So today is the first copy coaching episode with me. I’m going to be talking about what you need to think about before you get started with any piece of content. I mean, sure, you could just pick up a pen or get stuck into a piece of content on your laptop. But if you’re wanting to create copy that really connects with your audience, here are three key things to consider.
First up, what is the purpose of this piece of writing? So, I really want you to take a moment to consider, Why are you writing what you’re writing? Is it to introduce something? Is it to sell something? To promote something? To educate on a topic? What is it for? So, this is going to help you to decide on the content. What fits for this particular piece of writing and what doesn’t align. Particularly when you get to the editing stages, it will help you decide, is this something that stays in this piece? Or is it really more suited to something else?
The second thing to think about is who is the audience? Is it an audience that’s known to you? Like your email list or unknown? Like if you’re writing for a publication? What’s their age? What’s some other information about them? Once you’ve had a really good think about who’s going to be reading this piece of content, I really want you to keep them front of mind. And for me, I tend to choose one particular person to have in my mind, and I think that I’m writing something just for them.
Thirdly, what is the platform? So, for instance, is it print or online? Because people consume content very differently on each. When we read things online, for instance, we tend to scan and skim rather than if we read in print where we tend to read more detail. Email list versus a piece of marketing collateral or a social media platform. You know, you’re going to be writing differently depending on what the platform is. If it is for your website, the style may vary. The tone may also vary between platforms. If you consider for example, Instagram versus LinkedIn, Instagram has more of a casual social feel. You might use a few extra emojis versus LinkedIn, which does have a bit more of a professional feel about it. The way that you write to your own email list is completely different to how you would write for a completely cold audience.
Once you’ve decided on these three things, the purpose, the audience and the platform, it could be helpful to make some notes at the top of your page just to keep yourself on track.
Now, I want to give you an example of how this activity has really helped me in the past. So about 18 months ago – and if you do scroll back far enough on my Instagram account, you’ll see this for yourself – I had zero social media strategy. I was going for random, when-I-felt-like-it type posts, which honestly wasn’t very often. And the problem was that they didn’t really speak to anyone in particular, because they were written in a kind of void and part of that was because I hadn’t done the brand work yet for my business. I was still getting clear on my story and positioning and what I wanted to say. A lot of it was around feeling like I just didn’t have much to say yet. And a lot of that was tied up with the fact that I didn’t know who I was talking to. What I realised was that I really needed to get clarity on who my audience on the platform of Instagram was and really think about who was engaging with me and the kinds of content that might resonate with those people. Even if it was a small group, I wanted the audience to feel really engaged and for them to get a lot of value from the content.
So through the process of considering firstly, the purpose of the content, which was to provide useful content and also to build connection, to the audience, and the platform, I mapped out my content strategy. So now when I sit down to write, I picture a single member of my Instagram community – a different one depending on what I’m writing perhaps – but then I write just for them. And it’s really given me a renewed sense of purpose for creating this kind of content and I’m so much more likely to show up for it.
So to wrap, by getting clear on these three things before you start writing a single word – the purpose, the platform and the audience – you’ll probably find you write in a much more focused and deliberate way. And you’ll also end up with content that’s way more likely to resonate with your audience. I’d love to know how you go.
I really hope you found this useful. Please go ahead and screenshot and share the episode on Instagram tagging me @emmamcmillancopy. Episode Three is an interview episode which I’m super excited to share with you and then I’ll be back for another coaching episode in Episode Four.