Confession: I’m pretty lousy when it comes to writing good copy. At least I think I am. So, when I have an opportunity to interview someone who specializes in copywriting, I definitely take it.
Tania Dakka, today’s guest, specializes in bringing a unique and compelling voice to websites, social media profiles, sales letters, and anything else where good copy can play an important role. In this interview, she shares how she got into copywriting and has been able to find clients — plus her best copywriting tips.
Tania, you not only regularly share some killer marketing and copywriting tips on your blog, but you also bring a distinct personality and voice that really stands out in your writing. How did you get into blogging and copywriting?
In an effort to help me survive stay-at-home motherhood, a friend talked me into writing on the web.
I started out doing gigs on Craigslist, etc., but everybody there wants penny-a-word work, and it’s degrading. Honestly. I mean, if you value yourself and your art, you can’t accept that.
I wrote ebooks, blog posts, anything I could, just to get practice. Then I shifted to copy to ease the pangs of self-inflicted ADD. I just don’t have the stamina for long ebooks and blog posts. I can do them, but it hurts.
My business, Badass’D, bathes your site in hot copy that really makes your readers want to sink their teeth into you (or your site, rather) with web copy, social copy, opt-in copy, promotional copy, press releases, email marketing for juicy emails people love to open, and more.
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What has been your greatest success so far?
By far, contributing to Chris Brogan’s Owner Media is my crowning jewel. It says a lot for you when Chris tweets your piece, you know? And I’m honored to be among his stellar contributors.
What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
Growth is always a 10-foot hurdle, and being part of Chris’s Monchu helped more than anything, I think.
So, making the right connections is important, but I think they have to be genuine. People can tell if you’re a sleaze and you’re just out to mooch off their audience or benefit from them. It’s important to be real — at all times.
When you started your business, how did you go about finding the first few clients? If you could start all over again, would you do anything differently?
First clients came from referrals within groups I belonged to.
I did some work for them for free at first. They liked it, offered testimonials, and I was off and running.
What would I do differently? Learn discipline earlier. I’m still working on this one.
Do clients today come only from referrals, or do you have other ways of marketing your services that have been effective for you?
My “Garage Party” has been very effective, as well as my social media presence. I’m constantly out answering questions and making myself useful to people so they have a reason to find out more about what I do.
I never reach out to people with a “Hey! I can beef up that website and make it kick ass for you!” approach. That’s beyond my comfort zone. I prefer to let people discover me and my talents on their own. This is the slowest way to cook that juicy slab of angus, but it does work.
A lot of people, myself included, find copywriting to be a difficult task. Writing compelling content that gets people to take action is harder than it looks. What are a few tips you can share with someone like me, to help improve my copywriting abilities?
It’s never about you. Ever. (Okay, almost never.) It’s always about what your customers feel.
You can’t write anything that anyone wants to act on if you aren’t in bed with your customers. You have to know and understand the way they see themselves as well as you understand your product and how it’s going to change their lives for the better.
Also, business writing is dead. Deadddd. You’re fighting for attention — and if you sound like every other site, all you’ll earn is glassy eyes and cold hearts.
So, what’s an example of “business writing” versus writing the way it should be done?
I just submitted a post with a bad example of my own copy. When I first started copywriting, my headline and copy on my home page read: “Imagine If You Knew How to Convert Traffic to Sales (How Much Money Would You Be Making?). Are you sick of dismal sales, disappointed with the dismal income from your newsletters, and downright tired of your ebooks gathering digital dust?”
That’s a typical internet marketing approach. It’s not horrible, except for the redundant “sales” and “dismal,” but it isn’t very inspired.
Soon, it will read: “You’re respected. Admired. You command attention. Does your copy?”
This speaks to that entrepreneur who identifies with strength, power, and a kickass attitude, one who sees himself as a person who “commands attention.”
Great copy will always play to the self-awareness and pains of your ideal reader. It should make their mouths water to finish reading it by spinning visual stories around them.
Finally, what are your favorite online resources?
Chris Brogan. Period. I’ve learned more from Chris and his courses than I could have ever learned from reading blog posts.
Also, social media. I couldn’t survive without making friends and torturing people with my favorite music and motorcycles on Facebook.