Part 1: Record Yourself

Here’s a little known secret: even copywriters are afraid of the blank white screen. It’s true. No matter how long we’ve been producing content, figuring out how to start and making sure the content flows naturally from the first word to the last is daunting. To say the least. Over the years, we develop our own little tricks to increase our productivity when we sit down to write. Today, I want to share the first of 5 “hacks” I use to easily write follow-up emails. Before I jump into the first “hack”, I need to clarify that the emails I’m about to discuss with you are the long-term, relationship-building, I-feel-like-I-know-this-person type emails. (As opposed to “transactional” emails, which I discuss at length in another blog post.) Okay, so you’ve been sending emails out to your list. Your open rate is decent. You get some traction from your messages. But maybe you don’t feel like you’re connecting with your list quite the way you hoped to. These email hacks will help you write wonderful, heartfelt messages that cause your contacts to sit up and take notice. The first hack is this:

Record Yourself Talking and Transcribe It

When business owners get talking about themselves or their businesses, they naturally exuberate with passion. And what they say in those moments of self promotion are nuggets of gold. Nuggets that can be picked up and easily transformed into workable emails. When I was working as a freelance copywriter, I would ask business owners to tell me a little about their business. Then I would just sit back and listen. Every once in awhile, I would stop the client and say, “Did you hear what you just said? You just wrote your first email without even knowing it.” Some of my best work came from words I “stole” directly from the business owner I was working with. Let me show you how this works. I was working with a client who helps to reconnect parents with children that have been alienated from them as a result of divorce. I loved what this client had to say. And I felt her passion for what she does. So I asked the question, “Why would someone choose not to work with you after finding out what you do?” She gave me a detailed list of all the reasons parents, who are truly struggling, would pass on her services. Listening to her frustration over “losing” these parents, I was able to create an emotion-based email that started like this:
“In my role as a coach, I’ve had the great privilege of helping hundreds of families. And it’s the most incredible experience to see parents and children who have struggled to connect for years finally come together. But every once in awhile, individuals decide to pass on our services. Instead of letting us help them get out of the court system for good and reconnect with their children, they allow themselves to believe: This can’t last forever She/he wouldn’t do anything to hurt the children My kids will come around when they’re ready The judge will grant me custody because I’m the mom The list could go on and on. These are the lies hurting, desperate parents tell themselves simply to survive the day to day exhaustion.”

Start carrying around a recording device – or make sure you have a phone that can record long chunks of conversation. Whether you’re writing copy for yourself or for a client, you’ll find the spoken word almost always converts well into emails. Find the phrase or sentence that articulates a problem or identifies the value of the services or products you want to sell and base your email around it. Your contacts will feel the connection with you. And that conversation you had with someone else can come alive for them. Happy Writing!