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You know nothing

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One of my coaching clients, a UX designer, asked:

“I am working on the new design and would love to go with you through the content and discuss how you approach landing pages content strategy, how you do user research etc.”

First, that’s a lot of stuff all packed together.

So on our first call, we’ll dive into the starting point.

How do you approach copy that’s been written before you? What do you change? And why would you change that?

All questions a lot of copywriters should ask themselves when they begin working with their clients.

My thoughts?

Start here:

You can’t allow yourself to make assumptions

You are not the target audience (99% of the times), so stop pretending you know what messaging should go where.

It’s the reason why whenever possible I run my website teardowns on sites and with products I either used or that I might use in the future.

It’s simple, you either run the research, or you’re part of the audience. But just cold approaching copy and thinking you know how to speak to an audience is a no-no.

So, first step: empty your mind.

I know, it sounds like some kind of zen koan, but it doesn’t have to be a paradox. Emptying your mind in this case, means simply judging copy from a readability, clarity, conciseness, and flow point of view.

Is a particular headline in the right context? Does the thought process follow a story? Does it make sense? Is it confusing? etc.

And anytime an assumption comes up, because it will, make a note. Phrase it as a question.

For example: Instead of jumping out with “That value proposition doesn’t sound like it’s using real voice of customer, it’s too generic.”, ask “Is the value proposition using real voice of customer? What words would they use?

And then go and find out with your research.

Turn your assumptions into guidelines. Use them to illuminate the path to the actual truth.

Then, comes the real work.

Topic for another day.

If you want to jump on a coaching call and look at something together. I’m blocking a couple of last Workshop slots at a special price. Learn more here.

Quote and reflection of the day:

“To explain that which is “simple” can sometimes be almost impossible; yet if we can understand even one simple thing in depth, we’ll have greatly expanded our capacity for comprehending the nature of the universe and of life itself.”

– David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., Power vs. Force

Going deep in one area expands your thinking in ways you would have never thought possible. Depth is fungible. Invest in it.

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