What’s up, babe?! Happy Monday and welcome back to Boldly Courageous, a podcast made for you — the ambitious woman who is ready to take action and step fully into the life you’ve always dreamed of. I am so grateful that you’re on this journey with me!
Today, we’re going to talk about something that’s super relatable to all you networker marketers, business leaders, and influencers out there!
Have you ever struggled with writing copy for your business? Maybe you’ve just created a website, and you’re beginning to write some sales copy, but you’re struggling to put your message into words. Or maybe you’re trying to up your social media game, but you keep changing your captions because they don’t sound like you.
Sound familiar? If so, keep reading because this episode will give you the tools you need to start writing brilliant copy. Even if you don’t have your own business, you’re going to want to dial into this conversation. Today, I have copywriting guru Lisa Cumes here to share all the secrets about copywriting, crafting content, and creating the perfect social media captions.
In this interview, we talk about the three-step process for successful copywriting, how to write the perfect social media captions, the difference between content writing and copywriting, and so much more! I know I took a ton of notes, so get out your pen and paper because all of this is GOLD.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Who Is Lisa Cumes?
Lisa is a freelance StoryBrand copywriter, entrepreneur, and coach who helps brands build their influence. Over the past two years, she has built a six-figure online copywriting business called Simple Story Solutions to connect the best clients with the best freelance copywriters to feed the never-ending content craze. By writing persuasive copy and content, Lisa and her term help more businesses and personal brands simplify their messages and launch their missions.
Lisa isn’t about the hustle life. She would rather thrive in her business, and she helps others to do the same. As a mom with three kids, Lisa is the perfect example of how you can be both a boss babe and a kickass mom at the same time.
Lisa also coaches other freelance copywriters through her online courses and free webinars. If you’re interested in copywriting or learning about the process, you can check out those courses here! Lisa also has both a Freelancers Facebook group and a Marketing Facebook group that you can check out if you’re looking to find your tribe. She has so many resources for you on her website and blog, so be sure to check those out!
I was so pumped for this conversation because Lisa is honestly a copywriting/wordsmithing genius. She makes something that is really challenging for a lot of people (including myself) look so simple. I’m so excited for you to hear from her!
A Three-Step Process for Successful Copywriting
Copywriting is a messy process. I have personally struggled a lot with it. Thankfully, we have people like Lisa, who are masters at the craft. In our interview, Lisa gave a three-step process on how you can start creating beautiful copy, whether that’s for your own website or you’re a freelancer looking for work.
#1. For your first draft, write the copy as it comes out of your mouth.
In other words, don’t edit along the way. If you’re writing a sales pitch page for the product you offer, start off by writing whatever comes into your brain. Don’t stress about it being perfect the first go around.
“You actually just want to get it out. … Get it all out of your head … [and] don’t edit as you go. Just put it all out there.”Lisa Cumes
As a high achiever, I sometimes feel the need to have a perfect first draft, when in reality, this mentality slows down the copywriting process. If you find yourself sitting in resistance, the best way to break through that is just to write without anything holding you back. Babe, don’t be afraid to take messy action because 1) it gets you started, and 2) it leads to amazing results.
#2. Translate your message in a way other people can receive it.
So now that you’ve got your first draft finished, it’s time to translate your message so that other people can receive it. Communication is literally at the foundation of everything, and if the delivery of your message can’t be received by the other person, it’s going to be really challenging for you to sell your products, sign clients, and actually see traction on your social media.
“People can be very lazy and selfish, like, ‘Oh, I have this thing I want to say. So I’m going to say it from my own voice and my own perspective because I think everybody’s going to get it like I do. Everyone’s going to understand it the way I understand it.’ And I’m all for authenticity. I’m all for that … but you’re not doing anybody a service if you’re only speaking from your own perspective. You need to translate it into the way they would see it or receive it, and that is where copywriting comes into play.”Lisa Cumes
If you stop with Step #1, your copy most likely won’t be delivered in a way that your ideal clients can receive. After getting your message down, it’s time to translate that message. It’s all about connection — the whole point of writing copy is to connect with someone and show them how you understand where they’re at and what they need.
So, how do you make your message receivable? Lisa gave a great tip:
“[Have] self-awareness about what’s important to you versus what’s important to them. And ego really comes into play here. When people are just starting, oftentimes they’re trying to validate themselves … but [be] self-aware that you have nothing to prove. … You are trying to solve a problem, a very simple, specific problem, for somebody first, then you earn the right to come in with all your awesomeness and deliver all the things they need. But [don’t vomit] everywhere and overwhelm people. Even though they think you’re amazing, they will walk away because they just don’t know what to do with you.”Lisa Cumes
In other words, don’t make your copy about you. Make it about the people whose problems you are trying to solve. Ask yourself, “How can I serve this person?” Once you get clear on that, it will become 100% easier to speak their language.
#3. Don’t start with your solution — start with the problem
As entrepreneurs, network marketers, and creatives, we often like to start our pitch by saying how we can make everything better. We start by pitching the solution, before we have even addressed the problem or connected to the reader on an emotional level.
“I think this comes from my training as a StoryBrand guide — the narrative of a story always opens up with a character or a hero who’s struggling. … And so a mistake people make is starting with their solution instead of developing [and] connecting [with their problem].”Lisa Cumes
Let’s say you offer a weight-loss coaching service. Instead of beginning by saying, “I could help you lose 30 pounds, etc.,” start by stating the problem — maybe something like, “Do you struggle to keep up with the kids? Are you tired of throwing away clothes that don’t fit? Do you miss feeling confident in your own body?” Relate to your audience on a personal level and identify the problems that they are facing.
Once you do that, you’ve created a safe space where your audience can trust you because they know you relate to them. At the end of the day, communication is really just about being heard and understood, and if we start with the solution, we make it difficult for our audiences to relate to us. But if you let your clients feel heard, they’ll be much more inclined to invest in your services!
How to Write the Perfect Social Media Captions
I know that a lot of you out there use social media, primarily Instagram and Facebook, as your main platforms for pitching your products/services or writing content for your audience. Sometimes, it’s damn hard to write a caption that 1) is receivable to your audience, and 2) is authentic to your message. I asked Lisa if the copywriting process has changed for social media and if she had any overall tips on how to create the perfect social media posts.
“I do believe that the StoryBrand method or the method of including a story structure is important. Just [go] back to the fundamentals. Always start with a problem. Your pictures should show the transformation. So your image should be something that grabs somebody.”Lisa Cumes
So, before you even think about writing the caption, choose a photo that embodies the transformation that you offer, whether it’s weight-loss, financial abundance, or networking. Then think about your caption as a story — as humans, we are always seeking to find a narrative. Begin your caption by stating the problem, which can also act as a hook:
“The very first sentence should be a hook. … Then your next paragraph would be, ‘Man, a lot of people are feeling frustrated with [X]’… and then some bullet points would be awesome. … [Copywriting] paints a picture.”Lisa Cumes
In addition to including a hook, you also need a call-to-action — a line that prompts the reader to do something, whether that be to follow you on Instagram or invest in your service.
“Tell them what to do and then give them the link or [put] the link in the bio. You really want to walk them all the way through what you want … they will then look to you as the guide. They will be able to take their hands off the wheel and just be like, ‘Oh, I’m just going to do what she tells me to do.’ And that’s what people are looking for because they don’t have the mindset to go, ‘Is this what I want?”Lisa Cumes
When it comes to social media captions, you want to be clear and concise — there is so much power in consistency and reliability, which creates trust, right? If you know how to speak their language, the reader will begin to trust you. If you do that consistently, that trust will build. And once you start developing your brand voice, tone, and style, then that trust converts a reader into a client.
All About the StoryBrand Copywriting Method
To round out our interview, I asked Lisa to talk about StoryBrand and why their process is so important to the art of copywriting and content writing. She related the process to a hero’s journey, which I think is the perfect image to describe what we do.
“StoryBrand is a framework based on the old … architecture of writing. … There [are] seven different types of writing, and one of them is the hero’s journey. You have a character that’s struggling, has a problem … [and] has obstacles to overcome. A guide shows up and says, ‘Hey, I have a plan for you. If you do this, this, and this, you can get to where you want to go, and you need to take action.”Lisa Cumes
As coaches, entrepreneurs, and influencers, doesn’t this sound like the story we are telling our clients? As business leaders, we are the guides, and it is our responsibility to give the hero the plan they need to succeed.
Another crucial part of the StoryBrand method has to deal with the difference between copywriting and content writing.
“Copy is words that sell, words that move. You don’t always need strong copywriting, otherwise it just feels like it’s always like a pitch. Content is where you give details. You give case studies. You go into all the ingredients of why the science behind it is okay. Once somebody’s hooked, they do want a little bit more information. They want to lean in.”Lisa Cumes
This was eye-opening for me. When you write content for your website or social media, it doesn’t always have to be “copy.” You don’t always have to be selling something. Otherwise, you may wear out your audience. Instead, write some content that supports your mission and provides valuable information to your readers. This is just another layer of trust-building, which encourages your audience to invest in your service.
Be Boldly Courageous with Lisa Cumes
Babe, this interview was absolute gold. Lisa Cumes is a freaking copywriting genius, and if you’re looking to learn more, Lisa has tons of ways you can connect with her. Start by going to her website, where you can get a good feel for the kind of work she does and the services she offers. While you’re there, check out her Facebook groups (freelancing and marketing), and join her free monthly masterclass for additional content!
Lisa also has two amazing services for all your entrepreneurs out there who are building to build their own websites. She has a free worksheet on her website that you can download, fill out, and send back to her, and she’ll add some quality copy to it and give you honest feedback about your copy. The second resource is a free website check where Lisa will review your website and send you back suggestions on how you can improve! Honestly babe, these are opportunities you don’t wanna miss.
This interview was hugely educational for me, and I’m so excited to take all this stuff and apply it to my own website. If you loved this episode, please share it, and tag Lisa, @lisacumes, and me, @themelissamartin, with a screenshot of the episodes and your greatest takeaways on Instagram! We’d love to celebrate you on your journey to writing copy that converts!
I appreciate you so much. Go out there and live your boldly courageous life, babe.