What is Copy, Anyway? Do your clients know what you do?

Do your prospective clients know what you do? Or, have you ever been surprised by someone asking you something like “What is [insert your service], anyway?”  We’re so close to what we do, that we forget we frequently speak in jargon that our prospective clients don’t always understand. So today, we’re going to dig into not just what copy is, but also why it’s critical that you and your website explain what you do in layman’s terms.

Hiring Other People For Services

One of the things I love with discovery calls when I’m considering hiring someone for a task or a service is the questions that come up about what I do.

Not only does it give me an opportunity to use and perfect my elevator pitch, but it also helps me find and break through some assumptions that I don’t even realize I’m making.

Because, let’s face it. By the time I get one of my own prospective clients on the phone, they have a pretty good idea not just of what they need, but also how they think I might be able to help them. At minimum, they know what their problem is, and then we dig further into potential solutions that they maybe hadn’t considered.

I am always amazed at the power of collaborative conversation. Because we always find some really fun ideas for how we can work together. And sometimes it ends up being something very different than our initial chat.

Regardless, they know they need a writer, and often a mix of copy and content writing. Which is what I do.

“What is copy, anyway?”

Last week I was chatting with a photographer about some new lifestyle photos and headshots and I about fell over when she asked me this.

I had made the assumption that she (and most people in business who have websites) knew what copy was. The reality is, we all know what it is, but we may not have identified it specifically by that title.

We know what we do, but each industry is filled with jargon. It’s easy to forget that even though our business coaches and our clients know what we do, that not everyone in our target audience understands it or its value.

And, candidly, this is a problem.

Because if your target audience doesn’t know what you do, or in fact what they need, then how can you help them?

In this case, the photographer I was talking to is my target market.

If you’re wondering, I love working with women entrepreneurs, primarily in their 30s and 40s who operate service-based businesses, are creative and driven, have an amazing sense of humor, and who are short on time and long on big ideas. In short, they usually are looking for someone who can help them distill and flesh out their ideas. They’re looking for me!

And when I explained to her what copywriting is, she jumped up and said “Wow, I need that! I am your target audience.”

Copywriting vs Content Writing

The reality is that the line between copywriting and content writing is becoming increasingly blurry. Traditionally, copywriting meant writing for advertising and sales & marketing. And today, content marketing (or content writing) is using content, whether blogs or social media, to connect with your audience. Some people argue that the line is firm, but when you start to dig into the strategy behind the way you tackle how your clients see–and read–what you share, it feels really closely related.

As a result, in my eyes, and for many of my clients, copy is every instance of the written word that you need to market your business and connect with your audience. And, it includes:

To me, it’s really not an either/or thing anymore. In fact, it’s all part of the bigger picture. In the end, your goal is to speak effectively and authentically to your clients, and the best way to do that is with a solid strategy for how you employ the written word to work for you.

How is your content strategy? Is it effective? Or do you feel yourself struggling to develop each and every post? If this is you, rest assured, I’m building a content strategy workbook, that I think you’ll find helpful.

If you’re interested in learning more when it’s available, reach out and say “Erin, Send me details!” And in the next few weeks when it launches, you’ll be the first to know!

In the meantime, don’t forget to really evaluate: does your target audience know what you do? Or do you need to explain it to them in your copy?

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