Do you know how many online businesses there are today? About 1.2 bazillion* (*extreme hyperbole). Or at least, it feels that way, doesn’t it? There’s no doubt that the online business world is full to the brim, and more new businesses keep popping up every day.
With the glut of online businesses out there, you need a way to stand out and to connect with your potential clients and customers. You can’t simply say, “I’m a graphic designer” and have clients flock to you, because there are about 3.4 million* (*yep, hyperbole again) graphic designers out there.
So, what can you do about that? You can humanize your business through the very thing that you share all the time: your copywriting and content.
Humanizing Your Copywriting
There is a difference between humanized writing and plain, old, boring business writing. By taking steps to humanize your writing and add in your amazing personality, you’ll help your business stand out. You’ll also be better able to step into your role as the face of your brand.
Don’t be fooled, humanizing your copywriting is a process that won’t happen overnight, but the payoff, like deeper connections with your audience and an authentic business vibe, are well worth it.
Ok, so I’ve sold you on putting more of yourself into your writing. But how do you go about doing that? Check out the steps below and then get started making your copy unforgettable.
Figure Out Your Personality
If you’re going to humanize your copywriting, you need to know what your personality is. I mean, it’s hard to add in your personality if you’re not sure what exactly it is. You can always take the infamous Myers-Briggs test, but my vote goes to 16Personalities (which is based on the Myers-Briggs, among other things).
You can also check out Sally Hogshead’s fascination archetypes to discover how people see you and what makes you fascinating. Knowing both your personality type and your fascination profile can help you create writing that intentionally brings out your strengths.
Take me, for example. My personality strengths include a love of details and analytical thinking. Those strengths together make me a great writer and storyteller. My blog posts are always full of details and action steps for readers to take, because I’m a doer at heart.
Once you know more about your personality, decide how you can work it into your copywriting. In addition to your strengths, think about the things you love. Work in references to your favorite books, TV shows, or music. The goal here is to help people get to know you through your writing.
Determine Your Writing Voice
Your writing voice is your brand ambassador online. It’s what speaks to people through your content, so you want to make sure that it’s spot-on with you and your brand. There’s no right way to find or create your writing voice.
But here are some suggestions to get you started:
Think about how you want to come across to people online. Do you want to be seen as a leader or as a friend?
Think about the adjectives you want people to associate with your writing voice and your brand. Use those as a starting point when you’re working through your writing voice.
Ask a close friend or family member to describe your normal, everyday speech. Ideally, your natural writing voice should be relatively close to your natural speaking voice.
While you’re figuring out your writing voice, remember that you don’t have to box yourself into a voice if it doesn’t sound like you. Don’t choose a voice that other people would pick for you. Choose a voice that you think sounds most like you.
Create a Copywriting Style Guide
Once you’ve nailed down your personality and how that will translate into your writing voice, it’s time to solidify everything. This is where a copywriting style guide comes in handy.
You’ve probably heard of a brand or blog style guide. A copywriting style guide is pretty much the same thing. It focuses on keeping your brand’s copywriting consistent and on-brand, no matter where it appears.
Your copywriting style guide should cover:
Brand-specific phrases (these are phrases that you want people to associate with your brand)
Words and phrases that are on-brand and off-brand
Your writing voice
How your personality appears in your copywriting
The feelings or words you want readers to associate with your brand
The main purpose for your business (yes, this needs to be in here because it should underscore everything you do, including copywriting).
Your copywriting style guide doesn’t have to be super complex. It can be a simple Google Doc that’s broken up into different sections with headers. The main thing is that you keep this somewhere easily accessible and then refer to it until you know it by heart.
Review Your Current Website Copy
It’s likely that not all of your current copy adheres to your brand new copywriting style guide. To ensure that your writing voice is consistent online (and it needs to be consistent), you’ll need to go through your website and blog posts.
Compare your current copy to your new copywriting style guide and make notes about where you need to change things and how you’re thinking about changing them. It’s very important that you don’t make a change as you notice it. Make notes first and then go back and make the changes all at once.
Implement Your New Changes
Implement your new changes page-by-page in one sitting. This will take some time, so clear your calendar and set aside an hour or two to dive into your copy.
With your copywriting style guide and your notes in hand, put your changes into effect. It may seem counterintuitive to do two passes through your content — the first time for noting where changes need to be made and the second time for making them — but you’ll save time doing it that way.
You won’t be task switching between thinking about what changes need to be made and then making those changes. You’ll either be focused on looking for the things that need to change or making the changes. That makes your brain happy, and it’s more likely that you’ll get into The Zone. So even if you hate copywriting, this way you have a better chance of knocking it out sooner than if you looked for changes and then made them at the same time.
It’s Cliché, But Be You
The fastest way to humanize your business through copywriting is to be...human (gasp). And not just any human (because let’s face it, you can’t be just any human). You have to be you.
It sounds super cheesy, I know, and I feel like a Disney movie right now. But the easiest way to humanize your business is to get to know yourself better and then to let that shine through your writing.
It will take practice and some trial and error, but keep at it. And don’t let the naysayers bring you down. You’re connecting with your people, and you’re making the online business world a more human place.
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