Doesn’t it feel like advice about building a personal brand is everywhere lately? It’s true that a big part of building your personal brand is showing up on social media and maintaining an aesthetically pleasing, strategic website. But the thing that really makes or breaks your personal brand is your messaging. From blog posts to newsletters (and even Instagram captions), you’re the one shaping how others view you through words.
When you’re struggling to bring it all together, the best place to start is on your website. Social media platforms will come and go, but website copywriting is one of the seven pillars of your personal brand as an entrepreneur since brand clarity— how you want to be perceived by others— is where it all starts after you define the purpose of your business.
Writing your website might totally freak you out, but it doesn’t have to be such an undertaking. Keep reading for six ways you can use copywriting to build your personal brand and have confidence that what you want to say matches up with how you say it.
Start by writing your website.
Going through the steps of writing your website copy and then moving outwards towards other communications like blogs, newsletters, social posts, and even podcasts is a solid strategy for finding the brand voice that fits you.
Before you start writing, make sure you’ve given plenty of thought to what you’d like to be known for. Which topics are you an expert in? Which services or products are you selling, and who are you selling them to? These are the questions you should answer before digging into your homepage. If you’re lost, look back on your social media posts. How did you use these posts to communicate with your ideal client or reader?
To make the process of bringing it all together a little less scary, try writing the homepage headline first. A typical format is “I help [ideal client] with [specific goal] by [list or one-liner of what you do.” Yours might look a little like this: I help creative service-based businesses shore up their marketing strategies through SEO and social reach.
But this isn’t the only way to write a homepage headline. Feel free to get creative here!
Find the intersection between your voice and audience.
As you’re writing the pages of your website, you’ll want to bank words, lingo, and stories you find yourself using a lot. While you’ll want to avoid repetition, it’s definitely a good idea to know which words work with your personal brand. But you’re not the only one reading your site.
When writing, you should always remember to speak to your ideal client. If you’re unclear about who that is, pause the writing process and poll them. If you don’t have readers yet, pop into a Facebook group in your niche and ask for feedback. Genuinely, of course.
You’ll want to know what their pain points are so that your offerings will be much more specific to them. Plus, you may get some ideas for what to write straight from your audience.
Make a brand guide with core values.
If you make a brand guide before you write anything, it’s all too easy to fall into analysis paralysis. Instead of banking all your words and ideas beforehand, a better way to solidify what you want to write is by quantifying what’s unique about your service in the form of core values.
What do you believe and how is that absolutely necessary to run your business? What is unique about what you offer? These are questions you should ask yourself and write down, especially in a saturated niche.
Look at unique words for inspiration.
An important element of writing your website is characterizing the tone and style of your brand. Is it exuberant? Bookish? Classy? If you’re stuck describing what you want to write as fun or nice, get inspiration from out-there or untranslatable words on Pinterest or the thesaurus. You may not be packing your copy with these words, but you’ll definitely benefit from the fresh ideas.
Learn from voices outside your industry to really stand out.
Staying in your lane and not interested in the competition? While it may seem like a good idea to avoid looking at the competition at all costs, it’s a good idea to see where your competitors stand so your pricing and offers match up with the industry. It’s also a great way to see how your website copy can present you as a unique and separate solution from your competition. Still, you don’t want this to drive your entire strategy.
Look to those slightly outside your industry.
As a copywriter, I would not want to pay too close attention to a fellow writer, but I love looking to designers’ websites to see how other creatives present themselves.
When you’re writing, don’t look at their webpages. Try to focus on what you want to do. Take notes on what works, and use those to guide you instead.
Don’t rely on design to tell you if your copy is good.
When you have a pretty website, it’s all too easy to get swept away by design. That’s why you should avoid writing your website words directly into your template. Open up Google Docs and type away. Check for errors, read aloud, and don’t let your design tell you that the copy is working when it isn’t. Wording should come first, and then you can beta test it in the live preview.
Kayla Dean is a website copywriter and content writer for visual creatives helping entrepreneurs say what they mean with confidence and strategy. Her byline has appeared in publications like Bustle, The Believer, and Darling. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her planning her next big trip or marking a book as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads.