There! I told you what not to use. But what should you be using instead of these words?
The answer is nothing. You should never think of replacing these words. You should think of replacing the sentences that need these words. These words indicate (read: scream) that your writing is amateurish. That is exactly why you depend so heavily on safe words like the adjectives.
Adjectives are merely fillers. They make your copy shallow.
Ouch! Sorry if I made writing even more difficult for you but..some hard truths are epiphanies on their own.
And here’s one – Copy that can convince is never backed by loose, commoner adjectives.
Premature positioning without translatable proof crashes your credibility.
The job of a value proposition is to gravitate your prospects towards your business.
You’ve got to define your brand the very first time they hear about you so that they remember you.
Humans are constantly looking to benefit. If you don’t take that to your advantage, you’ll be just another brand screaming for attention instead of making heads turn.
If you can write your value prop in 3 words – just 3 simple words, it means that you’ve achieved the clarity you need to lead your content.
So in this blog, I’m going to show you the value props of several websites and also tell you the first probable question that pops up in the reader’s mind when they land on a web page.
We’ll also talk about what not do while writing a value prop.
Stop defining your company with a weak adjective
The above value prop is clearly braggy.
Also, I had never heard of Cypher learning until now. So, I’m assuming it’s not an omni brand either. And omni brands rarely call themselves the best. They’re uber specific.
Adjectives like best, world-class and high-quality mean nothing.
High-quality just means high-quality. There’s no other way to say it or measure it. Because the one thing that defines this word is “quality” which is subjective.
That is why your value proposition should never depend on adjectives to define it.
Adjectives can never communicate the real value your business offers. Behead the adjectives out of your value prop so that you can focus on bringing the outcomes to the forefront.
Why your value prop is not your USP
Few days back, Peep Laja, the founder of ConversionXL tweeted how the concept of USP is obsolete and I agree with him.
Because in 2020, it’s impossible to be running an extremely unique business.
Especially, if you’re in a SaaS market – you know how crowded this industry is. So describing your brand as unique in 2020 is definitely not a good idea.
What the absence of a value proposition does
My first thought goes – how do you make your results colorful? Colorful pie chart? Colored graphs? Rainbow data?
I feel confused and I start wondering about what the product actually is.
Unfortunately, it’s a web development company.
Solution: They could have actually spoken about the approach they mention in the CTA and position their brand with a clarified message.
Why it’s important to state the biggest benefit – FIRST
Nobody actually needs more data in this world saturated with data.
So saying “Need more data” in one of the headings is
And having data is not a benefit. It’s actually a liability to deal with if you don’t know how to tackle the data overflow problem every company faces today.
So if you’re a company offering a solution to analyze, organize, optimize and monetize your data, you should as well state this fact in your value prop and lead with it to bring in conversions.
Otherwise, you confuse your readers like this company does. And confused readers get off the wagon ASAP.
Lesson: Lead your value prop with your biggest benefit
Keep your first screen clean
Again, here’s another value prop starting with an adjective. We know what the problem is. So let’s talk about the UX here.
The goal of a business website is to make your reader’s job easy.
You start with clean websites. The screenshot of a login portal to the left is meaningless. It doesn’t add any value in elevating the message.
The objective of your message is to take your reader from one awareness stage to a deeper, better understanding of your brand.
When you add screenshots like these, that make the reader think hard, you leave them disappointed.
Conclusion: The reader doesn’t understand what this company is about until they read the tiny text that uses two keywords (AI and data analytics) in an unnatural sentence.
Solution: A hero section with no image is better than having a confusing, deviating image with an unclear value proposition.
Avoid writing unprofitable value propositions
Don’t come across as narcissistic brands by stating your own name in the value prop.
Instead, take this opportunity and use your online real estate to own your message, connect with your audience and bring them closer to your brand.
3 simple ways to make your brand more approachable
Write an engaging value prop with a call to action with an immediate value add like in the below example. Appsumo doesn’t waste a second in adding value to their audience.
Connect with the ideals of your audience. Connect with a belief your audience stands for. Meetup does this so well! Their value prop says – “The real world is calling”, which connects with us on so many levels because we’re all fighting this digital age and screen toxicity. We’re all striving to make our lives a little bit more outdoor-ish. The gist is – to find out how you can match with your audience’s mindset and convey that.
State your why loud and clear just like 450GSM. They’re not afraid to break the rules. The moment you land on the homepage, it’s clear where you have come. No clever tactics, no desperate messaging to sound badass – only clear messaging.
Action steps to writing a clear value proposition
Avoid adjectives – because adjectives repel clarity and are subjective
Highlight the biggest benefit
Use social proof to write your value proposition if you can
Connect with the values and beliefs of your audience
Connect with your reader’s mindset and intent
Clean UX around your value prop means higher conversions
Stop trying to be unique and focus on being useful to your readers
To ensure your brand influence is catching up with your business growth, you should write content that gets you results.
Here’s how you improvise your content to put your brand on the world map.
Write better headlines for better SEO and Conversions
80% of your readers don’t read your copy if you can’t get them to read your headlines – David Ogilvy
Most companies fail to grab their prospect’s attention because their headlines never offer a benefit the prospect is looking for.
Are you helping your audience save time?
Are you helping them bring down operational costs?
Is your solution accessible from anywhere, anytime?
Then you mention that in your headline.
The benefits should go straight into your value proposition to get your prospect interested FIRST.
Then you can explain how your solution works, the features to follow and why they should trust you etc.
Now, why is something as simple as highlighting benefits a deal-breaker?
Because the benefit IS the solution your business has been thriving on.
And what a catastrophic mistake you’ll be making if you’re not strapping the benefits to your headline, right?
Pro Tip: Ensure you optimize your title tag with the main focus keyword.
Boost your SEO by using quality keywords
Google Crawlers are constantly looking for relevant keywords (the keywords you want to rank for) in your content.
And the keywords your prospects search for are all about saving time, progress, doubling revenue, bringing down operational/admin costs, reaching omni-access solutions like yours.
This means that the right keywords in the headline not only help you grab your audience’s attention, they also help you rank on search engines with ease.
Upgrade Alt Text to Rank on Google Image Search
My website ranks #1 on Google Image Search for a high competition keyword and here’s the proof.
No FB ads. No Google ads. Simple optimization techniques helped me achieve this with ease. Look at the screenshot below.
If you see, the top 3 results on the search page are displaying images from my website for the keyword empathetic copywriting.
Now I won’t say that this is a product of mere updating of your alt text tag. I also had a Pinterest Marketing Strategy running behind this result. We’ll talk about it another day. But for now, you should update your alt text because it is the bridge of communication between your website and search engine spiders that help you rank.
3 benefits of using descriptive alt text and captions:
It indicates the exact content of the image
Increases relevance and brings clarity
Specific information increases your chances of matching with the search keywords and bumps your page to the top
Tip: Run an instant SEO Audit of missing alt text images on your website now for FREE.
Add social proof to bring congruence to your content
If you noticed, I added proof in the form of a screenshot about how I ranked on Google Image Search in the previous section organically. By giving your readers proof then and there, you are elevating your brand’s trustworthiness, increasing authority and positioning as an expert in the industry.
Because marketing and sales is all about BEING relevant to your audience through – relevant content, connection, and relevant social proof.
Coherent content elevates your brand image and perceives you as someone dependable.
It’s not just true for readers, even Google understands that including proof, customer reviews in the form of testimonials is a sign of authenticity and reliability.
Divide and Rule your Content to Optimize
Humans are wired to react to interruptions. This is the reason why constant mobile phone notifications are making us less and less social and leaving us distracted all the time with depleting attention spans. So how do you make your reader remain focused?
By using Pattern Interrupt Techniques.
Pattern interrupt is a psychological approach to shifting your reader’s focus and alter behavior.
How can you use this psychological phenomenon to keep your readers interested in your content?
Create Disruptive Content Without Switching Context
Interrupt and disrupt your reader before a notification takes that power away from your content. Make your content MORE interesting than their distractions – By dividing and displaying content differently:
Ensure the headings carry appropriate H1, H2, H3 tags
Use graphs and visual charts to make information more memorable
Use screenshots to offer proof and explanation then and there
Use snappy gifs to make content memorable
Use bullets instead of a clunky chunky text box
Highlight to bring the focus back – bold, italics, underline, color
Use images to explain instead of a long boring paragraph
Use content highlighters like, colored blocks
Create carousel content to keep your audience hooked
GIFs when used appropriately can pattern interrupt much better than stagnant, dull images
Anchor Text and User Experience
The fundamentals of creating content for your audience is to be helpful.
Anchor text is one such feature that makes the web so powerful. It makes access to information relevant information as easy as a click!
Use this to your advantage and link related topics in your content so that you form a content repository your audience comes to for all their info needs.
To get anchor texts right, every time you create anchor text, connect back to the primary intent –
Can this link introduce my readers to topics they need to know?
Can this link open up new channels and learning experiences for my readers?
Is this link connecting to a pre-requisite topic that’ll bring them closer to their desired outcome?
On the downside, too many external hyperlinks may take your audience away from your website. So, make sure that you’re bringing a balance.
What’s the point of having a website when nobody scrolls past your hero image?
If your value proposition doesn’t catch your prospect’s attention and fails to lead them past the following copy, you’re losing business faster than a descending aircraft.
Your homepage is the most important real estate online. And a bad homepage can tarnish your reputation.
Homepage copy should highlight the benefits your reader can reap out of working with you. It should talk about how you’re capable of pulling them out of their current situation and building a bridge that enables them to move closer to their goals.
Use these simple homepage copywriting techniques to empathize with your audience:
Replace “I”, “We”, “Our”, “Ours” with “You”, “Your” and “Yours” to make your copy appealing to your prospects instead of tooting your own horn. Let the message on your website invite them already. Show them you’re here..solely..to serve them. Prove it to them that they are your priority and you’re nothing short of value.
Make sure you state what you do – loud and clear. You could be a startup owner, creative entrepreneur, agency owner or an angel investor – whoever you are – Say it. Declare it. Announce it. But do it in a way that highlights the one biggest benefit you offer, the one big problem you solve for your prospects.
Highlight the outcome of your product or service. You are in business for a reason. You work hard for that one purpose – to help your clients. But a majority of the homepage copy found online barely scratch the surface of communicative marketing.
Explain the outcome and let the message sink in. Let them relate, imagine, desire and own the outcome. Then, they’re ready to buy.
Offer an incentive. A homepage without an incentive is a waste of your online real estate. You are letting your hot leads slip away in a snap instead of catalyzing the opportunity to bring them closer to your brand.
Show them what it’s like to work with you. Let them taste your work. At first, give immense value. And then give some more. This goes without saying.
Include conversion metrics in your testimonials, include real stats from real people and bring the number game on. This makes your prospects trust you more. It’s like feeling safe to get treated by the same doctor who treated your uncle earlier rather than landing up in a certain Dr. Strange’s office. It’s pure human psychology at work.
Optimizing your homepage is easy. You just have to make sure you’re checking the above list.
Writing with clarity is all about designing your idea to be simple, comprehensible and memorable.
Today, you’ll learn:
The exact process to attain clarity before you start writing
Exercises to strengthen your message
How to play with adverbs to make your writing more powerful
What’s the one thing you need to write with clarity
Your ability to break an idea into simpler sub-ideas that help the reader to absorb the information easily is writing with clarity. It’s having clarity of thought.
To write clearly, your mind should watch your thoughts slow down, sit and settle. It’s like snorkeling. Too many suspended particles affect your visibility. So you wait for the water to settle down. Likewise, to write with clarity, you should wait, think and understand clearly.
Understanding an idea happens in 3 stages:
Acknowledge – Giving the idea a thought and taking the liberty to agree/disagree to it.
Organize – Logical structuring of your ideas with the help of a clear goal and outline to steer your writing.
Mapping – Drawing relevance. This is where all the connection happens. The place where you say – “Makes sense!” Example: Connecting the subheadings to the main idea so that you don’t deviate from the subject and stay focused.
Without the above steps, it becomes impossible to bring your ideas to life.
If you follow the above process, you can bring clarity to your writing — one sentence at a time.
How to strengthen your message
To write is human, to edit is divine. – Stephen King
You need not struggle to whip up a fantastic piece the very first time. It’s the editing that energizes your first draft and turns it into something more powerful.
6 kickass tips to strengthen your message:
Use power words that evoke a feeling, emotion or stimulate a response
Kill your favorite sentence mercilessly if you think it confuses your reader
Eliminate filler words
Carry out several rounds of edit to make sure your writing is clear, has a flow and gets to the point quickly
Replace big words with simple, smaller and unambiguous words.
Replace adverbs with stronger, better verbs.
Let’s see how to play with adverbs in the following section.
How to use adverbs smartly
If you are using an adverb, you have got the verb wrong. – Kingsley Amis
Because adverbs weaken your writing by sucking the energy out of a phrase. Adverbs make your writing bleak and powerless which bores the reader.
But how do you avoid using adverbs? By replacing (adverb + verb) with a better verb.
She sighed irritatingly in pain and despair.
She groaned in pain and despair.
What sounds better to you?
In the second example, the better verb is doing a better job. It just sounds good. And writing well is all about sounding good.
But there are times when adverbs are a must to set the context. Sometimes, you’ve got to describe your verb more accurately to narrate the situation. And these are the only times you should pledge to use adverbs to make your writing stronger – to read your emotion.
The company urged the employees to avoid misusing the resources.
This sentence implies that the employees are/were/could be irresponsible in using the resources and hence the company issued a notice.
The company urged the employees to use the resources sparingly.
The above sentence sets the context. Why did they mention sparingly? Is the company running losses? Are they running out of resources? Is replenishing their resources becoming a big problem? The readers put on their thinking caps instantly and that’s exactly what you want as a writer.
You see – one adverb could imply so much more meaning when used smartly. So, choose your adverbs wisely.
When your message is clear, you naturally attract followers who’re eager to hear and learn from you. They listen to you and you matter to them. This is how you build authority with clear messaging.
Questions on clear messaging? Let’s figure it out in the comments!
If it’s a physical product, they want to know exactly what it’s made of.
If it’s a service, they want to know what they get.
If it’s a solution, they want to know how it works.
Once they know the details, they’re ten times more likely to buy from you.
Now, why does this work?
The ever-curious human mind stops releasing the stress hormone, cortisol, the moment it understands that you are in a familiar environment.
By giving out the exact details of working with you, you’re creating a safe, future environment for the reader by telling the reader’s brain that:
You’re in a safe, familiar environment
You’re with someone who knows how you feel and empathizes with you
You can stop being in the fight-or-flight mode
Marketing is about understanding your audience, empathizing with them and inviting them to know more about your offer – nothing more, nothing less.
You’re here to talk about how you can free your audience from that big fat suffering that’s been hindering their growth and transformation.
How to keep your audience thinking about what you said
The reason you remember the story from the movie you watched when you were 10 but not the history lesson is because you mirrored and experienced the emotions played in the movie.
How you can use this technique to win your audience over:
Pinpoint your audience’s exact pain points and address that in your copy
Identify with their fears and anxieties and acknowledge that in your copy
Promise the desired outcome (and deliver it in your product please)
What not to do in your copy
Okay, if you don’t keep the conversation going between you and your reader, the connection dies.
So, make your reader feel heard, understood and important.
This is how you roll:
It is when you DON’T make them feel zoned out – they start relating to you.
It is when you DON’T make them feel like a faceless speck from the masses – they start valuing you.
It is when you make them feel understood – the chemistry of liking strikes.
So it all boils down to understanding your reader. Inside out.
When you synthesize your audience’s thoughts that they find difficult to express, you win their trust.
When your audience feelunderstood, they take the first step toward trusting you and believing in what you have to say. This tells them that you know where they’re coming from – a point of stress and struggle – a point that YOU have surpassed – a point in place they want to be
How to develop a memorable voice and brand personality through copywriting
Now that you know what to say, let’s focus on how you say it.
Your voice is nothing but your thought process – how you identify what to say and when.
Your tone is the language and mood and feelings you use to convey the message.
I’ve always loved Mailchimp copy. And you know what makes readers love Mailchimp? The tone. It’s easy, flowy and minimalistic. Notice the adjectives I used to describe the tone? That’s how you develop a personality around your brand.
Look at this example here.
The above form makes it want to sign up and see how easy it can actually be to get started with a Mailchimp account. You too, right?
That’s the magic of having a distinct voice and tone. People actually listen to you speak.
You too can develop a tone. Let’s run through these examples quickly to find out how.
1. People are addicted to cell phones.
2. Smart screen toxicity is harming youngsters.
What sounds more vivid and powerful to you? 1 or 2?
The first statement is normal that uses everyday words.
But the second one? It’s exactly pointing out who it’s harming the most – the youngsters. What is harming? – Smart Screen Toxicity. It’s done in an unconventional manner – yet without using any jargons that a layman wouldn’t understand. That’s how you develop a voice.
How not to sound in your copy
Let’s get straight to the point.
Don’t sound like you and your competitor are cut from the same cloth
Be different but never be inappropriate
Think aloud, but don’t harm
Don’t force/coax/pressurize/confuse your readers
Don’t limit user personas to a set of demographic data but also care about your audience’s tastes, traits, and behavior in as much.
Don’t talk. Make a statement.
Okay, these are the 6 big tips to follow every time you start with a copywriting project.
To practice, today you go back and pick a page of copy.
Rewrite the page by applying the tips and techniques you read just now and tell me how you feel about it at the end of the exercise 🙂
Your prime offer isn’t selling because you’re not communicating your brilliance.
How do you describe what you do in one powerful sentence?
It so happens sometimes – you either narrate a boringly lengthy story or you go blank, right?
Don’t worry. It has happened to the best of us.
This happens when you haven’t delved enough to understand your brand.
Hang on and you’ll learn how to dissect your brand and come up with the core branding statements that help you rise above the noise and command premium prices.
How to write your USP
The purpose of your messaging strategy is to help you be differentiable so that your prospects pick you over your competition.
Many business owners find it difficult to come up with a compelling USP. This happens because they’re busy joining the race. They want to do what their competitors are doing instead of identifying their unique angle.
What is your unique angle?
You can identify your unique angle when you accept your strengths and weaknesses wholeheartedly and build from there.
What it means is, elevate your strengths and complement your weaknesses to build a powerful brand.
For example, if you’re good at strategizing growth but have no idea how to create content, you should focus on strategizing growth and let someone else take care of content.
The goal is to become extremely and especially good at the ONE thing you love to do. That is your unique angle.
Now take your unique angle and create your USP.
The purpose of your USP is to build a reputation for your brand or reinforce your preexisting brand reputation.
The formula to writing your USP
Your USP describes the purpose, goals, and benefits of working with your company.
Your USP = Who you are + What you do + For whom + Why it is beneficial + How you do it
Let me dissect my own USP.
I’m a copywriter and brand strategist for thriving businesses looking to amplify their influence by expressing their innovativeness.
Who you are + What you do = I’m a copywriter and brand strategist
For whom = For thriving businesses
Benefits = Amplify your influence
How you do it = By expressing your innovativeness
Your turn. Write down your USP with the above formula.
Let’s move on to writing your mission statement.
How to write your mission statement
Your mission statement describes how you put your USP into action. How you differentiate your work from the others. What is the core function that makes your business what it is, what is it that you actually do? Describe this in one sentence.
Let’s take Content Primer’s mission statement as an example.
Our mission is to help businesses/organizations communicate their ideas + express their innovativeness without the stress and struggle.
Don’t overthink this one. Because your mission is the very reason you started your business. It’s your primary purpose. Write it down.
How to write your vision statement
How is your vision statement different from your mission statement?
Your mission is – what you do.
Your vision is – why you do what you do.
Your vision statement talks about your aspirations whereas your mission statement specifies what you do in the present and how you do it.
Your vision statement tells the reader WHERE you want to be, what inspired the founding of your company, and what’s the idea that sparked the realization and growth of your brand. Write it one sentence.
Content Primer’s vision is to connect like-minded entrepreneurs who bring about their developmental ideas together to improvise world affairs.
Your turn. Write down your vision statement keeping your company’s place in the future in mind.
How to beat your competition – Carve your identity
When you compete based on the value you are providing to your client/customer, price becomes irrelevant. At this point, you may not believe it because money is everything, right?
I’ll tell you how and why you with a well-known example.
You subscribe for Amazon Kindle membership even though you barely read a book.
It’s all about the offer being presented.
Tell me this.
What is more valuable?
You get to read unlimited books for $10/month
Buy a book for $5 each
What is more valuable? Obviously the first option right? If you’re a bookworm who gulps in 2 books per week, the first offer is a steal deal. Even if you want to read just three books per month, the offer is a no-brainer and your natural instinct is to go subscribe.
Got my point?
Now, did you see how price became irrelevant? You chose the more valuable offer even though the unlimited subscription model is priced at thrice the average price. This is when price becomes just a number.
Increase the value of your package to create a juicy offer that sells itself.
Creating irresistible offers that bundle up relevant products/services is a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
What’s one thing you bought because the offer was too good to be ignored? tell me in the comments. even better if you can share the link for the offer. If you need further help crafting the core statements that define your company’s identity, we’re happy to help you.
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