If there’s one thing you should know about writing good web copy, it’s two very important ‘C’ words: concise and clear. Concise and clear copy always wins over witty puns and fun analogies.
But if that’s the case, how can anyone show their audience who they are through subtle nuances of style? Basically, how do you add personality to your copywriting?
Rest assured, there are plenty of ways. Before I explain them, here’s a little analogy that you’ve definitely identified with, at some point in your life.
Copywriting: Friend Zone or Earth Shaking Romance?
You have a good friend. You hang out all the time. You’re besties, but at some point, you realize you’re attracted to them. Your friends encourage you to make the move and let them know you’d like something more in your relationship. They all say, “Come on, they’re probably thinking it too – one of you just has to say something.”
But you won’t do it. You reason that your friend may not reciprocate your feelings and then they (or you) could be awkward and it would ruin your friendship. All of us know perfectly that you should get the issue out in the open! Just spit the words out already!
Copywriting and blogging are all too similar to this. Copywriting is the relationship part of this story, while blogging is the friendship bit. When you’re blogging, you have hundreds, even thousands of words to express yourself, display your personality, explain what you do, and convince an audience to action.
But copywriting blurts out your essence without any excuses. With copywriting, you have to throw your whole self out there right away, without softening the blow.
So here’s a list of ‘don’ts’ to add personality to your copywriting.
- Don’t hide anything.
- Don’t soften any blows.
- Don’t be afraid of discomfort.
- Don’t worry about being judged. Speak your truth, tell your audience exactly who you are and what you stand for.
Those are pretty general concepts, so I’ll break them into tangible actions you can take. Follow these steps and your website will be dripping with personality.
5 Actions You Can Take to Add Personality to Copywriting
1. Label Your Personality
Most people don’t want to ‘put a label on it,’ (I’m always looking for Portlandia references to represent my home town). But I’ll be frank. You have to. If you haven’t taken yourself through a branding worksheet, sit down with yourself and decide what adjectives describe your business personality.
Here’s a word bank to spur your imagination.
Once you can say to yourself, “My business is fearless, down to earth, and spiritually aligned,” you’re going to use diction (word choice) that matches up with your description.
2. Set Some Boundaries
A client recently said to me, “I like to be really casual and familiar in my writing. I’ll totally swear and say things I’d say to my friends.” He gave me a great synopsis of his business personality.
Another client told me the opposite. He said, “I don’t like to use swearing on my website because that might make some people turn away.” He didn’t want a small reason like that to turn away his community.
It all depends on what you offer in your business and who you offer it to. You can use those two factors as a reference point to make a little outline for yourself. Either say or write down what subjects you’ll touch on and which ones you just don’t want to address. Whatever you decide, make sure you have a good reason for it – don’t ever limit yourself because of fear.
3. Make a Picture in Your Mind
When you read a text from someone you know really well, you can actually hear that person’s person’s voice and mannerisms in your head. Know what I mean?
When you write for your business, picture your business as a person in your mind. Maybe that’s just picturing yourself. Maybe it’s a role model you look up to. Whoever it is, imagine them saying the words you’re writing down. Would they be saying it in that way? Would they use that vocabulary? That tone? That punctuation?
For example, I used to write weekly blogs for a fitness company who sold vitamins. Their brand was super macho, with all the photos of giant hulks to match. So when I wrote for them, I would picture a guy I know who totally fits that description.
I thought about his attitude, his word choices, his inflection. When I wrote those posts, the writing did not sound like me at all. That’s because I wasn’t writing as myself. I was writing as the macho hulk at the gym.
4. Follow Your Tempo Like a Metronome
Tempo plays a vital part in adding personality to your copywriting. Decide whether your sentences will be short and quippy, or smooth and playful. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not telling you to plug all these tips into your machine brain and churn them out unfailingly.
I am telling you to sit with yourself and decide who you are as a person, and how that fits into you as part of your business. Play with different ways to say the same thing. See which one fits that image. Find out what works, then keep doing that.
5. Find Your Copywriting Voice – Your Brand As a Sneaker
On a recent vision call with a client, I asked her, “What is your business’ voice?” I got silence on the other end of the phone. If you’ve done any amount of copywriting, you know the copywriting voice is a key part of the profession.
But the idea of writing with a voice can be elusive. How do you transfer a voice onto words on a page?
Well, when I asked my client about her voice, I had to backtrack a little. So I said, “If your business were a sneaker, what would it be?” Then we totally fleshed it out. She decided it would be something nicer than Adidas or Nike, but not quite Louis Vuitton level.
Since many of her clients are outdoorsy and down to earth, the sneaker would have to be practical for a spur-of-the-moment hike, but it would have to be nice enough to elevate the person and show high respect for quality.
Do you see how she just described her business as a brand, while giving me a plethora of adjectives to add my copywriting voicebank?
In the end, we settled on On Cloud sneakers. They can be worn for a run or a hike, but they look sleek and classy enough to fit in at the office. They’re an above average brand, but still affordable to real people.
Final Tips to Develop Your Copywriting Personality
Writing has the power to evoke strong emotions and inspire bold actions. But at the end of the day, your writing is a reflection of you. So if you truly want your copywriting to drip with personality, you better appreciate your built-in personality.
Know your greatest personality strengths. For me, I know that I am blunt and not afraid to say what I think. I’m funny and I know how to make others feel comfortable around me. So I acknowledge those aspects of my personality and I emphasize them in my writing.
What aspects of your personality endears you to others? Or what do you love about your personality?
While you should always leave room for freedom to express, you also NEED a plan. Make a strategy. What is your tag line? What promise do you make to your clients? How will you format your call to action?
If you leave the strategy out of your writing, it will not matter how much personality is oozing out of your writing. Without a strategic plan, your audience will be confused about your offer and will move on to the next in line.
Does that sound scary to you? Are you unsure about a strategy to plan out your content marketing? I am here to help you! Schedule a free strategy session with me and I will help you combine your dream with reality and make you irresistible to clients.
Were these tips helpful to you? Connect with me on Instagram and let’s chat about it!