Let me ask you this: when you park in front of your laptop and open up a Google Doc to finally start writing your website copy, are you guilty of opening up your favorite influencer’s websites and imitating them? Is it hard to write for yourself & your offerings because you’re too busy looking at what others are doing? Then this episode is for you.
It’s totally normal to feel like you have to look at what others are doing to write your website. You may see what your favorite entrepreneur is doing and want to be just like her. Because she’s awesome and totally killing it! But before you know it you’re either stuck in analysis-paralysis mode or you’re not letting your true self shine through.
To get you to refocus on your business so you can write website copy that wows without the comparison game, today we’re going to be talking about how to stay original and stop imitating influencers in your copywriting. I wrote about this topic last year on the Create & Cultivate blog, but I have even more tips for you today.
To give a bit of background on this episode, something I used to ask in my questionnaire was a question that basically asked, Who do you admire? Who do you read for their voice, personality, and style? Which SEEMS like a good question. But here’s the problem: I kept getting the same answers to these questions. Many of my clients admire the same people! Probably because the inspirational figures they shared are, simply put, AMAZING people with really great websites. There’s nothing wrong with having role models!
Too often, this question set up the expectation that their website would sound exactly like their idol had written it. And what we really need to aim for is originality.
You may be asking… why does originality matter? Shouldn’t the magical, high-converting power words you insert into my website work the way they’re supposed to?! Does it REALLY matter?
It does. To clear this up even more, here’s a definition of originality: the ability to think independently and creatively. Chances are, you became a business owner because you are an independent, creative spirit who wanted to work for yourself. Think about it this way: you can do anything with your website. You can have it look however you want, speak however you want, and appeal to whoever you want. So why not do it in style with some flair?
I want to be clear that when I say originality I don’t mean that you should try to sound quirky AF. In the last episode, I shared Frank Body as an example of brand personality. And it’s an excellent example! But there are so many different ways to sound that you don’t need to be quirky or in-your-face to be different. There are a million ways to sound unique.
So instead of looking to your favorite influencers for ideas on how to write your copy, I want to encourage you to look inward and dig into what your clients really need to hear from you & what your prospects need to see on your website.
If you’re ready to stop imitating others and stand out in a competitive market, you’re in the right place! Here are my steps for making the process of writing original, on-brand copy easier.
Step 1: Figure out your brand personality.
If you’re struggling to really figure out where you fit when it comes to your brand’s personality, it can be hard to know exactly how you want to speak to your ideal clients. There’s an amazing quiz that makes this even easier. Kaye Putnam, a branding expert, has a quiz called What Is Your Innate Brand Advantage? It’s probably the best resource on this topic that I’ve ever seen.
You’ll come away from this knowing EXACTLY what kind of brand you are, including your goal, strategy, and brand fears. There are 12 different types, and I can say for sure it’s a game-changer. This is probably the easiest thing you can do to discover your brand’s personality. You may even find that you are not the same personality as your favorite influencer and, therefore, don’t need to interface with clients the same way. This can free you up to think of your brand through a new lens.
Step 2: Find your point of difference.
At this point, you want to discover HOW you’re unique. If you’re struggling to do this, here’s my advice: verbally process it. When I do my initial Zoom call with clients, what I’m trying to get them to do is verbally process who they are, what their business is about, and why they’re different. For myself, I use this really cool free voice transcriber app called Otter. You can just press record and talk right into it and it’ll transcribe everything for you.
Google Docs also has this feature available if you’d like to have notes on your own brand available to you. Although it can be great to collect testimonials from clients or do some bulleted pre-writing if full sentences just aren’t flowing for you, some of this material does need to come from you, especially if you’re a prominent personality in your business and your clients are mostly working with you directly or interfacing with YOUR approach and signature process.
Step 3: Find ONE thing you’re proud of writing that represents the brand you want to create.
Instead of looking to others, why not look to yourself as the ideal model? Look at your Instagram, your past emails to your list, your old website. Is there an Instagram post that is totally on-brand, on-voice, and exactly how you’d want to sound everywhere, consistently, all the time? Is there an email you sent to your list that makes you go THAT’S IT! THAT’S THE VOICE! Let that be the starting point for building out the rest of your brand. Once you go through the process of looking at past writings from your business, this will give you a better baseline to really determine what this brand voice looks like.
Step 4: Find ONE thing you would do differently.
It can be a struggle to COMPLETELY avoid looking at the competition or at influencers in your space or slightly outside of it. If you find yourself gravitating to those sites over and over again, take a deeper look. Try to get past the likely gorgeous design on their site and try to look at what it is they’re actually saying. Is there anything you can identify that you DON’T like? Anything you feel they don’t address? What do you have to add to this space that they don’t?
It might take some thinking but, chances are, you’ll get there with some brainstorming. Try to think: how can I put everything I do through the filter of my own personality? This can break the illusion that this person’s way is the best way and can get you thinking about what’s personally amazing about your business instead. This is where the wheels start turning.
If it’s really too hard to do this, think to your own story. What are some unique experiences you’ve had in your life or career? What background or personal experiences do you have? It may not feel like it but these are things that you can use in your business to stand out. Also, it’s pretty great fodder for the about page.
While it’s important to remember that your brand CAN have a different voice from you, personally, there’s still an element of yourself that you can impart into the brand to give it that lasting impact and personal touch.
Step 5: Keep your goals in mind across your website.
Instead of looking at your favorite influencer’s website and structuring everything just like them, think about what you’ll need on your website. Do you need an opt-in form for your lead magnet? A page for your course? And what is it you want people to do on your website?
The best thing you can do is determine the desired action. Is it to schedule a call with you so that they are ideally one step closer to working with you one-on-one? Sign up for your course? Buy a product? Subscribe to your list? Be very aware of that action and create a website around this. It’s okay to have more than one goal in mind but pick ONE thing that is the pivotal thing. Let everything be determined by this action.
For example, say that you look up to a course creator and you’re OBSESSED with everything they do. And you’re a service provider offering deliverables to 1-1 clients and you don’t have a course yet. It doesn’t make any sense to structure your page like that person, let alone write like them. Keeping this action front of mind discourages imitation and lets you be free to think about what truly matters on your website. At the end of the day, that’s what will make you money and book the clients.
I know it can be really hard to stay original and keep it real when there are so many amazing entrepreneurs out there with incredible websites! But I know you can unearth that thing that makes you special and communicate that using great copywriting principles. That’s what it’s all about!