Power of Copywriting.
Episode 11- Chantelle Davison ‘reality of power of copywriting’
I sat down with Chantelle, she is the owner of choice words. She's a copywriter, agency, Owner, course creator and one on one copy coach. And we really, really, really went into the power of copy in business, how underestimated it is, and how much business owners should be leaning into it. She started her business as a freelance writer back in 2018, when she left her corporate sales job as she's been helping creative people find the right words to articulate their brilliant ideas ever since the first person she did it for was her entrepreneurial dad, and she continues to be kind of like a literary genius. It was a great episode record. And I hope you take as many takeaways as I did. But I'm going to start you in because you are a phenomenal copywriter. And I think there's a big difference between the perception of what copywriting is versus the reality of what copywriting is. But also, I wonder if you'd agree that there's like a spectrum of skill in copywriting that goes from like writing a blog for someone to magical words.
Yeah, I think that's probably right. I think everyone has to start somewhere. So there's definitely a kind of basics. Like I always teach the basics. Whenever I do sort of master classes and stuff like that I teach the five things that if you do these, your copy will be 10 times better than anyone elses. And then there's those kind of next levels that you can get to where you're talking about really tapping into someone's brand voice and writing like them, which is another completely separate skill. And then above and beyond that not only writing like them, but writing like them, but better, which is how I always describe the ultimate goal with copywriting is using someone's voice to write better than they have voted. And that is something that just comes with experience and getting to know the client really well as I've kind of in depth questions and probing and being a bit interested in how people's brains work as well, I think is really important to being a copywriter.
Have you always been interested in words? Because I know you said like comes with skill. But surely you have to have interest in the beginning.
Absolutely. For me, it's been pretty much my whole life. I've always loved reading and writing. I did a degree in English literature. So that was the passion. I guess I thought about doing a number of different things that are probably much more vocational, because what do you do with but in the end decided that three years of sitting around in leafy Deven reading books sounded like a ticket to an opportunity to pass up. So I did that. But yeah, I've always been interested in words, I've always felt like there's a lot of power in words and the way to use them. I think I'm one of those people who thinks quite carefully before I speak generally, but even more carefully before I write. My verbal communication skills are significantly less impressive than my written ones I often feel so I like the idea that in writing, you get time and you get kind of grace to really think about how you want to say something. Whereas being the slightly anxious person I am filling spaces sometimes what we do make conversation or we're lovely. I like the space and the lack of pressure that written communication places on me, I think so I've always enjoyed that. Anytime I've had to have difficult conversations with anyone in my life it's always been, I just write them at If the conflict write them a letter, or at least write down what you want to say, that's always been a theme in my life is that written communication is easier for me.
I think people just don't give it the kudos sometimes. Because you're right. Like, you could say even a doctor could write down his paracetamol for your pain, or whatever. But they could write it in a really different way. And it would have a really different outcome. There's all these inspirational quotes everyone always shares on Instagram. And that's like, wordsmithing, like copywriting as well, isn't it?
Yeah, absolutely. Often they are quoted from speeches and things but absolutely. Some really clever people have put a lot of thought into saying those things that they probably didn't know will be repeated years later. But that's the goal, right? Be one day being on Instagram,
that listen to 100 most inspirational quotes, there's a lot of power to it. I mean, there are a lot of different ways that words can be used to evoke emotion to create some sort of feeling or desire. And people, this is what copywriters do is use words to draw out some kind of feeling, some kind of desire, pain, you know, ultimate hope goal. Those kinds of things. Words are incredibly impactful. For example, you read poetry, and you feel this kind of huge stirring of emotions often. And a copy, although business words is, in some ways, the same thing. It's trying to evoke some kind of feeling from people. And so being able to do that, powerfully, essentially means being able to control the hearts and minds of your readers, which as a business is pretty cool, getting that and obviously must be used with their wisdom and good moral compass. A superpower if you can do it, right.
So I have questions. I want to know your favourite word. And number two. I want to know how you explain what you do to someone who doesn't understand it.
Great question. Way to put me on the spot. One of my favourite words, that is a great question. I remember in Donnie Darko, they say that a famous linguist once said that selladoor is the best combination of words and ever since I heard that I haven't been able to get out of my head, cellar doors. Other than that, I don't think I have a favourite.
Yes, I would love to know yours. Take the heat off me.
haemoglobin. I like the way it feels in my mouth.
I love that.
Now that you've said that for some reason, and this is a really bizarre word to say as a favourite, but I really liked the word plop, like Drain sounds like rain isn't good.
Sideswipe question number two. How do you explain what you do?
How do I explain what I do? Usually people don't know what copywriting is, if they think that I agent things the right to a product or something. That's what I get more often than not. So the way I explain to people who don't know what it is, is I write the words in people's businesses that sell things. So any of the words in your business that are designed to persuade someone, get someone to take an action, or ask them to make a purchase, I can write so whether that's social media, emails, website, copy, whether it's articles, blogs, anything that is asking someone to move forward with your business to build that relationship to kind of move forward a stage we can. So copywriting is any of the words in your business essentially. And a lot of people don't put enough importance and emphasis on it, they just kind of write their emails willy-nilly and throw whatever on their website. Just list their products that don't really give a lot of thought to the language they're using, or the impact that's gonna have on our ideal clients and it shows and the results tend to show that has happened as well.
So I think a lot of copywriters' job is actually educating business owners on the importance of the right words and your business, communicating in the right way, and communicating in the way that your people are gonna understand as well. So it's not just about how you as a business communicate, it's about how your readers are going to receive that you communicate in a very different way with an audience of 30 Something women than you would have teenage boys, you know, whatever your product is that you're selling, you need to make sure that your language resonates with the person who's ready to begin. So it's education that is special when you're talking about what you do as a copywriter, because a lot of business owners will not identify copywriting as something they need, but will identify blogs, emails, social media campaigns, or something they need. So it's about framing in a way that people understand what you're actually delivering.
Is that not really frustrating? When you see someone's website or whatever, or blog or whatever, and you're like, This could be so much better?
Yeah, absolutely. Like anything in business, we all have a million different hats to wear, when we start a business, usually, you don't start your business, assuming you'll have to do 8000 Other things, you sort of go crocheting hats, so I'm gonna have a business where I sell my crochet hats, and you don't really think about the sales, the marketing, the finance, the million other roles that you're gonna have to take on. So for most people, it's a bit of an afterthought, which is why I think it's so important to get that education piece out there and kind of share as much knowledge about why copywriting matters, as if you're working in this industry is why I do loads and loads of guests, master classes, and go and do trainings in people's memberships and stuff so much, because I think, if you can get the message out there not so much of how to write good copy, but why it matters, then people don't understand and they can kind of get on board with either outsourcing it or paying people to teach them how to do it, or whatever it is you're trying to sell. It's actually interestingly, a really good copywriting lesson on its own, but so often the pain points that we're selling solutions to aren't pains that people know they have. And so pixelating it in a way that they understand that they do have that problem that is something that's relevant to them can be really
persuasive language and a lot of empathy. So demonstrating that you understand what someone's life is, like, what it's like to live in their, in their shoes, what its nurses like. So rather than saying, you need copywriting because you need to attract ideal clients and convert more sales, you might say, you wear 1020 different hats per day as a business owner, and you can't manage everything all at once. You should be writing emails that sell but who's got the time. So it's about articulating in a way that explains the problem in a way that feels relevant to that person, rather than irrelevant to the solution you're trying to solve.
This is like watching a master brain at work. Getting out of your mouth as you go. Well, I'm really hoping
So what you're saying is actually speeches are essentially just selling ideas to people, if politician is giving stage, they want to do one of three things they want to build trust and rapport, many fail. But who wants to do that? They want to persuade you of something. So they want to persuade you that they're right, that their ideas are the best ones to follow. They want to convince you of that, ideally, but they also want to establish authority, they want to make you feel like they're the right person to follow. Yeah, they are. They're the guide to take you where you want to go. And so they want to build trust and build a relationship. They want to persuade you of something, and they want to establish authority. Those are the three essential components of writing copy in your business as well. So yes, speech writers, particularly politicians, when they write their speeches, they are very consciously trying to do those things. And you'll notice even in the way they deliver their speeches, it's incredibly intentional. They speak slowly, they deliver each word really, really intentionally, because it's because they want those words to land. They know that they're impactful and precise, and they want them to land. And so yeah, hello, great copywriter.
I mean, you look at some of the greatest idea sharers and movement starters in the world. And generally, they started with either written manifestos, their ideas, again, not using it as an example. But you know, he also did that. And they generally give really impactful powerful speeches. So Martin Luther King, I have a dream, these words are the things that we remember about these people, their movement, their legacy, the way they inspired us, you know, those, those magical words I have, I have a dream will go down in history as being linked to Martin Luther King because of the movement he started and the actions and the subsequent change and ideas that came about. But the words themselves are incredibly powerful and incentivize people to get behind him and to believe in that movement to share that. When you're writing a copy, like it could. I know, we're focused on speeches, but it's just writing things down, like blogs or website copy or whatever. I mean, if we think of Martin Luther King's as an example, my guess is that he probably wrote down a whole stuff that he wanted to say, and then you just keep going through it going through it like using a thesaurus a million times.
I think that might lead to a slightly ludicrous speech. The editing part, actually, funnily enough, almost the opposite, I think is true, the editing, super important. So yes, write a shitty first draft, just chuck down everything you want to say, on a piece of paper or Google Doc, that's absolutely the best first way to get your ideas out there. But the editing process really should be about clarity and simplification. You know, go through what you've written and make sure that it makes sense to a seven year old, if it doesn't, it's not going to connect with my startups, being overly critical of our population. You need to be communicating in a way that's really simple, really clear, concise, don't use 10 words when one will do make sure you're not using really hard to describe language as anything other than verbose but using the word verbose is in itself. means like, really elaborate, flowery language. So you want to remove all of that really, oh, so notice or us notice or it's nice, right? It's always that of course, we want variety.
So if you're talking about using different words, to describe ideas, that's great. You know, we want variety. We want variety, and sentence structure and the language we're using all that kind of stuff. But the actual language we're using should be as simple and clear as possible. Putting it right back to the most important idea you want to communicate is always really important, especially when you're talking about things like social media captions, where people's attention span is just Oh, yeah, you know, zero, absolutely zero. You know, the scroll. The scroll problem is very real. We all want to grab people's attention, but you get about two lines of text. To do that, it's so important to make sure that not only is what you're saying gripping, but it's immediately clear to people why it matters to them. Yeah. Why do I care about that people are selfish? Why do I care? Tell me in three, three words or less, I should give a shit about what you're saying. And if you can do that, and do it in a way that communicates that really clearly, then you've got great copy. But certainly not. We don't need flowery language, we don't need 20 different ways of saying the same thing. We just need clear, consistent messaging that says exactly why it matters to the reader.
So what businesses do you think get it right? If you think like big businesses, everybody knows, what do you think? And which ones do you think need work?
Such a great question.
I love the way Google advertisers. I've seen a couple of really great adverts. There's recently with really great copy. And they did a fantastic campaign about people's differences. recently. I didn't know that. Yes, Google did a fantastic campaign about people's differences. And about all the awkward questions, people were googling but not asking each other about race, gender, sexuality, all sorts of stuff like that. So the campaign was all about how asking the question isn't the problem. It's how you use the information. That's the problem. And so it was it was just I really enjoyed that. That was a great campaign off top of my head where the copy was fantastic. Yeah, I mean, that's an incredibly iconic ones, Nike, just do it. I don't think anyone will ever come up with anything quite simple.
How do you think they got to that? Because I guess that is exactly what you said, taking all the things that you could say, and just saying it in three words, glorious copywriter. absolutely glorious.
And also just sometimes a bit of a, a stroke of, I won't call it luck, because I'm not very well as you know. But there is something that happens sometimes, when you get in a zone and kind of get in your flow, state, whatever you want to call it, where you do just sort of come up with goals. And it happens once in the blue for most of us, and you just want to be the guy that came up with that. You just sat down and when just do it just just I can do it, just get on with it and goes Hang on. That's right. I wonder if those light bulb moments that you get sometimes, isn't it I know sometimes, I often talk about how when we're writing copy, especially when it's your job, your actual writing time is probably 20% of the time that you spend ruminating on something and actually creating it. Because if you get a project, you do the intake cool, you go to bed, and you sort of have all these ideas welling around in your head. And sometimes you'll wake up at three in the morning and go, that'd be great.
There's like there's words or just circulating around in your head and they find a certain order. And sometimes I'll wake up and write them down on my phone. And the next day, there'll be either brilliant or atrocious. But I think that creative process, if you are a creative person, whether it's music, whatever it is that you do, you sometimes get what people refer to as downloads, there's kind of sparkly moments that are good. I can get a bed, I can get a bed rest easy. Did a good thing. Certainly I've come up with something as good as just do it. That'd be great. It is iconic. In terms of the people getting it wrong. Off the top of my head. I'm trying to think of companies that don't nail their messaging. But I think the truth is the ones that don't know, their messaging doesn't really become Oh, yeah. Big successful companies. Sure, there's some of that I've got it wrong, I'd have to go and have a look through. I've got a copy file of brilliant stuff and rubbish stuff that I see. So I'd have to go look through it to rattle around for some of the bad ones. You do see some companies make some real claims sometimes, but off the top of my head, I can't think of any.
Maybe it's just because it's the way that I run my business. It's very marketing focused. And I understand that there are very different disciplines inside of mouth marketing such a spectrum word, but I do think copy is one of those ones that people really miss underestimate. And that as soon as you sort of start to realise the power of it, you're like, Oh my God, why did that happened? I could concentrate. Because it could massively change. someone's like, just conversion. Like reach, like interest, the way that people talk about you.
Sales pages are a great example. You look at sales pages and the conversion rates. We know they're just based on statistics. There are some really simple things we can do. Some I'm gonna find the actual statistics but something like 60% to uplift if you include the word because when you say why someone to do something, so you should do this, because and if you include a reason people are so much more convinced to do it. And the three words, I always talk about adding into any sales page, so you can do this, this feature, so you can, whatever it makes possible for you, and you've got a benefit. And one of the biggest mistakes people make on sale pages, social media, anywhere in their business is just listing the features like people are going to care about. Brilliant, I get three q&a calls with you. Why does that? Like what is the thing that makes it matter to them? And I quote, a few example of think of it like an annoying toddler, who is constantly just going, why, why, why, why? And until you get to the why, like, why does that matter to the person reading it? Yeah, I'd say why anymore. You've reached their ultimate goal, pain, desire, whatever it is, like, why does that matter to them? There's a few really simple things like that that we can do that seem incredibly basic. But if you don't know how to do them, you don't know. And as you say, you're even you if it works, marketing, can be inclined to just kind of chuck everything on a piece of paper. And that'll do. I think we're all guilty of that. Because with our own businesses, it's really hard to see the woods from the trees. It's, you know, everything about it. So identifying what is important about it can be really tricky, because it's really hard.
Exactly, you're in your head, you know, every single thing. And you just want to say all those, do you find it hard in your own business? To write about your own business? How do you do it for yourself?
I'm the same way I do it for clients. So we try to treat ourselves like a client, I'll go through the brand clarity questions that I would ask the client, I'll go through the intake call questions, I would ask the client and make notes in the same way that I would if I were trying to gather that information from someone. And the same tips I've just given, you know, I ask myself, okay, is that actually why it matters to them? Or is that why it matters to me? Is that the actual benefit? Or is that just something that I think is important for them to know? Because I'm proud of it? These the kind of questions we can be asking ourselves, Am I saying it because they need to know it? Or am I saying it because I want to say definitely guilty? If? I think we will, at times, but those are the contracts you can put in place, you know, if you are looking at a website and going maybe I can make this better, maybe I can prove my sales pages, those sorts of questions, you know, does someone reading this really need to hear it? Does it matter to them? And if the answer is no, you probably get rid of it or put it a bit further down the sales page for offline.
Yeah. But there must be loads of like, research for more established companies again, that then pour stuff into how do we reframe the copy of this thing to make it sell more? Yeah. Is that a thing? I'm just guessing, people researching what works and copy? Yeah, absolutely. There's loads of statistics on this. There's a website called Copy Hackers that I was reading a load of stuff on yesterday, that was really interesting. They had like 25 statistics about things that improve conversion, and by how much, which is the the ones I was talking about.
And the thing is a bit like anything in marketing, I think because copywriting is creative, or like arty or whatever, it's kind of perceived as this thing that you can either be good at, or you're not. And people get really caught up in the idea of like, how do I even start and they get afraid of the blank page. The truth is, like anything with marketing, you've got to evaluate, make a small change, evaluate, again, make an animal check, it's all about measuring the results, and then making changes. So you know, when you write a sales page, see how it's converting, make us change, see how that impacts if don't rewrite the whole thing, because you're not going to know what actually improved the performance. So it's like anything, I'm sure you still use the same things, your clients, when you're painting things on your funnel or changing things on social media, you don't change everything all at once you change one thing and measure the impact. So you can see yes, I wish more people would do that. Yeah, instead of suddenly thinking it's all wrong. I'm gonna throw it all away. I'm like, look at your stats first.
And the thing is, I'm sure it's the same with any other kind of marketing. But the same issue with coffee tea, when we get clear on our brand messaging, it takes saying it quite a lot to actually get the message across to people. So you might think that having changed your messaging is not working if people aren't converting immediately, but actually, people need to hear the messages several times over and over and connect with them. So you might have said it nine times and then decide that it's just not working. It's just not connecting people just aren't buying and change your messaging all over again. And it would have been the 10th time that they converted. So I think it's a lot, a lot of it's about consistency and deciding, you know, and trying something for long enough to see what the results are. I think we all know that I'm guilty of this, but especially those of us working in the online space are really guilty of the it's not working, rip it up, try again, mentality before we actually do anything for long enough to see you as we want to be tomorrow, because that's what the bro marketers promise dads, where's my Lamborghini and I think that that kind of instant gratification idea of the online world, you know, constantly pinging sales notifications and stuff, we get impatient.
What about when people use the same word over and over and over again, in different way, like, I've seen some people who have decided that their brand word is going to be trust. So everything that you read, always has the word trust in it all the time?
You know, even when it's kind of out of context, and not grammatically correct, they'll land in
your exam examples of that, there's kind of two sides to this, first of all, it gets annoying doesn't it gets, and we start to lose, it starts to lose the impacts, because we start to wonder if they're really being completely sincere about that focus on trust as a brand value, because they've mentioned 1000 times and one of them was when they're talking about their trip to Disneyland, it does get a little bit, it loses its impact a little bit if we use it too much. However, that being said, familiarity does breed trust. And so when we're talking about our core messages, there is a value to repeating those. And there is a value to having them consistently across all of our different platforms and places that we share our messaging, because if someone finds us in one place, and the message is one thing and finds another place, and um, it's just a completely separate thing that creates a cognitive dissonance and we go, oh, I don't really trust them. I don't know who they are. They're not consistent. There's no argument for being reasonably repetitive, without kind of hammering the point.
If we were talking about core messaging, let's say your core messaging is I helped you businesses get their marketing ROI, you would want to say that across all of your platforms, that would be really important to say, and to repeat. But one word, like a brand value or something like that. First of all, it's not the thing that matters most to people reading. Yeah, that's the key is what you think they want to hear, or is what you think you want to say about your business, you know, your brand values, whilst people care about who you are and how you do things. They don't really want to read your brand Bible or read a list of values, they want to see you executing those things and being those things. The ways that, for example, you could prove that you're trustworthy is to be consistent in your messaging across every place that people find you. And then you wouldn't need to say that people can trust you to get to people who talk as quickly as you and I do it faster.
Thank you so much for having me. It's been really fun.