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Write as you would speak with Maria Carras

Maria Carras is the CEO & Founder of Maria Carras Creative — a creative copywriting and virtual assistance agency working with coaches, creatives and online educators to help them thrive online.

She lives in Athens, Greece with her British, aspiring-author husband, her two rambunctious little boys and a rather ridiculously moody cat.

When she’s not listening to podcasts or writing for clients, you’ll find her reading stories to her boys or making herself yet another cup of coffee.

Write as you would speak (+other copywriting tips!) @carrascreative #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Big Takeaways

  • Copywriter has a goal to sell something, usually.
  • Started her career in London, working as a Publicist helping actors and director get press coverage.
  • She’s always been involved in marketing and creative.
  • If you have a product to sell, you have to get into the mind of the person who needs that product. You have to identify why they need that product.
  • You have to get really specific about who your client is.
  • Use words they would use to describe their struggles, dreams, hopes.
  • Get on the phone with them to get an idea of what’s important to them!
  • Write in your own voice. Write as you would speak!
  • Make it conversational.
  • People buy from you because it’s you.
  • Pretend you’re talking to a friend and let your guard down!
  • Put more thought into your captions! Good copy goes a long way.

It’s about really identifying those pain points and work it into your copy so you’re talking directly to them, so they immediately see themselves in your writing. They can identify themselves as someone you  can help.

Find your own voice by practicing talking out loud about what it is you do. See what words YOU use when you talk, make sure to include that in your copy. It makes you more human and it makes it so much more easier for someone to reach out to you when they read your copy. When they finally connect to you, you’re exactly who they thought you would be because they already met you through your words.  

Just keep practicing writing in your own voice. Soon you’ll find it and it will become second nature. The blank page is a scary thing. Put your guard down and let your natural voice come out. Pretend you’re talking to a friend. That’s the number one thing I wish my clients would do more of!

How to Write a Great About Page:

  • Write in the first person. You come across as so much more personable and it’s so much more human to write as if you’re talking to somebody.
  • Get specific of who your client is.
  • Use a one liner to tell what you do.
  • Who you are, what you do, who you help and how you help them.
  • Talk about your client’s pain point.
  • This page isn’t about you, it’s about your clients. They’re interested in finding out how you help them
  • Outline their pain points.
  • Talk about how you can help them and how you’ve helped others.
  • It’s a gateway for people to reach out to you.
  • It’s a conversation starter.

Get Maria’s About Page workbook here!

Connect with Maria!Write a great about page

Let curiosity do the heavy lifting with Olive Hebert

Olive is on a mission to help brands and non profit to put a little more soul into their note passing and gain copywriting confidence online and off. The dearest Olive Community is turning client based into online social communities that thrive and excite. Olive also helps DIY entrepreneurs connect more deeply with their audience to create thriving online communities.

What you will get out of this episode:

    • Why you will have to unlearn what you learned in school when it comes to writing.
    • Why it’s important to find your ideal client and how to speak to them
    • If open rates and subject lines are important
    • How Olive feels about sharing successes and what she’s after

To subscribe to the Blissful Bites Podcast and listen in iTunes click here! 

Focus on how your clients want to feel with @dearestolive #blissfulbitespodcast Click To Tweet

Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.

I own Dearest Olive Studio and I’m based here in Athens Georgia in the South. I am a copywriter and content strategist for the people I affectionately call the DIY-preneurs. Typically solo-preneurs they’re typically in creative visual fields like photography, videography, graphic design and other than that I am a mom, I have 2 boys and I have a handsome fella who I dearly loved and we enjoyed spending our time with nature. I do a nature connection program here through a non-profit called Wild Intelligence. I love to read, I love to go outside, I love to connect with my people and really that’s the core of who I am.

Can you give us an overview of copywriting?

Copywriting traditionally is writing to sell or writing to position your offering in a way that makes it attractive to buyers. There are a couple of people like me but they are not many of us where we’re putting the focus of copy into this connective place over this conversion place because we know that connective copywriting is actually the best conversion tool that I have. Rather than writing to position my things to sell, I wrote to position myself to connect with people first and conversion always followed. It was amazing that radical increase in sales and the percentage of conversions I was getting based on the number of people in my audience. The copy on your website is probably the most important copywriting that you’ll ever do or you’ll hire someone to do. You’ve also got copywriting on your Instagram feed, Twitter, Facebook and your email marketing. It’s a really powerful tool to connect and also to convert dream client leads into customers who love your brand.

What do you suggest to actually make the switch between that connective writing rather than just writing to sell?

I used to own a hair salon company and it really started there. A lot of our marketing and our copy was centered around selling our services or selling our products. I was experiencing this big shift at that time of wanting my life and my work to align in this way. What I valued in my life was connection and that’s when I felt the most alive, when I felt the most energized and I thought how can I do this in my salon company where we are offering beauty services. I believed that what we were selling was connection and showing people that they already are beautiful. I sat down one day and I wrote an email campaign to our audience that said, “Everything we thought about beauty is wrong.” It was just the story of the ways in which we’ve been brought up and the ways in which our culture calls us to be more beautiful and that, yes, we offer these beauty services but everything we think about is actually wrong and if we don’t honor beauty as what it already is the concept itself is our enemy.

That was the turning point for me because we got all of these responses from people that were like, “Thank you so much. This made me feel like a human. I feel like you see me for who I am.” We actually sold more services and booked more clients online from that email of just honesty and true telling and debunking the myths in our industry than any other email or marketing promotion that we ever done.

To me I think the way you getting into that is getting out of the mentality of I have to write this to sell, this sales page has to hit pain points, it has to hit frustration, it has to hit all those things and just flipping the script into how can we connect first and cultivate a relationship, humanize that relationship and then convert them into customers. How it is right now is that I really want to bring my honest truth and connect with people first and then convert them later and not look at from, “I converted a customer here. Now the relationship starts,” but rather flipping the script to, “How can I build a relationship with someone who I want to be my dream client…” and I think that’s where you start. It’s just flipping the script, flipping the mindset into more of what I call invitation over publicity. Inviting them in rather than publicizing and promoting to bring them in to buy.

olive hebert

How do you go about figuring out who your dream client is?

You have a pretty good idea of people who you’ve loved working with, you have a pretty good idea of people you didn’t jive with and then even if you don’t have a current client base you can think of the kind of people in certain industries or niches that you really would love to serve.  It can get tricky because sometimes we think of the people we want to serve and then we end up working with those people and we’re like, “Oh wait, maybe this isn’t who I was thinking of.”

But for me with Dearest Olive is I find those dream clients especially if I find when they’ve already worked with or that I’m working with currently and then I interview them like crazy. It’s not necessarily a formal interview but I just listen to them like what are their frustrations, what do they love, what brings them energy and they’ll tell you so much just on normal conversations.

You can really start to pin down what is it that makes them come alive because even if it’s not related to your specific offering, let’s say your a photographer and you offer family sessions, understanding what makes them come alive in their life will help you understand how to connect with them and cultivate that relationship before they actually book a session. And when they connect with you in that level, you are the one worth choosing for them.

What I do is, I do interview people also more formally sometimes I do a formal coffee date or Skype date and I’ll ask them questions about how do you feel on those best days, how do you feel on your worse days, what does a perfect day look like for you and that can tell you actually a lot about them. You can ask them open-ended questions like that and they’ll say many things outside of that scope that lead you to what their pain plans are to. Things that people are really seeking and they wish this certain thing to be in their life so much you know that’s kind of pain point for them as well.

I do try to focus more on what is it that they are looking for, what kind of things make them come alive, what did they feel at their best more so than I do the pain points because I think that can, there’s a slippery slope there with that becoming a marketing gimmick of digging into the pain points and trying to remind them of the things that frustrates them in order to see that you have the solution. What I found to be more effective in terms of converting dream clients, people that I really love and want to work with, is focusing on how they want to feel and what kind of thing they are looking for and then presenting to them in that way.

How often do you actually hear, “but I’m a terrible writer.”

What it really is not that people aren’t great writers, it’s that they don’t have a writing practice. Once people get into a writing practice and they write often they find out, “you know, I’m actually am an okay writer.” One big thing that helps people understand that they are a writer in some kind.

We do have stories to share and I think the key there too is sharing them in a way that’s honest and truthful to us. When we try to write things in a way that we think is traditionally good writing or when we focus too much on our upbringing.

Here’s something I say a lot to my clients is that you’ve got to unlearn what you learned in school sometimes. You’ve got to unlearn the perfect grammar and where to put the semi-colon and all those things so that you can actually get your story out there in a way that’s connective and that’s not so robotic. If you’re writing something like where grammar is really important but for most people and probably for most of you listeners the really important thing is that they get their message across and that they say it in a way that’s unique to them and they don’t lose their voice at the expense of what we consider to be “good writing”.

Craft a great email to your clientsWhat do you think makes up a really great email to your dream client?

Typically for me with Dearest Olive I tend to either go with a story or a lesson from a story. I will say I’m a little careful about what kind of story when I share them because I have to be really careful of myself because I love to speak my truth and to be honest and I really have to really watch myself that I’m not sharing too soon like before the stories had a chance to unfold.

For me and my email campaigns, a lot of it is personal, some of it is like something empowering or inspiring or a metaphor of some kind that I’ve thought about and sometimes it’s playful and silly. I think sometimes with email marketing, in the way that I do it, it’s not necessarily like that. I don’t have an arc and like this big end thing.

I think it can look like a lot of different things but I think the 2 main things that your stories need is some kind of character that doesn’t necessarily have to be a person but some character or idea or a thought pattern that you’ve had. Maybe you start off with I used to think this and now I think this.

The second piece is you have the character and you’ve also got to have some element of change or some element of transformation and that’s where you think about that dream client and can they see themselves in this? Is this something they cans see themselves in? And that’s where stories really resonate with your dream client.

When your dream client can see themselves in the story and whether or not it’s their past self or their current self or where they want to go. I don’t think that necessarily matters as long as you’re focusing on how they want to feel but you need to have some element of change in there. It doesn’t have to be monetary; it doesn’t have to be necessarily super lifestyle. I think that can very much be internal and some of those are my highest converting emails and my highest engaging emails or highest in terms of percentage of engagement come from that internal change and transformation.

What would be a great tip for someone to just really help them grow their email list with that perfect dream client?

One thing that I recommend for my clients who have smaller list is really engaging to the subscribers that you do have. So, engaging with them, providing them peer value and then asking them for the forward.

One of the best ways I’ve ever grown my list was really quality subscribers is just asking for a forward and then at the end of that email at the very bottom, including a link, maybe I’ll do that 10 lines after I signed off or after the P.S. and I’ll say, “Hey! If you got this email forwarded to from a friend 1.You’ve got awesome friends and 2. If you’d like to receive more notes like this here’s where you can sign up.

I get a lot of subscribers in that way which feels really good to me because it’s also really organic kind of growth. There’s so many different ways that you can create an-opt in opportunity for someone. People call this a lead magnet sometimes or opt in freebee which is something you give away for free in exchange for their name and email address and with those you have to be a little careful because you have to really make sure that your creating an opt in that leaves them to know understand or believes something about what you offer or who you are that will then lead them to sale later.

Resources from the episode:

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Listen to Olive Herbert’s interview on the Blissful Bites Podcast in iTunes!

Olive is a connective copywriter, social media & content strategist, and email marketing enthusiast based in Athens, GA’s thriving creative community.  Specializing in sales funnels, launch sequences and social media management plans that are built to connect and convert, Olive is on a mission to turn client bases into engaged, online social communities that grow your business.

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