How I went from HATING writing for my business to loving it
Does the idea of writing content for your website – or emails, online newsletters, blog, or brochures – make you feel just a wee bit queasy?
Yeah… I hear you.
(Which is a weird confession, coming from someone who’s worked as a professional online copywriter for over 12 years!)
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always loved writing for my clients. I get to play with words all day and share information that changes people’s lives for the better. It’s awesome. Not once, during the six years that I’ve owned my business, have I ever thought, “Oh, boo, I hate the fact that I have to work today.”
BUT. When it comes to writing my own copy and content, it’s a whole different ballgame. At least it used to be… now it’s my favourite part of running my business.
So, what changed?
Here’s how I went from HATING writing for my business to absolutely loving it – and growing a thriving business in the process:
I was a marketer who hated marketing herself (the shame!)
When I left the corporate world in 2010 to start my own copywriting and online marketing business, the thought of writing copy for my own website made my stomach clench. I can sing the praises of my clients’ products and services all day, as long as I believe in them. But to write about myself? UGH. Nails on a chalkboard.
(If you feel the same way, you’re not alone! I’m proof that even professional copywriters share your pain when it comes for writing for their own websites.)
However, being an online marketer, I knew I needed a website if I wanted to come across as legit to my potential clients. So I swallowed my nausea and started writing website copy.
I hated everything I wrote.
I knew how to communicate the benefits of my services (great copy grabs attention, sparks interest, generates more action and sales, yada yada). But I didn’t know how to communicate as myself. I had spent the last six years writing in the voice of my corporate employer and had no idea of what my own voice was like – not in terms of my “business identity,” at least.
Nothing I wrote sounded like me. It didn’t FEEL like me. It was too fake, too impersonal. And I didn’t know how to solve that problem.
Matters came to a head when I was asked to run a workshop for local business owners not long after launching my business. I figured they wouldn’t take me seriously as an online marketer if I didn’t have a website, so I banged out some copy in a hurry and created a quick & dirty website just so I could have somewhere to send people if they wanted to connect with me after the workshop.
That first website felt like it had been written by a robot. It said all the right things, but there was zero personality in it. Nothing about it screamed, “Hi, it’s me, ERIN!”
And to be honest, I was okay with that. I was deeply uncomfortable with the idea of putting myself “out there” in the first place. In fact, that was the biggest mental obstacle I had to overcome in order to even consider starting my own business.
Even though I love writing for my clients, I HATED the idea of marketing myself. Just the act of publishing my website made me feel like I was saying, “Hi, I’m an online marketing writer, and I have to find work STAT in order to pay my mortgage, so could you please hire me? Please?”
It made me feel vulnerable and naked, like I was flashing the world – not with my body but with my admission of need.
Once that website was finished, I pretty much forgot about it. I’d publish the odd blog post just to keep it current, but other than that I barely looked at it.
Fortunately, it didn’t seem to have a negative impact on my ability to find work. I was able to get clients right out of the gate, both through old contacts I had in the Internet marketing world and through word of mouth.
Before long I was getting regular requests from new clients as well. Like any good marketer, I always made sure to ask how they had heard of me.
What they said surprised the ever-loving heck out of me and led to the biggest epiphany I’ve ever had – at least in terms of marketing.
How to attract clients without even trying
I discovered that the majority of my new clients – most of whom I’d never met – were coming to me through everybody’s biggest love/hate social network: Facebook. NOT my professional business page, but my personal account, where I rarely post anything about my business at all.
(Mostly I comment on how my day is going, post funny things my kids say, and links to articles and videos that interest me, inspire me, or make me laugh. Not exactly groundbreaking marketing stuff.)
These new clients had never read a single piece of professional copy or content that I had written. They’d never spoken to a client to see what I was like to work with. Yet they were willing to give me thousands of dollars to write their website copy for them.
THAT BLEW MY MIND.
They didn’t want to work with me because they knew my mad copywriting skills had generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for my clients. They wanted to work with me because they liked me and thought I would be a fun person to collaborate with. They trusted me to be talented and committed enough to do a great job. And they had formed this opinion based on what I posted on Facebook to entertain myself while I worked at home alone.
That’s when the epiphany struck: the best way to communicate with customers and clients in a way that inspires engagement is simply to BE YOURSELF.
People don’t want to do business with businesses, they want to do business with PEOPLE
More importantly, they want to do business with people they like.
Your most passionately loyal customers or clients will be people who can imagine themselves hanging out with you in real life and having a great time. The more clearly you can convey who you – the person behind the business – are, the more your ideal customer will feel that sense of personal connection with you. And the more eager they will be to welcome you and your products or services into their world.
This realization was like a gift from the universe. I didn’t HAVE to come up with a voice for my business – I already had one, duh! It was the way I naturally communicated to my friends.
I can’t tell you how ecstatic this made me.
Since then, I have focused on making my writing as personal as possible – both for myself and my clients. All of the testing and research I’ve done through the years has proved it over and over: the more you write in your own voice and inject your natural personality into your writing, the better the response will be.
But sometimes it can be hard to identify what your real voice actually IS – especially if you’re not a big writer or have spent years being told by teachers or managers that you need to communicate in a certain way.
I’m here to help!
I recently created a FREE 7-day e-course that will show you how to create an unforgettable voice & personality for your business.
WRITE THE REAL YOU shares my most powerful tips on how to write for your business in a way that’s natural and fun and feels like YOU – and attracts the people who are most likely to love what you offer.
You can learn more here: WRITE THE REAL YOU.
I hope you find it helpful!