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But I Don’t Wanna Write Copy!

I_dont_wanna_write_copyOkay. I get it. Not everybody enjoys writing. In fact, many would rather get a hot poker in the eye. Still, as a solo professional, you need to at least be able to separate poor copy from good copy. (And good copy from great copy.)

When you can identify powerful copy you get your message NOTICED, READ and RESPONDED TO. Whether you write the check for a copywriter, pass it off to someone on your staff or do it yourself – you need to be able to look at your copy from an expert angle and evaluate it to see if it’s doing the job, which is bring more dollars into your business.

For example: Is it in the right voice? Does it represent your company? Your product? Your branding? Most of all, WILL IT GET READ? If it won’t, the rest of your marketing doesn’t matter. They won’t get beyond the headline.

The good news is writing copy isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s a pretty simple process. Copywriting gives smart business people like you an edge over every person in your industry who undervalues this skill.  I promise. Here’s why you really do need to know how to write your own copy…

Reason #1: Copy is the only known “magic bullet” for making more money.

One of my colleagues wrote some copy for the Learning Annex. It must have been underwhelming because there was a very low turnout for the training. Then she revamped it, using more specifics and benefits. Turnout jumped to four times the attendees the previous copy pulled. There is no skill more directly responsible for pulling money into your business than copy.

Reason #2: You know your business better than anyone. Your business is the direct result of a dream. YOUR dream. And no one understands why your business exists or who it is meant to serve better than you. That means there is nobody better to write your marketing message than the creator – YOU! Sure, you could educate someone else about your business. But the truth is he or she will NEVER know as many details as you, the owner.

Reason #3: Not knowing how to write copy sacrifices speed to market. Face it. Whenever you get a good marketing idea, you need copy by default. So if you need to wait for someone else to craft copy for your every brainstorm, you can look forward to your competition jumping on the business.

Reason #4: To be more successful, your business must evolve over time. You don’t think the way your business looks today is going to resemble what it ends up looking like 5 years down the road do you? Of course not. You’ll grow and expand over time.

Reason #5: Copywriting is the MOST EXPENSIVE skill to outsource. Copywriters get paid the equivalent of the down payment to a house or a new car for every project. That’s right. You can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000 – $15,000 for something as commonplace as a sales letter. And it will be worth it because of the return on investment. But can’t you think of other ways to invest that money? Sure you can.

The bottom line is you don’t plan to stagnate, right? Your business will change and grow over time. That means your copy will change too. The core copy can stay the same, but the subtleties need to evolve just like your business is. It all points back to you knowing how to write attention-grabbing, relevant content that will actually get read. Business is moving at the speed of light. Be prepared to keep up by sharpening your copywriting skills.

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  1. Lorrie, are you crazy — telling clients why they should write their own copy and how lucrative and easy it would be to do so?

    Are you trying to put yourself and your fellow copywriters like me out of business?

    Seriously, you make some great points every business owner should be aware of in relation to writing copy. And every business owner should indeed at least try their hand at writing copy — if for no other reason than to better understand what we do and how to help us do it better for them.

    And who knows — with some good instruction they might well become good at it and save themselves a bundle.

    David Deutsch

    • You’re too funny, David. I know, I know. I might be threatening our jobs by encouraging business owners to write their own copy. But the funny thing is I really believe everyone has their own unique message and their own style. In a world where we can make our TV shows and run businesses off our cell phones, it’s kinda important to be able to express yourself well too. :o)

  2. Amanda

    ugh, I hate writing copy, but I know it’s a necessary evil and without good copy, my site is doomed (ok, so that’s a bit of an overstatement…but not by much). Your “Conscious Copywriting Formula” has been invaluable to me! I need to be reminded periodically about how important good copy is and this article did just that. Thanks for the kick in the pants I need to get started again.

  3. Writing copy can be a drag, no doubt. It takes time and attention to do it well. BUT, as a small business owner, it is THE skill that I’ve learned that sets me apart from my competitors.

    Emotional connection with my subscribers and my customers is essential for success in today’s marketplace. Good writing, the best practices for solid copy writing, make that emotional resonance possible – week after week, month after month.

    Building on that constant connection and resonance primes the pump for consistent sales to my customers.

    Good copy writing is the best investment I’ve made in my own business success. Lorrie is right on with her reasons why we all need to learn good copy writing…

    Alan Davidson

    • BINGO, Alan! I love that you said this, “Good writing, the best practices for solid copy writing, make that emotional resonance possible – week after week, month after month.

      Building on that constant connection and resonance primes the pump for consistent sales to my customers.”

      Oh and I’ll see you at Ted McGrath’s event August 7th. Can’t wait to hang out with you again. Muah!

  4. Lorrie is completely right. I have many examples that prove what Lorrie says is true, from my own clientele and friends.

    The best example I can give is larger than life! It involves an old friend (and client) of mine who writes her own copy, and who, before that, was the first woman president of the National Speakers Association (that was 29 years ago!).

    I had dinner with this extraordinary speaker last week. She reported to me that a strategy I had suggested to her several years ago had worked out far beyond her wildest dreams. She executed the strategy exactly as I had spelled it out (it involved writing a short piece of copy and a longer piece of copy).

    The copy she wrote directly resulted in a world-wide speaking contract for her company. The contract was so big she had to hire one woman and two men to help her complete it.

    She says this contract was the largest of her career — and it never would have happened without what she learned in the way of copywriting.

    That is why you must learn copywriting, and listen carefully to what Lorrie has to tell you. She is a great teacher of copywriting herself and what she has to tell you can make an impressive difference in your business.

    • Thanks for the story and the compliments, David. *blushing*

      It still amazes me how it takes some business owners so long to figure out that if your copy is off, your business will be too. The faster people learn some form of (any form of) writing copy, the faster their businesses will start to skyrocket. From one incredible copywriter/coach to another, thanks for your support!

  5. Lorrie…Thanks for this article. Great insight. This article should serve to inspire people to realize how important copywriting is. Thanks so much…you are awesome.

  6. I’ve had the opportunity to write million dollar copy for a lot of entrepreneurs over the last 8 years. And to me, it was funny that most of the successful ones, men and women with multi-million dollar businesses, had written a lot of their copy when they were getting started. I could see that it gave their businesses a boost… because they were very clear how to sell their products and services.

    As their businesses grew and they outsourced their copy, they found it much easier to find the right copywriters who could magnify their message even more. Why? Because they knew good copy from bad… and could tell if a copywriters “voice” was a good fit.

    That’s why copy is an essential skill for ANY entrepreneur. And Lorrie is great at teaching it. I’ve seen her in action and she has a great way of making copy very simple to understand.

    • Exactly, Mike…business owners who take the time to understand how copy is created and can serve them will make massive leaps ahead over business owners who don’t. It’s just a crucial education to have whether you ultimately hire a copywriter or do some of it yourself. Great comments!

  7. Lorrie… you couldn’t be more right. Every biz owner must gain at least a working knowledge of what goes into effective sales copy.

    Unfortunately it remains the single most overlooked component of success for any small business.

    You really hit it on the head with Reason #2. I feel more empowered when I teach a business owner to write copy than I do writing it for them. Like you said, there is no one more qualified, if they are armed with a solid formula and a little patience.

    Great article, Lo!


  8. I love the way Lorrie teaches folks how to take the “icky” out of effective salesmanship in print.

    Nobody likes a sleazy car salesman that reeks of cheap cologne tries to tie you down at every opportunity.

    But if you’re lucky, sometimes you find yourself in the hands of someone who quickly earns your trust and shepherds you through the buying process in a way that makes you GLAD they got their commission.

    That’s the kind of copy Lorrie helps people write.

  9. Lo — great stuff.

    Most business people are so tied-up in the nuts and bolts of their business — creating product, customer service concerns, accounting, human resources — that the most important part of their operation is overlooked…

    … making the money to pay for it all.

    Sales the most critical aspect of any private business, and (as you correctly pointed out), good sales copy/sales pitch is what makes the difference.

    Fantastic advice Lo… thanks for the reminder.

    –Jimmy Curley

    • I know, right? It’s like the last place business owners tend to look at when their biz model isn’t profitable is the copy. Silly rabbits! That’s where the gold is! Thanks for the support, Jimbo!

  10. Hey, Lo, nice stuff. Reminds me of the Tom Hanks quote in “League Of Their Own” that baseball is supposed to be hard — if it wasn’t, then everyone would be a pro. Our fascination with experts and masters at any craft can blind us to how we don’t NEED to be experts to get the basic job done. By all means, hire a pro writer when writing that check no longer makes your hand shake — when the money is pouring in, and you’re in the big leagues, bring in the ringer. It’ll pay off.

    But until then, consider your ad writing like playing softball in the local league. You don’t need to be killer-good — just good enough to play the game at a basic level. Have that written (or videotaped) conversation with your prospect that is precisely what you’d say to him in person… just cover fundamental salesmanship points, and ask for a sale, and be polite and try to be persuasive while you’re obliterating his objections one-by-one…

    … and just doing that, just communicating with your prospect, can transform the effectiveness of your ads.

    It doesn’t have to hurt. Doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. Doesn’t have to be a hassle at all (especially when you’ve got a network connection with a pro like Lo). It can be a simple as writing a diary entry, edited a bit harsher, and tweaked to make sure you ask for action.

    Your fear isn’t justified at all. Pro’s like Lo and me have been pushing rookie entrepreneurs and small biz owners off the cliff regularly for decades now, forcing them to write or sink, and it’s gone just fine… most of the time, anyway…

    • John, you put it so simply. Let the fear of not being “good enough” for the big leagues go. Just cover the basics, and punch it up a little to make sure there’s a call to action. Easy peasy!

      And thank you for commenting. You’ve always been the mentor I learned the most from and enjoyed the most. It’s like having copywriting royalty drop by!


  11. Cathy Moody

    Often writing sales copy is a real mind drainer for me to just get out a few words.

    Just when I think it is hopeless Lorrie has the solutions. She makes the process so simple and less intimidating.

    Lorrie’s systems always work and if you apply them you will see your sales grow before your very eyes.

  12. Lorrie,

    I LOVE this article! It is so true. I am so grateful to you that when I met you 10 years ago that you shared this very thing with me and it was some of the best business advice I have ever received and I pass it on all the time to my clients.

    By the way, I am in love with your new Conscious Copywriting Course! It is absolutely right on target! Keep the good info coming!

  13. I feel like the little baby in the picture. I do not like writing copy but it has to be done and I have to learn how to do it right. Thanks for the tips.

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