- Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Creative Exercise for Writing Good Copy that Sells without being Salesy

With this exercise, you'll have lots of ideas for a concept strategy for your content, whether it's overall branding or trying to come up with metaphors to use in your blog post or sales copy.

A Creative Exercise for Writing Good Copy that Sells without being Salesy: Write Good Sales Copy ♥ Get to know your customers day ♥ Sales Copywriting... on BloggingLearn.com

The top recommendations experts tell you to write copy that sells is to use vivid words to...

  • Describe how awesome it would be to use your product. 
  • Focus on the solution your product offers. 
  • Provide analogies. 
  • Tell a story.
While you're doing that, you also want to...

Goals in Writing Good Sales Copy

1. Tell a damn good story
2. Make people feel like they really want your product
3. Draw people in
4. Be original, less cliche, less salesy

I can be a pretty original writer often accused of being strange and random. Some people want to be more like that, so today I'm going to focus on an exercise I frequently do to help me find the creativeness within.

Warning: I'm just going to tell you from experience that people don't like "original" as much as what I call "cookie cutter" wording. They prefer cliches because they have a trust and comfort zone with them. When you veer too far from that, you make people less comfortable, and you consume more of their energy to read you. So use these concepts sparingly. Fill in original ideas with cliche. Try to blend in with the rest of the internet as much as possible.

The Goal of this Creative Exercise  

The overall goal is to get to know your readers via empathy, and to find methods that intentionally invoke emotions to build a more intimate relationship with your readers or customers.

It's like a 17 year old knows her mom works hard to raise her, but she doesn't understand at all, not one iota, until she is older and has her own kids and is calling her mom up at midnight with a crying baby going, "Thank you."

I always personally struggled making this kind of connection, so I purposefully work on improving my game. Why? Because I see how other people have made this kind of connection as writers, and business owners, and it's like the thing the people who go viral seems to have that everyone else doesn't. They know their people on an intimate level.

Most people operate from an emotional aspect, they act on feelings, even someone like me who is pretty emotionally numb and kind of robotic with my thinking will act on an emotion. So it's really just a matter of learning how to play with people's emotions. I'm seriously constantly studying sociopaths like they are creatures on National Geographic for this reason. It's not my forte to appeal to emotions. I've always been a person who appeals to intellect. But if you can make people feel, you will reach people on a level intellectualism can't. You can communicate well with all cultures, all genders, all age groups, all levels of IQ...

Like if your words can get brains to build some dopamine, then you got it figured out. That's not a bad goal to aim for as a writer.

The Creative Exercise Steps

1. Ask yourself some key questions
2. Explore the thoughts by writing out answers
3. Go back and dig for gold

But as you go through these steps, you want to make a conscious effort to dig for some gold. Like when you are literally digging for gold, you blindly dig into the dirt and then see if there's gold there, but the entire time you are doing it, you are trying to find the gold. It's the same concept here.

Think of imagery that utilizes the most senses of your 5 senses as possible. In the world of writers, we are told not to tell you what happened, but to show you. Instead of saying, "It was night," we are to describe a setting so you can feel that it's night time, such as, "the light on the lamp post turns on, and the siren sounds for children's curfew. A cool, crisp breeze wraps around me, and I can't wait to snuggle into my soft, fuzzy blanket and read a book next to the fire place."

So let's do it. 

So Sally is sick of using cliches and wanted ideas to hone into a more original concept. For instance, "Work from Anywhere," is kind of old to her. She wants a fresher idea to focus on...

Work from anywhere. And implied, Be Your Own Boss. 

Most of the questions I list here are standard questions I ask myself when I'm brainstorming for anything related to sales copy such as defining my brand, defining my business, coming up with a marketing plan, writing content, etc. But, I also use a lot of these questions when developing characters for fiction and all of my writing where I'm trying to figure out what I'm really trying to say or a creative way to say it.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What does that feel like? 
  2. What kind of stock photos would you use to describe that feeling? 
  3. What nouns are there? 
  4. What verbs are there? 
  5. What does it smell like? 
  6. What would it taste like if it were a food? 
  7. What food would it be? 
  8. What sounds would you hear in those scenarios? 
  9. What sounds make you feel that feeling? 
  10. What touch sensations makes you feel that feeling?

You can also add questions, like I sort of did in my example below. It changes based on my brain at the day, but you can ask yourself any kind of prompt to get to know your client better, to empathize more realistically, and to get into their psychological motivations.

So like with your clients, there's a before picture and an after picture. Or a before character and an after character. The before symbolizes the problems they face. The after is the person they become after resolving their problems. So you blog about "How to take amazing photographs," the before is an ugly photograph nobody wants to see on Pinterest, and the after is a person who is getting more traffic from Pinterest. You really want to focus on the after character because that's the aspiration, not to mention psychologists say the important thing is to focus on the solution. It's more positive.

Your client's AFTER character, what Disney Princess would they be? What superhero would they be? What fictional characters would they be? Why? What Bumper Sticker would they buy for their car? What are qualities they identify with? How do they want people to see them?

Other questions you can ask is what does this really mean? What are people really after? What would they brag about after doing this or reading this?

Now start to answer question 1, type it or write it out somewhere, and let your streams of consciousness flow. When you get to a dead end in your stream, move on to the next question. It's ok if you break to google something. The point is to let your brain explore these ideas. Go into weird places. If it's dumb, that's ok you can ignore it later, just spew your brain onto the page.

And keep that conscious effort to find the gold

1. Imagery
2. A story
3. Nouns and Verbs
4. Colors
5. Expressions

And you find it when you explore...

1. Motivations
2. Metaphors
3. Dream like symbols
4. Personality traits
5. Adjectives and Adverbs

So Work from Anywhere. 

To me... It feels like freedom. Like I can finally breathe. Fresh air. Even if it's in my stinky house. Like an open window. More opportunities. I envision a woman standing in a field of yellow flowers with her arms out wide open, or a young hipster male in skinny jeans standing on top of a rock looking down on an ocean. Cliche but those are good feeling photos. While I envision yellow flowers, I think the color that makes people feel this feeling is Blue because blue skies, blue oceans, like blue is what we associate to airy feelings. It's airy. It's free spirit. It's your soul being able to fly. It's working at home with no pants. It's working from your car in the parking lot. To me, it's being able to smoke cigarettes while I work without having to take a break. But what other examples are there besides no pants? Like that's cliche now a days too? Just keep to questions and see if it flies out anywhere. The primary noun is YOU the customer, and so many things can be that YOU. If I were to write a fiction novel where my main character was someone who does work from home, he'd be more creative, less rigid with others, more spontaneous, like Steve Jobs or Tony Stark. In Alice in Wonderland, my character is the Cheshire Cat. Of the Disney Princesses, my character is Mulan or Moana because they were not confined to geographic location or rules. Superheroes.. I'm thinking kind of Catwoman. It's kind of rebellious to work from home when you think about it, but more like nerds skipping school to hit up the coffee house and do homework together because it's a beautiful snowy day with gargantuan snowflakes (so yeah that was me).It requires a certain amount of fearlessness and badassery. Courage. The verbs, these characters are breaking molds, breaking unwritten rules of society, doing things better than how they've always been done. They become guides to their new territories they found. Innovative. They work independently. Get more detailed verbs. Good verbs. Work and play become the same thing. Drinking lots of coffee. Or wine. Vodka and Juicy Juice for breakfast. (So that was me too at some point). Farting freely. Making doctor appointments anytime they want. Picking their kid up from school sick without getting a sick feeling to ask for permission. Taking sick days without getting "written up." No more getting "written up" for dumb things. Being late. Freedom to be late to work. Freedom to do a good job better than the next guy. Freedom to do it your way. It smells like fresh air. It tastes like cool mint. Peppermint Patty commercials. Coffee. Maybe more of a Cafe Mocha because you're free to chocolate anytime you want. Andes Mints. I also think of donuts, bagels, and breakfast as a food to describe this feeling, the early morning, the dawn of the day, the hope for a good day, the feelings of opportunities, excitement to do things you couldn't wait to do, you're not winding down at dusk, you're winding up to take on challenges and to conquer. So another stock photo, a woman in fuzzy slippers and a bathrobe leaning against sliding glass doors looking outside at a sunrise with a cup of coffee in her hand, and some essence of a fresh morning dew and foggy haze in the horizon. The sounds of these photographs is usually implied silence, the lack of the bustling noises of coworkers and office bull shit. But there's also freedom to blast music you're too embarrassed to claim you love like Madonna. Although I usually blast a gym workout like Rob Bailey and the Hustle Standard and 50 Cent. And it is a lot like going to the gym because it requires a certain amount of self-discipline to do. Pretty much all the gym terminology would be a great metaphor for this line of work. So thinking of Rachel Moolah's what is your clients Bumper Sticker? Like what bumper stickers would they buy for their car? The phrases for their locker? The identity they want to be? Let's google "gym motivation" and I get "Be your own hero... Excuses don't burn calories... Pain is temporary Pride is forever... Don't stop when you're tired, stop when you're done... Look in the mirror, that's your competition... Stop wishing, start doing... Be the girl who decided to go for it... If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you... Life begins at the end of your comfort zone... Never Skip Monday... Prove them wrong... Now touch sensations... working from home is like a breeze, like wind flowing through your hair, like driving with the windows down, AND I'm back to the open window. Like a stop looking out the window, open it and climb out.

So you have lots of ideas there, and you can find some gold among that rubble of thought.

1. Overall Angle. You now have some metaphors to work with and choose from. Like how every "guru" has their own thing that they incorporate in all their videos, their articles, their books and their answers. So here you have oodles of those to kind of build from, like you can focus on motivating people via working out the gym angle, or you can focus on the open window concept...

2. Tag line. You can kind of throw in a tag line slogan from these ideas, like fart freely or wear your bathrobe to work. I know someone who did that with working pantless. She doesn't bring it up all the time, but she does go to that enough that I imagine her face when I say pantless even though she kind of took that concept from the internet as a whole. It's a little different than the guru thing because this isn't a framework. It's just a personality blip of many that can define you or your brand.

3. Reword the phrase... Well you can't totally reword it where it hasn't already been done in a way that explains it, like you got work from home, work from anywhere, remote jobs, be your own boss, set your own hours, etc. But you can incorporate some concepts, like "Fart freely in your home office," or "Dare to do it your way from home," or "You're allowed to be late for work if you work for yourself." Every day is Casual Friday in my Office... but you can also bounce from other concept. My noun list is pretty weak, but there's personality traits... so Rebel the System, don't get a job create your job, break up with your boss... Some of us adapt from workplace structures, but some of us choose to evolve from it and create our own workplace structure starting from home. ... Build it from the ground up... You are a self-made individual... or Be Self-Made.

4. You also now have stock photo ideas, branding ideas, video ideas, stories to tell... like you can make a sales video of some Honor Students skipping class because it's snowing to go to a coffee house and do homework together saying they can't wait to graduate and have their own business so they can do this more often. You know a stock photo of an open window might be appealing for a book cover, a quote meme, or featured post image.

So if you really want to write good copy that sells, compelling sales copy, you really want to focus on knowing your customers intimately and getting to know what makes them tick. And then you want to convey those concepts as realistically as possible via stories, imagery, descriptive language, amazing nouns and verbs, things you could turn into a movie without much narrative. You are not selling a product, you are selling the after-character, the aspiration.

Nobody buys toothpaste just to brush their teeth with it. They buy whitening toothpaste to be beautiful and feel loved and admired. They buy clinical strength to keep their mouths healthy. They buy baking soda to be more naturalistic and homeopathic. We have lots of personalities and aspirations here. That's your end game, to get people to feel that your product will make them the person they want to be. And you can do this by showing them a mirror of that person without using an actual mirror. SHOW, not tell.