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TOC #124: Idk How To Explain This So You'll Get It...
(May 9, 2023) How To Get People To "GET IT"
I’m really exposing myself right now, but I pay almost three thousand dollars in rent.
And because I pay so much G.D. money for where I live, I’m determined to use all of the amenities.
So, when I’m feeling particularly Squirrel, I’ll go down to The Clubhouse—aka the pretentiously named leasing office that happens to have a room with some places to sit, a ping pong table, and a TV—for a change of scenery in my work day.
On this particularly squirrelly afternoon, I decided The Clubhouse would be the perfect place for me to (hopefully) tap into the zone of genius that would allow me to write the best blog posts in the history of forever for Showit.
…and, of course, the second I finally caught the groove, and my brain actually decided to cooperate on this 25,000+ word project for a big-deal client, I hear the Clubhouse door squeak open.
In come two little sets of Croc-clad feet, running straight for the ping pong table.
Sure, whatever, they deserve to use the amenities, too, I guess. Not sure why you gremlins aren’t in school at 1pm on a Monday, but pop off.
A couple minutes into me trying to remain calm throughout the bounce, bounce, bounce, SCREAM, of the ping pong game behind me, I hear their dad say:
“Ugh, come on man, put your socks and shoes on,” to his toddler.
And if you’ve ever met a toddler, you already know what he asked next.
The dad, obviously exasperated from what I’m assuming was an entire morning—and probably lifetime—of questions, exhaled a long, deep sigh.
(Let me tell you, I felt that sigh in my bones.)
“I don’t know how to explain it to you so you understand,” he said, completely defeated.
They continued to have a conversation about why socks go with shoes, and why socks exist at all, and why you can't walk around barefoot in public, and how the Clubhouse isn't the same as their house, and why the whole apartment complex isn't all one big house, and… you get the picture.
Then, he ended their conversation (and their time in the Clubhouse, because the no-shoe, no-sock battle was enough to send them home) with the most iconic Dad Quote of all time:
“It’s just the rule, man, I don’t make ‘em. Life makes ‘em, alright?”
As soon as I started eavesdropping on this dad's fight with his toddler, I knew it I had to use it to tell you about the #1 biggest frustration people have when people writing their own copy:
“I don't know how to say it in a way that people will understand!”
…but I think the issue is a little deeper than that.
Most of the time, you likely *do* know how to say it in a way that they'll understand—you just think you have to Be Professional and Use Big, Fancy Words to say it in a way that Sounds Very Proper.
Sooo0o0o0o0o many times, I've heard my clients tell me “I wish I could just say…” or “what I'm trying to say is…” or “so I want to tell them that…”
& my response is always the same:
Just say that, then.
Like, seriously. Just say that. Say the simple, direct, not-buttoned-up thing. That's how people actually talk! That's what people WANT to read!
No one wants to read some fluffy Runaround Sue description of something when it could be summed up—in a way they actually understand and resonate with—using just a few words.
Here, I'll give you an example:
I'm going to explain what I do for work in two ways. You tell me which one sounds better.
Option #1 - Contrary to popular belief, copyright and copywriting are two different fields of expertise. A copyrighter is a person who secures copyrights. I am a copywriter, which means that I am an experienced professional writer specializing in the strategic crafting of text used in marketing and promotional materials for service-based business owners. This type of written content is often used to persuade a person or group as well as raise brand awareness.
Option #2 - I write words that sell things.
If you don't conclude that “option two” is the best, then, good for you; you're someone who has a lot of time to spare. That's lovely.
Most people aren't like you.
Most people, when they're reading a line of copy, want to immediately understand it, so they can determine whether or not it's relevant to them (or beneficial for them), so they can then move on to the next line of copy—or “x” out and move on to something else that may actually capture their attention.
Now, because I know “just say it, then!” may not suffice as enough advice for you, we'll go a little deeper.
Here are a few easy ways to figure out how to make your readers GET IT:
#1 - Simplify everything. When I have kickoff calls with my clients, I ask them to tell me about their business / what they do, then I literally say “explain it to me like I'm stupid.”
#2 - Think about the way your readers speak. Not sure how they talk / which phrases they use / how comfortable they are with certain industry terms? Think about who your ideal client is, find them on social, then read through their posts or interact with them.
#3 - Consider their stage of awareness. This really changes the “what” of your message. There are 5 different stages of awareness, but chances are your audience is either Problem Aware (they know they have a problem, but not how to solve it), or Solution Aware (they know which solution they need, but are deciding where to get it).
The reason this influences your content so much is because you're going to say different things to a Problem Aware audience than you are to a Solution Aware audience.
Let's use my lovely friend Fran as an example. She's a Dubsado Specialist.
If her readers were Problem Aware, that would mean that they know they don't want to waste their time manually onboarding, offboarding, sending questionnaires and invoices and proposals, scheduling, etc., but they don't know that a CRM can help them automate all of those tasks, or that people exist to help you set up your CRMs.
So, she'd spend time telling them about what a CRM is, why Dubsado is a great choice, and the benefits of automations.
If her readers were Solution Aware, she'd spend time telling them about why she is the best person to help them, because she's certain they already know the benefits of using a CRM.
#4 - Take the time to care. This is an essential step that a lot of people unfortunately skip.
Taking the time to really get to know your ideal client or customer is so essential in being able to simplify your message for them, so you can say things in a way they can easily comprehend and resonate with.
You won't be able to convince someone to take your desired action if they don't know what the hell you're saying.
& you won't be able to figure out how to communicate with them if you don't know what they want from you, how much they know about your solution to their problem, and how the hell they talk.
And there you have it: my 4 simple tips for writing copy that people will effortlessly understand.
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If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:
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