That’s me calling you from the top of a mountain.
Because, voice. Get it?
… I thought it was clever. But it isn’t, really, is it.
[Insert meaningful transition here, because I frankly don’t have one.]
Your voice plays a crucial role as the foundation of your entire writing business, and as such, you absolutely must make finding your voice a priority before you will start seeing success with client work – or any work, really.
Many writers make the mistake of thinking their voices as mutable, changing them to suit the needs of every new client they meet. But this is a mistake, because it represents an inherent bait-and-switch for the people hiring you.
Confused? That’s because we tend to think of voice backwards. You try to “find” the correct voice for the piece you’re writing or the person you’re serving, when really what you should be doing is nailing your voice upfront, because that’s what people will want to hire you for. If you don’t know what you sound like, how can they know you’ll fit their needs?
That’s why finding your voice is so criticial. And today, that’s just what we’re going to do: dig into the nitty gritty of cracking that tough voice nut.
ONCE AND FOR ALL.
Okay, no. Your voice can evolve, just as you will evolve as a writer. But there will be common threads in the way you write all through your life, and it’s those you want to start with.
Let’s be clear from the beginning: direct marketing is called “direct” for a reason. It means you’re talking to the reader or listener. You are not reporting on something in a distant, third-party style, the way a newspaper journalist would. Rather, you are having a conversation with the person who’s reading it. Think:
FYI, I typically find my horoscope very enlightening and love the smell of bacon in the morning.
These are just examples, and they make my point quite eloquently: they’re sentences you might say when walking into a room stuffed with your family and friends, right? Now, the ones above are very much my style. Casual. True to life. A little bit goofy.
(Want to get started finding your own voice now? Check out The Quick and Dirty Guide to Finding Your Copywriting Voice in the Free Resource Library. Just click that purty image below.)
Which brings us to the first and IMHO most important aspect of finding your voice: serious or entertaining? Now, don’t mistake the word “entertaining” for the word “engaging.” The latter means people are into reading what you’re writing, either because they’re absorbing important information, because they are making connections, because they’re laughing … whatever. The former, however, means they’re there because they like it; they find it enjoyable; it activates the pleasure centers of their brain.
Much like cocaine and cake. Go you!
Here’s the thing, though: you don’t have to be entertaining to be engaging. Sure, I like to goof off, and a lot of my writing keeps people on the page just because it helps them forget about work and taxes for a few minutes … but your style may be different than mine. The bottom line is, if you want to be successful as a direct marketing copywriter, all you need to know how is how to talk to people in a way that reaches them.
You may prefer to take a drier tone, to use statistics or facts, or to back up everything you say with a lot of research. You might like jokes, or colloquialisms, or pop culture references. Maybe you’re a sci-fi geek (guilty) or an ancient history buff (guilty) – put those to work for you. Because no matter what, someone wants you to write for them like that.
Here are a few more questions to ask yourself when finding your voice:
Try to take a black-and-white, either-or approach to answering these questions at first. Over time, you can soften and find the gray areas, but for now, a specific direction will help you hone how you like to write. The more confident your writing becomes, and the closer you get to finding your voice, the likelier your clients are to pay for your services – and pay a lot.
Of course, these individual aspects of your voice will be subject to each client’s needs, and you have to be ready and willing to tweak. However, as long as you are flexible and adaptable, your bottom-line voice will attract clients.
You got this, Voicey McVoicerton. It’s what you were born for. Promise.
Ready to get started? I know you were. Check out the Free Resource Library to get the guide, and jump on the voice train today.
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