners? How much money do they have? What are their values?

Once I’ve done this, I think about a persona. A persona is drilling down to a specific person in your target audience. I visualise them, I give them a name (if it’s a male, the name is ALWAYS Bob, for some weird reason), and I think about the problems they’re facing. I put myself into that persona and think about all the things old Bobbie-boy is looking for when he comes to my website or reads my brochure. So, what is he looking for? I write the list of all his problems and what he needs from the client.

When talking to friends, I randomly throw in questions. If they were Bob and they were a business owner with 20 staff and needed HR help, what would their most important priority be? And what about Bob, who's owed money from a customer that has cashflow problems and refuses to pay so Bob needs help from a debt collector. What’s the most important attribute Bob would be looking for from that service provider?

When I start writing, I write in response to that list of problems or attributes he’d be looking for. Whilst I’ve only thought about one person, the writing will appeal to a much broader cross-section of the population than business owners called Bob. Honestly.

People trust people.

Social-proofing works. People trust people. Yes, you can tell all your prospective clients about how you can help them and the benefits of working with or buying from you. And yes, that’s critical.

But when an existing client says the same thing, it’s even more powerful. Make sure you add social proofing to your website or client testimonials to your brochures, adverts or written materials.

If you’re adding them to your website, scatter them across several pages on your site, not on a dedicated ‘testimonials’ page. Browsers won’t often go looking specifically for testimonials, but if they’re scattered through your website on several pages, they’ll stumble across them. These testimonials will reinforce what you’re saying and give credibility to you and your business.

Keep copy concise.

So, you go to a website and you see paragraph upon paragraph upon paragraph of blurb. Be honest, what do you do? You might read the first couple of paragraphs but somewhere around paragraph three or four you start scrolling. Yep, your customers will too!

If you can say something in 300 words, don’t use a thousand. Seriously! This ain’t 2008 where everyone was convinced they had to PACK copy with keywords. The 2020s are about the user experience and giving them insightful, useful and relevant information. Google rewards this. Not only that, but packing your copy with too many keywords leads to ‘keyword cannibalisation’ where they work against one another! Keep it relatively short, informative and packed with benefits.

Like what you've read? Follow @captivatingcopybysarah on Instagram or connect with me on LinkedIn

If you'd like to chat about how I can help transform your business copy and help you make more money, contact me We can set up a short, informal call to talk about how I can help.



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