#153: Secrets to Becoming Your Own Best Copywriter

Did you ever think that by becoming a health coach you were also going to have to be a writer? Crazypants! But between emails, blog posts, social media and client materials, copywriting is a valuable skill that will save time and increase your impact. In this episode Michelle shares her best secrets for writing words people actually want to read. You can also get Michelle’s free training, “How To Earn a Full Time Salary as a Health Coach” at https://healthcoachpower.com/earn.

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Hello, health coaches. Nice to see you again. Thank you for joining me today. If you're inside our health coach power community Facebook group, you know that I'm always asking a similar question over and over and over. I'm always like, what do you need help with? Tell me. What do you need the most support with? I mean, that's what I'm here for, right?

Recently, one of our members, Kristen, she's, she's actually also a member of Healthy Profit University, and she said something like Michelle, all of your copy always sounds great, but it's kind of hard for me to write like that. Can you help? And I said, yeah, I can definitely help with that. And so I decided today, I'm going to share my very best secrets for writing words that people actually want to read. You know, that's a thing. You know, how much marketing everybody comes across every day? Just even in a quick scroll on their social media, how many things they may or may not read?

Why do they want to read yours? I am very happy to talk about this because without adequate writing skills, it can be really difficult to market yourself or to feel confident putting yourself out there. And of course, if you don't do that, you're not going to find the clients. So just think about it. We've got emails that we have to write. We've got blog posts, we've got social media posts, we got sales pages. Maybe you need to hang a flyer, even something as simple as a flyer or put together a packet for your next detox group, right? Writing comes up again and again and again in all different forms. Now, to be honest with you, my background in advertising definitely gives me an advantage here. I learned a ton working alongside some of the industry's best copywriters, you know, in my previous life, when I was still in the ad agencies.

So today I'm going to share some of those golden nuggets too. If you're here, live, please ask questions as we go along. That's why I do these things live. And then I'm going to leave time at the end to take your questions. Cause I know you have them, especially about this topic. This episode is brought to you by my free on-demand training. It's called how to turn health coaching into a full-time salary. If you've been struggling to market yourself effectively and find those clients, this is for you. And you're going to want to head over to healthcoachpower.com/earn and sign up today. Again, that is healthcoachpower.com/earn, E A R N.

So, when I was talking with some health coaches about this issue of copywriting, I quickly realized that we have two main problems and tell me, or think to yourself, which of these, this is the larger problem for you? Is it when you sit down to write, is it knowing what you want to say? What you're even talking about, kind of knowing what the content should be, or is it more about, you know, what you said, you know what you're going to say, but you can't make it sound good. You're not able to put the words together in a way that flows and sounds interesting. And you're getting hung up on the actual copywriting, right? So there's a difference here, coming up with an idea for your blog post or knowing what sort of content you're going to put on social media. Like that's not a writing skill per se, or that's more of a strategy. That's a strategic decision. So, let's say that you're interested in working with women who are going through menopause and maybe you even have a program designed to help relieve menopausal symptoms.

So when it comes to writing your next blog post, you better believe that your topic should be something specific to menopausal women, right? That would be the start of a strategy for what content you're going to write about. You wouldn't just pick a wellness topic out of the sky. I'm going to write about drinking more water, right? You're going to start with, what do I want to achieve? Oh, well I want these menopausal women to sign up for my program, right? Eventually. So I'm going to write content for them, right? That's the start of strategy. Back when I worked in the agencies, um, I was in the creative department. So I was an art director and I worked hand in hand with a copywriter. So we were a team and for each project, here's what would happen. We would get a brief from account services and they would write up a brief that told us what the ad needed to be about.

You know, like there's a sale on Caribbean cruises, something like that, whatever the message was. And then it was up to us and the creative department to make it look good, sound good and grab somebody's attention. I'm not going to say that one is harder than the other, but these are two distinct problems. So if you're stuck with what to write about, or Christie's saying here, that her problem is knowing what people want to hear. Okay. Um, right. Does anybody want to hear that there's a sale on Caribbean cruises? Probably not, right/ So we have like the actual business goal that we need to achieve with whatever it is that we're writing our email or social posts. And then, uh, you know, we have how we're going to make that sound appealing to somebody. So, if you have a problem with the former, with knowing what to write, what topic am I going to pick?

What should I even put into this email newsletter? The good news is you don't have a copywriting problem. There you go. You're probably a great writer. You just don't know what you want to say. Strategy problem. Even the very best copywriters need to know what they're writing about. Like, you can't write something effectively, if you don't know what you're trying to achieve with this piece of writing. So again, strategy problem, or it's really like a lack of strategy problem. If you're sitting down to write and you're like, oh, you know, I just need some inspiration. I'm having writer's block. You're not, you're not. This isn't a creative writing. We're not writing books with characters and plot development and creating storylines that unique creative inspiration for that. When you sit down to write for your marketing or for your business, if you are feeling stuck, you're feeling that writer's block 99% of the time.

It's because you don't actually know what message you're trying to put out there. Like, cause that's the, that's the hard part. I think that's really the hard part as where most people are getting stuck. So I wanted to say that right off the bat and tell me if that resonates with you at all. Okay. So let's say that you, you do know the message that you want to get across. You know, maybe that menopause program that you've got, maybe it's ready to launch and you need to announce it to your email list, or you need to announce that on social media, but every time you start writing about your program, it sounds boring. Or it sounds salesy, oh, the worst or sounds really cheesy. Or like Christy's saying, it's not what people want to hear. They don't want to hear that you have a menopause program.

Nobody cares, right? Like you care because it's your business, but that's not what they want to hear. This is a copywriting problem. So my first secret to share with you is that stories are incredibly, incredibly valuable in your writing and the more detailed and specific your story is the better. So in this case, like you wouldn't want to write, you know, how some women experience menopausal symptoms and gosh, darn it. They hate those hot flashes. Don't say that instead. You would want to tell a story about how your grandmother Helen used to go to bed in rollers. And she would tie a piece of kitchen twine from her ceiling fan to her bed post so that she could easily yank on the fan and turn it back off and turn it back on again in the middle of the night, when she got her flashes and boy, wouldn't she be thrilled by today's remote-control fans and potentially curling irons.

Right? That is a much more interesting story, much more relatable. Do you know anybody like that? Do you remember your grandmother doing something like that? Or your mother suddenly you're like, oh yeah, my great aunt, nor am I used to do the same thing with the fan, or maybe you remember those curlers that your mom used to wear. Right? So even a short story or an antidote anecdote brings a topic to life. It makes it way more interesting. It can be almost anything and it doesn't feel like somebody is selling to you when they share a story like that. Now I would love to do a little on the fly demonstration of how this can work. So tell me in the comments, if you're here live. So, let's see if we can get some stories out of you guys, something funny, something interesting or weird or strange that happened in your life.

In the past couple of days, it could be anything. It doesn't have to be wild and crazy and hilarious, right? Like, um, something that happened to me for the first time in over a year was that this past weekend I got to go to a restaurant with my friends and I didn't need to put a mask on at all, not even to enter the establishment. Right. It was an amazing feeling to just be out and among faces and be able to see smiles. And I realized that I might start wearing lip gloss again in an unmasked post pandemic world. Right? So that's just like something notable that happened to me in the last couple of days. Give me something like that. Maybe we can get one of your examples, if not, I'll use my own example. But the idea here is that we all have stories and they don't have to be these like incredible life altering events or something that you write about.

They can be sort of mundane or every day, but interesting, nonetheless, because other people are having that same situation. Like maybe you're also in a part of the country that just this past weekend, you got to go out somewhere without your mask on for the first time in a year. Right? So where can we get stories from, to use in our marketing materials? I would suggest first and foremost, from your life, you can talk about something that happened recently. And you can also talk about something that happened a long, long time ago when you were a kid five years old, whatever you got stories, you got your whole life's worth of stories to tell. So that right there should be like an endless supply, but you can also tell stories about your friends, your family members, you know, things that are going on and their lives.

You might want to change their name or get permission first, right? But, no harm, no foul if I talk about, you know, how my mom used to make eggplant parmesan and blah, blah, blah, right? You can, you can just pull things out of their lives as well. You can also share stories from your clients' lives. Now, in this case, you would definitely want to change names or get permission or change names and get permission. But sometimes our clients have really more than sometimes, often our clients have really, really interesting stories that go on in their lives. And if you want to find another client like this one, you want to talk about your best clients. So other people who are like that are attracted to what you have to say. So share your client's stories. And you might even be able to share stories from the news world events, history, right?

Like it doesn't have to be a personal story. You can say back in 1896 blahbity blah happened. I don't know a story about that, but maybe you do. And that can be another way to share something that's interesting and then relate it to the message that you're actually trying to get across. Okay. So that is the key you're like, how can I tell a story about 1896 and then connect that to my menopause program. That is the key connecting whatever story you're sharing your humorous relatable anecdote to the message that you're trying to get across. And with some practice, you will find that even a story that is completely unrelated to menopause can be connected. And there's some common thread that you can find from the story that you're telling and why someone would want to check out your new menopausal program. Right. But again, this takes practice.

So, I think in the beginning, it's easiest. If you use stories that you already can tell, like what the connection is. Like I shared a story about my grandmother, who, by the way, her name was Helen. And she really did use that kitchen twine to pull on her ceiling fan. Right. That one is very much related to menopause, but it dealt with, I'm trying to say is if you're, you're like, I don't have a story about that. You can use any story at all. So for example, I'll use my story that I shared earlier about how I didn't have to wear a mask this weekend. Well, what was really great about that now that I think about it is having a mask in the summertime is really hot and you forgot, I kind of forgot all winter long, how hot I felt or how hot it was in the summer to wear a mask.

Because in the winter time it was no big deal, but this past weekend it was rather warm out. And the fact that I didn't have to wear a mask was amazing, right? And I, I think I could relate that to how my mom said that once you hit menopause, she no longer wore a scarf. Like she was a kind of like eighties woman who always wore like a big, like beautiful scarf blouse kind of thing. And she lost that fashion style real quick when she hit menopause, she's like, I don't want anything tied around my neck. So, I kind of understand that overheating feeling because I would have felt that with a mask this weekend. Okay. So those are two stories, like two things that were totally unrelated mask wearing at restaurants and a menopause program. But I found a way to connect them and you can do the same, right?

But to make it easy on yourself, try to start with stories that actually are related in their content. Okay. So that is one tip for you. This can work beautifully for your blog posts. This could work beautifully in your newsletters and your social media posts. All of that does much better when you're sharing a story and they don't have to be long. It can be like two sentences. One paragraph we're not talking about writing like a five page story. Nobody's going to get through all of that. You just want to talk about something that is interesting and relatable upfront. Okay. Here's another thing that I learned. This is one I learned from working with professional copywriters. So, whenever we have to write a headline and your headline might be like on your sales page, or you could even think about a headline for an email, which would be your subject line, right?

It's the thing that somebody is going to see first or the very first line of your Instagram posts can kind of be considered a headline because it's, again, the first thing that somebody reads, you have got a split second to get their attention. So that first thing they see, it's either going to hook them or not. And they're just going to keep scrolling or they're just going to keep walking by. So for example, you wouldn't want an email subject line or the very first line of your social media posts to be. I just launched my menopause program because as I mentioned earlier, nobody cares. They just don't right? Like, unless you are a super famous pop star and you just released a new album, and then you could probably say, I just released a new album and then all your fans are going to go crazy.

But for the most part, as health coaches, our readers do not care about that. And they always have in the back of their minds. And this is true for everyone. Like anytime that you're open up emails or you're reading the circular that came in the mail for the local store, you're always thinking what's that you did it for me. What's in it for me. Write that down. That's what your reader is always thinking in the back of their mind. What's in it for me. So a better subject line might be make those hot flashes stop already or something less straight, but intriguing enough, the reader to want to keep reading and find out what you're talking about. Like maybe it just says I'm drenched in sweat. Right? I could see either of those working as a headline or as a first-line or as a subject line that would make someone go, oh, I wonder what she's talking about.

Oh, can I make these hot flashes stop? Right? Like it's, it's enough that you lead them to read the second line. And that's what they would always say. They say the headline is simply to get somebody to read the next line. The second line is to get them to read the third line. And you're just trying to get them down to the part where there's a call to action. And your call to action might be read my latest blog, post DM me and, you know, let's set up a time to chat and be a free consultation. It could be click here and join my menopause program.

Okay, here is another tip secret. I have figured out through the years that makes your writing sound so much more interesting. Tell me if you're already doing something like this, by the way. Can you write the way that you talk? When you do this... And one way to practice is to actually like, put that put down the pen don't type anything, and just talk and record yourself and then write down exactly what you said when you were speaking and the way that you said it, right? So, when we speak, we don't worry. Perfect grammar, right? Or like having all the punctuation just right. When you write, you can do the same thing we write, you can make it sound like your voice. You can use expressions, you can use made up words. You can use run-on sentences. It doesn't matter. Your high school, English teacher is not grading this. So, that is a really important way of writing I think for health coach, because ultimately at the end of the day, we are selling someone on the idea of working with us personally. We're not like a brand. We're not like writing for Nike.

You know, we're a Nike shoes. Like they don't, they don't talk they're, they're not animate things, but we are reselling our services as coaches. So someone can connect with you and start to get to know you based on how you talk and the expressions that you use and your mannerisms and speech and things like that. So try to help that come across in your writing by perhaps speaking it out loud, right. Just try to get casual with it. It's not all like, oh, I'm serious in front of a computer right now. And I have a blank screen in front of me and I have to type that's so stiff. It's not going to come out. Try some, maybe you write with a pen on paper. Maybe you're recording yourself. Maybe you're speaking out loud, say it to somebody else, say it to a friend, have them be that sounding board so that it feels more natural.

And this is a wonderful way to infuse your voice, your voice into your writing. You know, something else that I do that I think really helps with my writing is I read, I think we're always telling this to kids, right? Like if you read, you're going to be a better writer and it's still true. You even as adults, when I say read good writing, I don't necessarily mean Shakespeare. Although maybe, right? Like I read a little, a lot of fiction. And when you're reading, I think your brain just absorbs different ways of saying things and it comes out in your writing, but you can also be careful about the marketing copy that you're reading. Like who do you subscribe to? Do you subscribe to people who are marketing themselves and marketing their services and their products in a way that's like salesy and cheesy chances are you're going to like accidentally subconsciously regurgitate that?

And your copy is going to sound salesy and cheesy. So I love following different industry leaders. It doesn't have to be in the health and wellness space at all, but people who are doing their own writing, they're selling their own stuff and read how they do it. Pay attention. What made me want to read this? Oh my God. When I see an email from that person, I always open it. Yeah. Who's in your inbox. Like that page attention to them pay attention to their subject lines, pay attention to the length of their emails and how they're structuring them. You know, I'm not saying you should copy it, but you can start to get as to what you like. What makes you read the first line that leads to the second line that leads to the third line.

Here are a few other ways to go about your writing. Okay. So everybody, every single health coach, all of us could write about, you know, eating more vegetables or eating more dark leafy greens, or drinking more water, just all those very, very basic topics. And you can write about those things too. But one thing that you might do is think of it in terms of how does this impact, or how is this most important to my target market and right from that perspective, right? From that person's perspective, why this is an interesting topic. And another thing you can do, you can think about that same basic health stuff. I mean, all of us are doing approximately the same thing. We're trying to get people to like eat less sugar and drink more water and move their bodies. Right? So, like, you might feel like you have nothing fresh to say, but maybe you can write about something.

I don't know. Something odd, something embarrassing either. Like no one else is saying, you know, like everyone says to drink more water. Well, you know, like I hate when I actually drink enough water because I tend to do it towards the end of the day. And then I'm up all night peeing. I don't know. That might be a lead in to a much more interesting blog article about hydration and also about sleep. You know, then simply saying, you're supposed to drink eight glasses of water every day and you could put a piece of fruit in it to make it taste better. And I'm like, talk about that, like embarrassing stuff, how you thought you almost peed your bed last night. You know, it's like, that's the kind of thing that's going to make someone laugh and feel like they can relate to you. Another thing you might do is call something out that you think is nonsense.

Like if you think something is BS and you can go on a little rant about it, you're very likely to tap into your voice. So as much as we always want to share, like tips and things that we do and things that we think are helpful, you know, when it comes to health and wellness and nutrition, what do you think is terrible? What do you think sucks? Like that makes a great topic. And I guarantee that when you start to rant on that a little bit, I'm going to hear more of your voice. I'm going to hear a more authentic message coming out of your mouth than when you're just like eat dark leafy greens, like kale and collards, you know, like call something out that you hate. Dana says, love all these tips. It's so true. We're all writing about the same thing. We need to put it in our own voice.

Yeah. And you do that by couching it within your own experience, right? Like the same thing, like the same topic. I don't know. Let me just think about something like using leftovers means something different to you. Diana. I can almost guarantee than it does to me. Like for example, using up leftovers, I just thought how now that I'm divorced and I only have my kids for part of the week leftovers don't go as fast as they used to. You know, I used to not be able to keep enough food in the house. And now I just made this like huge baked ziti the other day. And I put the entire half of the thing in the freezer because I was like, well, I don't know the next time that we're all going to sit down and eat this. So it's been very different. And that would be a great story to share.

If I were trying to attract clients who are also single parents or one person households, like how do you deal with leftovers when you're the only person eating. Right. So that be, that'd be very different if you were like a mom and you had five kids or you would have, you would tell that story very differently. Christie said, love that great advice. People love and respond to authenticity. All right. I'm glad that you liked this stuff, but how about some stories? You guys nobody's given me any stories, things that happened to you this week? What nothing happened to you? I don't believe in that for a second. What else did I want to tell you today? Ah, yes. And this is important. Any time I write anything, I might think I just put together the most interesting, engaging, hilarious email that I've ever written walk away.

And then I come back to it and nine times out of 10, I may have like four paragraphs that I can shorten to three paragraphs. Or I might have something that I'm saying in like two or three sentences and I can get it down to one sentence in marketing copy in particular, shorter is better. That doesn't mean at all. Always has to be short. It just means it should be as long as it has to be to get your message across and no longer, no extra words, no fluff. So if you can say it in five words, don't use 10 and that's where editing really, really helps. It even helps the look like when you get something on your screen and, you know, looking at an email for example, or you're looking at it on your phone when you see a lot of dense copy, whether you realize it or not, your brain's like, I don't want to read that.

Like that's just too much, you know, I'm going too fast. That's too much. And people are less likely to read it. But if, and it's succinct and it's interesting, you're more likely to get their attention. Okay. Chris is saying that she came back from vacation in Hawaii. So, she was trying to think of things to relate to that and she has a lot of pretty pictures to use. Well, that's great. It's always nice. If you can use pictures with your writing, of course, but that's, that's a topic for another day. I don't know. Let's say that you came back from vacation in Hawaii and you had to take a COVID test and they shoved that thing way up your nose, you know, so that's uncomfortable. And I bet there's a way that you could talk about how that's nothing to, how uncomfortable hot flashes are when you're getting them all day and all night, if you were selling that menopause program, do you know what I mean?

So you could take that story about Hawaii and see how I just did that. Like, you can find a common thread to connect it to the thing that you really want to talk about, because if all you do is email your list and set and say menopause program, this menopause program that it's too much selling and it's not enough relating. It's not, they lose that know like, and trust factor. Let me try another one of these. Janice says I lost my key on my walk, changed her whole schedule. Having to go look for it. 45 minutes later after I did my walk, three times, it was a lesson in taking a detour. Okay, let's see, I lost my key. And I had to go back and find it and took half my day. How do we connect that to menopause? Uh, took half my day.

I've got to think about that one. I'm starting to think something about being halfway through life. It took half your day. Maybe there's something about being halfway through life with, uh, I don't know what it is, but you do this. You start with something that happened to you. Something that people can relate to and try to tie it into what you're offering. I know maybe with menopause, you're feeling brain fog. You're forgetting things more easily, right? You can tie that into the story about losing your key and what a nightmare it can be when you lose half your day to having to backtrack your steps and figure out what the heck you're doing because your brain has been feeling foggy. See, there you go. I told you there was going to be something.

All right, you guys, this is all for today. I'm so glad that you could join me if you have other questions about copywriting, because actually I know I have several more in the group that I need to answer, and I just ran out of time for this episode, but you can always ask inside the group and I'm always happy to help you out there. Have a great rest of your week and I'll be back next time. I'll see you then.