Copywriting, marketing

DIY Copy: Do you really need a copywriter?

Written word is one of the most important things for your business, whether that’s online or in print. Around 69% of B2B marketers deliberately strategize their content to boost business. Out of these marketers, 42% agree that great content increases the effectiveness of their business. So, what exactly is content? Is it different than copywriting?

Content vs. copywriting

Some people confuse some copy with content. While both copy and content are important for your business, copy is what sells.

Content is usually more educational or entertaining in nature, and copy is more promotional. Copy drives action. Copy typically includes what’s called a “call to action” to get the reader to do something (e.g. click link, buy something, visit a store).

Let’s use LinkedIn as an example. If you’re an entrepreneur, you can consider yourself your business. Your content is your LinkedIn profile. Say you have a project in mind, and you’re looking for a collaborator. Your copy is the message you send to your potential collaborator. You want the person to act (e.g. schedule a call with you), so you use promotional language in your message. (Read more about influencing people here).

It’s important to have both content AND copy to engage with your audience. It would be weird to have all copy and no content. Likewise, you wouldn’t make many sales with all content and no copy. Content can be a great way to build your brand and draw attention to your business. But copy is arguably much more important when it comes to making the sale.

Good copy gets people’s attention. Great copy sells. Excellent copy coverts window shoppers to long-term customers.

If copywriting is so important, why doesn’t every business hire a copywriter for all their advertising?

Probably the #1 reason people don’t hire professionals to write their copy is the cost. Businesses spend a LOT of money on advertising. Great copy costs a lot because it truly is that valuable. A good copywriter can easily double or triple the initial investment through a successful marketing campaign.

But if you’re a new business owner and you don’t quite have the funds for a fancy ad campaign, you can always write the copy yourself, right? Absolutely! Read below to decide whether DIY copy is right for you.

Hiring a copywriter vs. DIY copy

I want to preface this by saying I am a huge DIY-girl. I make my own cleaning products at home, and I always try to teach myself how to do something before hiring someone to do it for me. That being said…

Pros of DIY copy:

  • Saves money (initially)

You can save a big chunk of money in your advertising budget if you choose to use DIY copy.

Cons of DIY copy:

Learning curve

A lot of business owners don’t know this, but copywriting is not like the writing you learned in school. Copywriting is more like writing how you would talk or text. Grammar isn’t quite as important in copywriting. The writing style that would earn you an A in English class might make zero sales and could even turn some people off your brand. A piece of copy could be riddled with incomplete and run on sentences and made-up words— which would seriously disappoint your 7th grade English teacher—but it could make thousands of sales.

It takes a LONG time to get good at copywriting. People dedicate their careers to studying it. Professionals must continue practicing and learning to stay sharp. Not only is it a highly specialized skill, but the field changes with new technology and trends. Some copywriting strategies have stood the test of time, and they’ll likely continue to work for businesses like yours. But one tactic that made a business owner wildly successful 5 years ago won’t necessarily work today. It depends on the niche, your business, the time period, and other factors— many of which are impossible to know if you don’t have experience as a copywriter.

If you have the many hours to spend studying the craft, then, go for it!

But most business owners have a million other things to do besides writing their own copy. If they truly put in the time it takes to learn a craft, it will take much longer to launch their campaign to sell their product. And if you take too long to launch your DIY copy, you could miss out on sales.

Losing money in the long run

Although initial costs will be very low or even zero, DIY copy will be likely be more expensive in the long run. Ineffective advertising could not only fail to bring in sales, but it could reflect negatively on your business and actively repel customers. Yikes.

If you choose to use DIY copy anyways, ask someone to review your copy for errors and for impact (bonus points if that person has marketing experience). Some beginner copywriters might be happy to look over your piece for you.

Cons of hiring a copywriter:                                                                                

  • Not an expert in every niche:

You can’t expect every copywriter to know everything about every niche. There may be trends they don’t know about or terms they’ve never heard, which make it difficult for them to write for an unknown audience.

A very easy solution to this is to hire a copywriter who has demonstrated experience in researching different industries. If you set up a call with them, they can ask you questions about your niche. If they’re a good copywriter, you can watch them seamlessly apply their businesses marketing expertise to your project— and make you money.

If you’re really worried about it, just find a copywriter who specializes in your niche. There are copywriters who specialize in all kinds of industries, including wellness, e-commerce, beauty, pet products, SaaS products, airplanes, cars, and so much more.

  • Cost

I mentioned this before, but the big reason people don’t hire professionals is because copywriters aren’t cheap. To make the most of your investment:

  1. Make sure the service or product you’re offering is truly excellent.
  2. Find a high-quality, experienced copywriter to really make your offer shine.
  3. Ask for discounts. Sometimes, copywriters will give you a discount if you bundle projects with them.
  4. Don’t just jump into a huge project with a copywriter you’ve never worked with. Unfortunately, not all copywriters can do what you’re looking for. If you’re working with a brand new copywriter, ask them to do a smaller test project for a lower price, just to make sure you have a good fit before you spend the big bucks.

Pros of hiring a copywriter:

  • Time saver

Writing a piece of great copy can take a long time, and if you DIY, that’s time you could have spent doing other things. Hiring a copywriter allows you to focus on other important aspects of the business. This is especially important if you are in the online space. People want to see frequent content online. Writing, editing, and publishing copy can take a big chunk of your time away from other business needs.

  • 100% original and free of grammar errors

If you’re putting out DIY copy, it can be easy to accidently take someone else’s work (i.e. plagiarize) or make spelling errors. Copywriters (and editors) are trained to notice the little things, and good copywriters never steal others’ work. That’s just bad form.

  • More effective advertising

Unless you’re in the marketing field, you probably just don’t know how to advertise yourself. If you own a clothing line, for example, your expertise is in the fashion industry, not the advertising industry. Although certain aspects of fashion may also apply to advertising, you probably don’t know the ins and outs of headlines, subheadings, where readers’ eyes are drawn, and what to say in your “call to action.”

If you’re in the online space, it’s also super important that you use SEO (search engine optimization) keywords strategically in your copy. Whether you like it or not, Google analyzes your site for relevant keywords to rank in the results section after someone searches for certain keywords. For example, as an online clothing retailer, you need to make it clear to Google that you have clothes for sale at your site to ensure your site appears close to the top of the results page for “online clothing retailer.” Good copywriters know how to use SEO keywords tactfully to rank your site higher on Google.

Conclusion:

DIY copy comes with its own unique benefits. But professionals generally yield MUCH better results in terms of sales and conversions. To survive in a competitive industry, ineffective advertising ends up being more expensive in the long run compared to hiring a professional copywriter.

Thanks for reading! Comments and suggests welcome below.  

Copywriting, psychology

COVID-19: Sink or swim for businesses

Quarantine, pandemic, self-isolation, COVID-19, “wash your hands”, “stay home”, x new cases, rising death toll…

Hearing these words doesn’t exactly encourage spending money. These words suggest saving money in case something terrible happens.

You may be tired of hearing about the virus by now, but now is exactly the time you need to pay extra close attention. People need high quality products and services more than ever. In a market desperate for stability, poor quality products and services will be eradicated. Businesses that rise to the occasion will fare better than businesses that close up shop just when customers need them. No business, no matter how big or small, is immune to this (pun intended). Even medical providers need to step up their game. Practices that provide telemedicine and high quality medical advice remotely (online, via phone) will thrive in this market. Likewise, nonmedical businesses need to step up and cater to customers’ other needs (at a distance).

How not to operate your business during a pandemic

As of March 18, 2020, it appears as though some businesses may go under as a result of the novel coronavirus and its impact on our economy. To make sure your business survives this crash in the market, don’t do theses two things things:

  1. Refuse to adapt to the changing times. Yes, persistence is key. But being stubborn about changing your practices or delivery methods to meet new demands demonstrates rigidity, not persistence. Customers won’t appreciate your refusal to keep up with the times, and your business will suffer. Unfortunately, companies that cannot change their practices due to the nature of the business will likely take a hit regardless of what they do to adapt. Acknowledging and addressing their customers’ fears will help them recover when the economy bounces back.

  2. Refuse to acknowledge the situation. Businesses that act like everything is fine and dandy will appear insensitive. People are scared, and they need to feel seen and heard in a time like this. Acknowledging fears and concerns is paramount to maintaining healthy relationships, so practice this with customers to keep them coming back.

Questions to ask yourself as a business owner

Business owners need to think critically about customers’ evolving needs. And they need to work to meet those needs. Meet those needs by asking yourself:

  1. How can I help alleviate pain right now? Are there certain populations acutely affected that could especially benefit from my business? How can I adjust my marketing tactics to reach them?

  2. Am I offering products and services that can help people who are affected? And if not, why not?

  3. What are my audiences’ fears? Are their concerns mainly health-related or are they more about the economic downturn?

  4. How can you help quell your potential customers’ fears? Can you offer a discount in financial planning services? Can you offer delivery of goods for people quarantined? Can you post words of encouragement or positivity on social media?

The coronavirus pandemic imposes a defining moment for businesses of all kinds. Now is the time to evaluate whether your products or services are truly helping people.

The answers to these questions could determine whether you will sink or swim during a crash in the stock market, so answer them earnestly.

How to offer genuine help

I cannot overemphasize customers’ need for authentic help from businesses. I write about uncertainty from a psychological standpoint in my article here, and it really helps explain why people are panicking. Click to find out exactly how much influence uncertainty has over us (spoiler: it’s a LOT).

So, now you know what you shouldn’t do. Here’s what you should do to survive this particular economic downturn:

  1. Offer online content. If you have a service you can offer online, do it. For example, instead of throwing your hands up and canceling everything, offer online classes via Skype or Zoom.

  2. Offer delivery. You may have products that people don’t want to buy right now because they have to travel to get to them. If you have the means, consider offering delivery. For example, you may want to offer a care package with your products that you deliver to people. This would be a great gift, as a way for people to show other people they care, even if they can’t do it in person right now.

  3. Share, share share. At a time when people are cooped up inside, you know Facebook and Instagram are doing well. Now is a fantastic opportunity to build your brand and share your insights about the pandemic on social media. Share whatever it is your business is doing to help others. Share plans for the future. Share bits of positivity. Share, then share some more.

  4. Address your audience’s uncertainty. Lots of people are anxious about Coronavirus and we don’t know what’s going to happen next. Let your audience know that you understand their fear. Commiserate. Ask how you can help. People like to be heard, so hear ’em out!

If you do these things, you’ll have a much better shot at staying afloat during the coronavirus.

If you can help in any way, do it. Be sensitive to the needs and fears of your customers. This is an opportunity to foster nurturing relationships with your potential customers, so do it!

What is your business doing to stay afloat during these times? Share in the comments below!

Copywriting

Filthy Rich Writer Review

**Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links on which I may earn commission if you choose to purchase certain products or services.

I work a traditional 9–5, and I was looking for a way to earn some extra money to pay off my student debt. I eventually enrolled in a copywriting course through Filthy Rich Writer, and I am oh-so-happy I did.

Hey, Siri: Search ‘how to make money online’

First, I googled “how to make money online.” I thought about thrift shopping, then selling things on eBay. I thought about buying a camera and trying my hand at professional photography. Then I remembered I know how to code. I heard coders make good money. So, I set my sights on software development and signed up for a free online coding bootcamp (again, trying to earn money, not spend it). But despite telling myself that I would finish the course no matter how long it took, I quit after just a few months.

Back to the drawing board. I asked Google again what I should do to make extra money from home. “How to make money online” yielded over 4.5 billion search results; there were just too many options. So I went soul-searching. And by soul-searching, I mean I took all the online personality quizzes I could find. I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Enneagram, the Big Five personality test, value inventories, skill inventories… And I learned that personalities like mine like to write.

And it was true. I do like to write. I always sort of liked writing essays, even on school topics I didn’t really enjoy. And introverts like me don’t have to talk to people to do it.

But when I thought of writers, I didn’t think of particularly wealthy people. I thought of starving artists who drink too much. Hard pass.

I felt stuck. I wanted to close the gap between doing something I liked (writing) and making money.

Back down the internet rabbit hole. Without high expectations, I googled “how to make money writing.” And I stumbled across the word “copywriting.” I found several of accounts of freelance (copy)writers making multiple 6-figure incomes… That totally shattered my idea of a writer’s lifestyle.

Naturally, I googled “how to become a copywriter.” I found an article called “How to Break into Copywriting” on a website called Filthy Rich Writer. Ask and ye shall receive, am I right?

Now, I didn’t need to be filthy rich. I just wanted to pay off my student loans and have a little extra cash. And this company was suggesting that writers could earn 6-figures. I was skeptical. But I kept reading and found another article on why the company is called Filthy Rich Writer. After reading the articles, I took the free video training. And the myths I believed about writers’ incomes were dispelled.

I learned that you can make a great income as a (copy)writer. I learned you can make this great income from home (or Maldives or wherever you want) without a boss. But it still sounded a little too good to be true…

How do you know it’s not a scam?

The program’s main coach is a real-life 6-figure copywriter, so you know it’s possible to make that sort of money. The Comprehensive Copywriting Academy (CCA) is designed by that coach, so you know you’re getting the right training. Both coaches have at least 10 years of copywriting experience.

And it looks like program graduates do pretty well too. In fact, I watched an interview with a graduate of the program, a 6-figure copywriter, living the dream in Cyprus with her family.

The Filthy Rich Writer program is not a get-rich-quick scheme; it’s a legitimate career path toward income that you control. You can make money as a copywriter while you’re learning how to build your business.

Flexible program with money-back guarantee

The CCA was what exactly what I was looking for. So, I signed up. It was an investment, but it was backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

I started CCA right around the holidays, so I was pretty busy and didn’t make a ton of progress at first.

But the great thing about CCA is that it’s self-paced. You can go as quickly or as slowly as you want. It’s flexible like that.

How I landed my first copywriting clients

When something is self-paced, I usually take that as an invitation to take my sweet time. I need deadlines. And that’s why it’s great that CCA has frequent challenges (with deadlines) in the students-only Facebook group. For example, in January, we had Pitch-a-Palooza. Pitch-a-Palooza really pushed me to get through the training modules in order to start pitching. I got my first two clients during Pitch-a-Palooza. I probably wouldn’t have even tried to get any clients if it hadn’t been for the Pitch-a-Palooza event. Thank God for deadlines.

CCA has TONS of resources in addition to the frequent challenges, the most basic of which is the Foundations Course. In the Foundations Course, you have Module 0, where you learn about the success mindset and how to deal with inevitable setbacks. Module 0 is incredibly valuable, and you may even want to go back to it as you progress through the course because, well, setbacks…

The rest of Foundation Course consists of:

-Module 1: Copywriting Fundamentals

-Module 2: Copywriting Tactics

-Module 3: Project Lifecycle

-Module 4: Interactive/Digital Copywriting

-Module 5: Print Copywriting

-Module 6: Building your Business

All those modules have action sheets designed to guide your next steps and give you real copywriting practice.

Ongoing support

There are monthly coaching calls, where you can get feedback on copy, your website, or any questions you have about copywriting or building your business. All calls are posted online for you to review in case you miss the call. CCA also has optional paid one-on-one coaching calls, as well as other courses that cover pretty much everything you can think of relating to building a copywriting business.

There are courses on:

  • optimizing your LinkedIn profile

  • how to price your services

  • email marketing funnels

  • content marketing

  • and so much more

Student community

On top of all that, there’s an incredibly supportive students-only Facebook group that allows you to get feedback, encouragement, and inspiration from fellow students and coaches. The coaches are way more engaged than you would think, and I love being able to get feedback from established copywriters when I need it.

CCA has the ongoing support and sense of community that was missing from the courses like the free coding bootcamp. I understand that the coding bootcamp was free and teaches completely different skills… but sometimes, you get what you pay for. And that’s true when it comes to CCA.

And though the course doesn’t come cheap, it’s designed to pay for itself several times over.

I haven’t finished the entire course yet (it is comprehensive), but my overall impression of CCA is that it is well worth the money if you’re interested in copywriting. It’s certainly worth testing out a new career, and CCA is a fantastic introduction to copywriting. Even if you’re already an established copywriter, I think it’s always great to hone your skills and learn how to land better clients.

And the great thing about CCA is that you can try it out and cast it aside if you decide you don’t want to do it. AND you’ll get your money back if you decide that within 30 days of purchase.

And even if you don’t decide to take the course, Filthy Rich Writer has tons of free content about growth and development, building your business, and copywriting. These are a few of my favorites:

If you’re still reading this, there must be a reason. Click the button below to go to the FREE video training.