How many times a day do you see websites with headlines such as:
- Create the life of your dreams!
- It’s time to break free of the hustle!
- I’ll teach you how to live an extraordinary life!
- Discover your greatness!
Chances are you hear them so much you tune them out.
Because here’s the thing: They’re so vague that their meaning gets lost.
What does a “life of your dreams” look like?
What does “breaking free” of the hustle even mean?
What’s an extraordinary life?
And what kind of “greatness” are we talking about?
These questions need answers if you’re going to reach the people who would benefit from your services.
- Doing this requires specificity (a word much easier to write than it is to say).
People tend to use these vague terms either when they haven’t honed in on their exact reader / audience, or they’re trying to appeal to everyone.
As Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers says, “It’s not about saying as much as you can as quickly as possible.”
In other words, when you try to appeal to everyone you appeal to no one.
What does a “life of your dreams” look like, anyway?
— Never working because you have millions in the bank?
— Sitting on a desert island sipping umbrella drinks?
— Being able to afford a private chef? Personal trainer?
— Or being able to take a nap every afternoon?
And what about “It’s time to break free of the hustle!”
— What kind of hustle? Pool hustle? Side hustle?
— What does breaking free look like?
— How do I know it’s “time”?
What’s an extraordinary life?
— One that lets you travel the world?
— Help other people?
— Enables you to walk a high wire across the Grand Canyon?
… and so on.
Summarizing sounds like a good idea. But being too general is like casting a huge net and hoping to catch one, rare blue lobster.
If you want to hone in on your specific audience, you need to get specific with your copy. (Duh, I know. But sometimes the obvious solutions aren’t so cut and dry.)
This requires dusting off that excess fluff and uncovering the details that make your words pop.
Help readers visualize how your offer or service works in their life.
Try this step-by-step to add a dash of specificity and interest to your copy…
- Let’s start with your draft. Take an email, website page or other copy you’ve already written.
- Highlight any place where you could probably be more specific. Think of the examples I gave above.
Look for any parts that are summarized.
One way to know? You lean on clichés. Or phrases people expect or ones you’ve heard other people use.
√ In place of phrases such as “helped improve” or “increased” use actual numbers:
“Our [amazing offer] doubled the number of sign-ups.”
… Or “decreased time by 30%!”
√ Create visual words to create stories
Instead of “life of your dreams” try:
Build a life …
- … where working afternoons is an option
- … you take off three months every year
- … you can work remotely from any part of the world
- … your dog is your only officemate
Get the idea?
And for the actual copy, paint a word picture:
Imagine lying on a hammock overlooking a sandy beach… a gentle breeze brushes over your face as you sip your Mai Tai and consider whether or not you want to take the afternoon off…
How would you do the same for “get rid of the hustle!”
√ Continue with all your copy, asking yourself, “Can I get more specific here?”
Getting into the habit of bringing in details and coloring them up with word pictures puts people in that mood.
Then show them how your product or offer can give them that feeling?
If you’re struggling with copy that isn’t sparkly and effervescent, try these tips and let me know how you do.
Got questions? Shoot an email to Linda@LindaMeloneWrites.com and I’ll get back to ya.
Now go kick vague copy to the curb.