We are all copywriters

Dr. Kammy Haynes Business Momentum Series Telesummit Host interviewed top-notch copywriter, trained journalist and freelance writer, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero. These are my notes from that interview.

Why is copywriting so important?

We’re all copywriters. When you are marketing, you have to get your message out there.  Copywriting permeates everything you do in marketing.  This is a critical tool that people need to understand and implement in their skill sets.  It’s the DNA of marketing.

Copywriting is a different animal.

That’s exactly right.  Copywriting is so not like journalism.  You don’t have to like to write to be a copywriter.  You don’t have to follow the crazy rules your English teacher gave you.  It’s really about relationship building.  It’s quite different, but it’s not harder.  I mean, we all talk with each other!

One of the things you talk about is making it very conversational.

Now more than ever with social media having a ginormous impact, you learn about people very quickly because of the internet.  They know who you are and know about your reputation.  They know more about you than the company you represent.  The bigger companies are starting to have a persona – instead of this big company image.  Geiko has the lizard for example.

It’s more about people than about businesses.  At the end of the day there are people behind the brand.  It’s amazing how much personal connection you can have with people who were out of our reach before.  It all comes down to copy- what you put out there.

You talk about social media.  Where are some of the other places where we need to be conscious about the message we are putting out there?

Obviously your website is critical.  It used to be because it was so difficult to put up a website, now you’re pretty much in control of your website. Make sure your copy is clear.  What do you do? How are you going to solve my problem?  People go looking for solutions, not products.  You want to reflect that you are their solution.  The website is your face to the global world.

Email is important. Hopefully you are growing your subscriber list and you can reconnect with people who have shown an interest in your product.  Everyone who has their own business should be able to whip out a good email.  Good subject line, their first name, get to the point early on – these little tweeks can increase your readership of email.

Sales letters. This is a letter that is specifically for a product, and doesn’t have any other information.  Don’t create any other distractions.  Share the benefits and there is a specific formula for that.

Ezines – people still send them out.  Not so much anymore though.  They do keep a connection going.

Blog posts. The titles are important.

Business card – use a call to action.  Give away a free report – send someone to your website for something free.

Flyers – if you are going to an event who want copy who explains who you are.  Write your bio so people are guided to a sale eventually.  Groom relationships with your customers and your community.

It’s all about marketing.  That really is our business. If you want to go see a movie with your husband and it’s a chick flick you have to convince him why to see it.  That’s marketing.

Whats in it for me?

That’s a huge part of marketing.  In copywriting I’m sure you’ve heard about features and benefits.  Features are what your product is about.  Benefits are what improves your life.  Benefits sell the product.  They have to be illustrated in your copy.

You have to spell it out for the customer.

We assume everyone knows what we know.  Where as people who are not familiar, it is gibberish.  You have to explain.

What are some of the other rules that may have changed in copywriting for the 21st century?

What used to work and what has been repeated for decades is copy and marketing style that was created in the early to mid 1900’s.  The marketing was geared toward men, they were the one’s with paychecks.  Now women are the primary purchasers of just about everything.  They don’t respond to the same kind of traditional marketing.  Social media has only sped up that change.  What works now is relationship marketing. You can get instant input now with social media.  In the old days it was all one direction, now its two way.

American women start 70% of the new businesses today.  Women are in charge of the bills and spend 80% of the combined income.  85% of purchases are made by women.  You need to speak to women in your copywriting.  It’s not that the guys are not important, but they respond to this kind of copy too.  Both genders respond to relational copywriting.  The old kind of copy was someone yelling at you and trying to force you to make a purchase.  Now it’s collaborative.  We want harmony.

Why do you need to tell a story?  Women need to feel a certain bond and rapport.  That doesn’t mean go on and on and on with your story, but tell a story in a few sentences.

Masculine copy is very aggressive, smash your competition.  Women want more of bonding kind of language that girlfriends use.  Masculine copy gets to the point quicker, but women want some rapport going on a little bit.  Masculine used to be just ugly – use whatever font and get to the point.  Women want it to look pretty.  If you use that little time to create your message, how are you creating your product?  Values aren’t as important to the guys as they are to women.  We also want to know whats in it for us, but also whats in it for our family, loved ones and friends.  Exclusiveness sells well to women. Stories are entertaining and we put our selves in the story.  Does that relate to me?  It lowers the sales resistance.

The goal is to engage people in the copy.

Women have a lot of criteria.  Men are looking for one thing, usually.  Is it a good price, a good value, have we done business with you before – women want to know this.  Women are incredibly loyal – and stick with brands.  Go the extra mile to keep your female customers happy.  Women share the good stuff.  Guys are not made up to share.

You talk about a target.  What is a target?

You know what a target market is – its who you want to do business with.  I created a character that I was writing copy for – it was my ideal customer. A target market seems like a huge crowd, lots of peoplewith different needs and desires.  I give the qualities I want in my ideal client – I create a character, one person, who carries those qualities.  I write my copy as if this target is in the room with me.  Nikki Stanton is the name I gave my target! I’ve built her into a personality and have a full bio for her, to help better visualize my target market.  The point is to make it real who you are talking to, and get enough of an understanding of what her problems are in everyday life so I can address that in my copy.   It helps to make my copywriting become more conversational and more fun.

What options are there for business owners to get copy?

The first way is to hire somebody. There’s a lot of good ones, but there are also a lot of bad ones too.  Ask to see some past examples of what they’ve done.  Google and facebook them.  Ask them what they know about your industry.  Go with your gut.  Most people charge by project, new people usually charge by the hour.  Just because you hire someone, doesn’t mean you are done.  You have to give them information about yourself, your business, your previous press releases – make their job easier and your work better.

Another option is to start writing it yourself and hire a copywriter to edit it. That helps keep the price down, and it helps focus in to what you want to say.

The third way is to learn how to do it yourself. It’s a part of doing business.  Almost every business owner that’s good, has an understanding of how to write copy.

There’s a lot to be said for putting out your own genuine voice.

That’s a very good point.  I’m a big believer in authenticity.  Your voice is important.

What is the biggest idea people need to take away from our conversation today?

Get your own voice out there, be authentic with who you are. Pay attention to the little stories that happen in your everyday life.  If you write the little stories down throughout the year, you’ll have them to draw on to create compelling copy.  It’s about creating relationships. Copy is a two person event, it’s a one to one connection. Keep that person connected and engaged by being authentic and talking to one person.  Be genuine, it will come through in your copy.

Quick Start Guide to Write Red Hot Copy available from Lorrie Morgan Ferrero.  ebook format. A to Z Roadmap to writing good copy, templates to use and  Swipe file (copy that has already been successful), tips and tricks also included.  $147 only. Lorrie  distributes a bi-weekly, highly-acclaimed newsletter called “Copywriting TNT – Tips N Tactics. She’s also the author of “Red Hot Copy to Woo Your Target Market,” written for copywriters and entrepreneurs. Lorrie’s impressive client list includes CIGNA Healthcare, Loral Langemeier, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Brown, and more.