The other day, I drove downtown with my heart beating out of my chest. I had carefully stuffed three notebooks full of 17 pages that contained notes about how I started The Savvy Copywriter, LLC, our ethical operations, what it’s like to be on The Savvy Copywriter team, testimonials from clients, and testimonials from community members.
I hand delivered those 17 pages to the Better Business Bureau and they will soon be used to judge whether my business is worthy of winning the Spark Award.
Have you ever been judged before?
Perhaps it wasn’t for your work. Perhaps it was for how well you raised your child (and boy do I have another story about THAT from a recent trip I took on United Airlines, which I’m sure will come out soon – stay tuned). Or perhaps it was for your body type. It might even have been because you’re a woman instead of a man. Or a man instead of a woman.
We’ve all been judged because to judge is to be human.
Still, we fear it like someone else’s opinion of us is the devil itself. We cringe at the idea of someone seeing our true colors because *gasp* if they do, what will they think?
So we hide behind our computer screens and start typing the words we want others to use when talking about us. The problem? Too often, these words fall flat – especially when it comes to selling our products and services.
Here’s what happens when you don’t let yourself be 100% YOU in your writing (and how to get over that hump so you can sell more by getting vulnerable).
You Start Speaking in Jargon
Probably the most common culprit to avoiding vulnerability in copywriting is jargon.
Have you ever talked to someone about a technical product and felt like they were speaking another language?
Yep, that’s the same reaction you’re evoking when you infuse a healthy amount of jargon into your sales copy. Your audience isn’t supposed to understand your industry’s language. All your reader wants to know is how you’re going to help her be a better version of yourself. And often, that starts with her understanding who the heck she’s talking to.
If she can’t understand you, how will you ever convince her to buy from you?
You Get a Little Obnoxious (and Arrogant)
When you’re trying to hide all of your faults, guess what you do instead? You start talking about all of the reasons someone should fall in love with your company.
Sure, that’s important to talk about the benefits of doing business with you. Sure, you should highlight your good side, but there comes a point where you brag so much that you stop resonating with your reader.
When you talk about “me, me, me” the person on the other side of the screen (or paper) can’t see themselves in your business. All they see is how great you think you are. And that leaves them feeling entirely unimpressed. The exact feeling you were hoping not to evoke.
You Go To The Weak Side
Forget about going to the dark side. The dark side is interesting.
It’s the weak side that’s about as intriguing as a blank wall.
Weak copywriting happens when your brand looks too closely at the competition and then tries to be just like them. There’s nothing new about your writing. There’s nothing that separates you from all the rest. You blend in because you sound like a parrot instead of Captain Sparrow.
Savvy Captain Sparrow? I think not.
Vulnerability in Copywriting Stems From Being Relatable
Okay, you get it. You don’t want to be hard to understand, boisterous, or (worst of all) weak. So what does good copywriting look like? And how does getting vulnerable help?
When I opened this post, I talked about the award I am nominated for. I could win, or I could lose. Have you ever been in a similar position? One where your pride is on the line? Chances are, if you’re in business, you have. And chances are, as you read the story above, you could relate to the equal parts excitement, anxiety, and eagerness I was feeling when I handed over my submission packet.
And that’s the key: relatability.
You could relate to what I was saying because you’d been there.
We’ve all felt vulnerable at one point or another. It’s part of the human experience. When your brand puts that vulnerability out there in a way that your audience can relate to what you’re saying, you trigger a reaction unlike any other. You instantly make your audience feel as if she’s reading a sales message built just for her. She can see herself in your story.
She can relate to your brand on a deeper level than buzzwords and braggadocious sales messages.
As your vulnerability unfolds in your sales messages, you pull in your buyer in a unique way leaving her feeling like you were the company she was always meant to buy from.
And doing this goes way beyond a single sale…
… it establishes loyalty because your buyer feels like you know her better than she knows herself, making her trust you and like you.
That’s the goal of copywriting, after all. To create a strong enough message that your audience knows you, likes you, and trusts you the more she reads what your brand has to say.
So, answer this: When was the last time you got vulnerable in one of your sales messages? If it’s been awhile, here’s your nudge to let your human side shine through so you can connect with your audience and make your brand relatable.