5 Truths About Copy Most People Won’t Tell You

As a photographer, you get a lot of advice …

People talk in absolutes at you:

Never do …
Don’t make this one mistake …
You need to …
The only thing that matters is …

That’s because absolute language gets peoples attention. But the truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for anything in business. And the same goes for copy.

So even in this blog post where I use an aggressive word like “truths,” know that what is truth for someone else may not be truth for you. And that’s normal and OK. Here goes nothin:

1. You’ll need to make some educated guesses.
Every copywriter, including me, talks about the research. We aren’t just making up words for you that we like. We’re pulling from what we know about you and your clients.

And yet … even with loads of research, we have to make some assumptions. We have to assume that your clients will laugh at the jokes we use in the copy and that they will be OK with “colorful” language if we use it. We have to assume what their hesitations are about hiring you.

It’s all grounded in research. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t guessing a little bit. It’s GOOD to guess. Especially when it’s an educated one.

2. Sometimes you should walk away.
Seriously. Especially when you’ve tried all the hacks to get the words flowing and you’re just getting more and more frustrated.

Get up from the desk or couch or wherever you’re working and leave it alone. I don’t care if you’re in a time crunch. If it’s not flowing, don’t force it. Do 30 jumping jacks, take a walk around the block, eat a snack, call your friend and catch up for 10 minutes.

Just leave it alone, let your brain breathe, and come back with a new perspective.

3. You might hate the copy that will actually work for you.
You are not always your ideal client. Which means you might think about things in a different way and speak in a different way. There’s almost always a word or phrase that comes up in our research that a photographer hates using. But if their clients say it often, it’s almost always something that future clients will resonate with.

Ask yourself what’s more important: using language that resonates with YOU or language that resonates with the people who will pay you? (Hint: it’s the second one.)

4. Good copy does not equal good marketing.
They aren’t the same. Copy can be so powerful, but if you’re not strategic about where you use it, it’s just some words that sound good. Marketing is a completely different beast that copy simply helps.

You need smart strategy to build and engage an audience. What’s the point of having amazing copy on your website if you don’t have a plan to get people there? Marketing is acquisition, copy is conversion.

5. There’s nothing wrong with not writing your own copy.
There is a world in which you get so good at photography and taking care of your clients that you don’t have to write anymore.

I’m always going to preach the value of knowing this skill, but I’m also passionate about helping people love the business they run. And if copy makes you hate working, outsource. Pay someone else to do this for you. The money you make is just as real even if you’re not the one writing the words that sell you.

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