Whether or not you signed up to “be a writer” when you started your business, the truth is that clearly communicating your ideas through great copy is a requirement.
Between newsletters, blog posts, video descriptions, captions, lead magnets, promotional emails, sales and check out pages (those last 3 are the money makers btw) writing is part of building an online brand.
But what if you don’t consider yourself a great writer?
What if you struggle to come up with ideas or “get into flow” when you sit down to type?
And even if you can write great content, what if persuasive selling in copy seems like an unsolvable rubik’s cube?
Today's episode will help you step into the role of writer and become persuasive and compelling in your copy, through the help of my dear friend (and our copywriter here at The Speaker Co), Sara Vartanian.
Sara is a launch strategist and copywriter and I’ve asked her to sill the tea on all things copy tips to help you make your copy hotter than Taylor Swift tickets.
You will LOVE unscripted, hilariously real conversation, packed with tangible tips, advice and strategies. We tackle questions like: how long should copy really be? Where do people spend way too much time? What if I don’t feel like writing? Plus we go into a few wildly inappropriate metaphors (per usual) that unsurprisingly drive the lessons home.
Inside this episode, you’ll learn:
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Heather Sager 1:55
Well, hey, friends, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I've been waiting for this week's interview for like, quite literally months, months. It's working for Sara and I to get this interview. It's scheduled. But today we're going to talk about the polar opposite of what I do, which is y'all I teach you how to be more articulate with your words, how to be more confident when you're saying your words, how to come across as more in authority and be more persuasive with your language in the written form. Today's guest, Sara Vartanian is going to teach you how you can be equally persuasive and equally compelling with your words in the written form. Today's episode, I'm bringing you my personal copywriter, the person who's like the genius between or behind all of our launches in our business. She's the person who writes her sales pages, writes a lot of our email sequences, you are going to meet the person that allows us to sound like ourselves in written form. Yes, we get help in those areas. You're going to meet her and she is an absolute masterful wordsmith. But more importantly, she teaches people how to sound like themselves and get results from the written word.
Heather Sager 3:01
So let me tell you a little bit about Sara. She's a launch strategist and copywriter at Sarah vartanian.com and hosts, The Launch Playbook Podcast which I had the honor of being on earlier this year and I talked specifically around like persuasive selling with your words so that is a really great episode of my interview on her podcast which we will link it also in the show notes. But Sara, her focus is helping business owners use research and data to map their customers journey so they can craft a launch experience that makes people they love serving most feel seen and heard. So Sara is really masterful of helping you identify the language your audience uses. Also identifying your unique things, the things about your personality, point those two things together and copy in a function that gets results.
And on today's interview, I loved it so much because we bridge this idea between the verbal word and the written word and whether or not you're more comfortable to say things out loud, or maybe you're more comfortable like Sara, typing out or writing words. It doesn't matter which area you need both in your business for you to be able to be compelling, to be charismatic, to build out your brand and your following you have to be able to do both. So what I loved about today's conversation is it was a very unscripted, very real, very hilarious. Spoiler alert, I called Sara, a hoe in the episode and not the kind of code that you think you will soon learn. We also talked about chastity belts and lubricant and none of which in the way that you think we would talk about it. It's a very different, there's a hilarious story there. So there's just like a little teaser of the weirdness that we get in today's episode. This is a really fun one. I think you're gonna laugh right alongside us.
My vision for you for listening to this episode is that it feels like you are present with us having a cup of coffee and just talking about the real reality of writing words, speaking words in your business and the struggle bus that a lot of us fall on to when it comes to the volume of copy that we inherently discover we have to create it, it is a lot and with Sarah's help, it can be really fun. It can be personality packed and it doesn't have to feel so heavy. So Sarah delivers so many brilliant gems in this episode, including how to actually get yourself into the mode of writing when you are feeling stuck for your weekly newsletter. She gives four really incredible tips so pay attention to that's one of the last questions I asked her. She also talks about two of the biggest areas that people tend to focus on that they think is a problem and the shift that you need to make to focus on instead. Really loved how she got into answering the question, is my copy too long? Am I writing too much? She'll answer that and she's also going to answer one of my favorite shifts that I made when I got into writing more copy online. It's how do you release yourself from the level of professional communication that you probably learned when you were working in corporate or some kind of customer service job in your life. You've probably probably brought in this language that's a little too stiff, maybe a little too formal with the shake that off and bring a little bit more casual language and she's going to teach you how to do that. This one is so freakin Good. Please do me a favor right now. And as you head into the episode, take a screenshot share this on Instagram tag both me @theheathersager and Sara @saravartanian, both links are in the show notes. Please share it, share this with your friends. This is one that more people need to hear because as you build your online business copy and clearly communicating your ideas is not just a nice to have. It is a necessity and today's episode is going to help you with just that. That further ado here's my conversation with copywriter and launch strategist, Sarah Vartanian.
Heather Sager 3:09
All right, well Sarah, welcome officially to the show. I'm so thrilled we're finally frickin doing this. Hello.
Sara Vartanian 7:14
Oh my gosh, Heather, I am so happy we're here. I know, it's been, I've been saying to you in the green room before. I have a dream to be on your podcast and I know you've been on mine so I'm so happy to be on yours finally.
Heather Sager 7:25
It's so, so good. Okay, we got to tell the story around how Sara and I met three years ago. It actually has been three years. Three years ago in September was our meeting anniversary, where we met at a live event in Niagara Falls, Canada. I'm remembering very, that like behind the windows at the back into the conference was picturesque you can see Niagara falls over the back. You and I were getting coffee and we chatted This is very creepy that I'm remembering this so clearly but it was really one of the rare people in the online space that I met in person before I met virtually. I don't know you
Sara Vartanian 8:03
Same, you are for me too. Yeah, because I don't go to that many conferences and there's not many that are in Canada and that one, and I'm in to Canada so it was about like an hour and a half from my house so I could not resist attending, of course.
Heather Sager 8:15
Yeah so that was that was so great and since then we have built a great friendship. And then I full disclaimer, y'all, I had the wonderful opportunity of hiring Sara last spring to help us with the launch of our wonderful program, the Speaker Society and help us get stuff off the ground for the Speaker Co. And so after working with Sarah now I was like, Oh my gosh, y'all I have to bring her on to tell you all of the things around what she does. So no, like pressure here. Sara, you're gonna deliver today. I know, I know. You will.
Sara Vartanian 8:44
Oh, my gosh, thank you.
Heather Sager 8:47
I want to hear the story of Sara around how did you get started with copywriting? Because I actually I don't know this story and I'm very curious around why the written word? How did you get here?
Sara Vartanian 8:57
Oh my gosh, I think the story for me is always changing. I don't know if your origin story is always evolving as you realize more threads are pulling together. But you know, like, the long story is I used to be a teacher for 10 years and I was always a writer though I realized like journaling and reading and writing and my favorite part of teaching was always English, like I loved teaching stories and how to write. I taught elementary school. But during my second MAT leave, I decided I wanted to do something different.
So I actually started this online diaper shop which is really has nothing to do with writing, sounds like right? but I was really into like green living and I wanted to like I was like very environmentally conscious and was worried about stuff. So it was like definitely something that was a side hustle like it just wasn't gonna replace my teaching income. But when I was writing the website for it and the product descriptions and things like that, I started doing something I call like a reading the internet. I was reading all these forums, all these questions people were asking, and I set my website up, and I actually bought cloth diapers to sell that directly solve people's problems if they were like, I live in an apartment and I share laundry. Okay, well, this is like I was like, Okay, well, this is what they would need. And so I wrote for that, okay, well, I want something that's almost like disposable diapers, which is like, so it'd be like an all in one cloth diaper so I wrote to that.
Sara Vartanian 9:09
And so what that happened when I actually put my website out there was people started buying because I specifically addressed their problems. I started getting invited to like, write on some like eco blogs or magazines, come out and do workshops. And I really realize the power of writing and listening to people and how if you directly do so it leads to sales. From there, I evolved into a green living blog. I actually like closed my shop because I realized how much I liked the writing piece. I started writing for green beauty companies and other educational companies. And then again, it evolved into having my own clients, like close the blog and started writing for these clients. And then they were starting to launch, right, like they had these services and then they decided they wanted to take their service moving into a an online offer so I started writing their launches.
But it wasn't actually until we met Heather that I officially called myself a copywriter. I don't think that you know that but I had gone to that conference with my friend Doris and I had been calling myself like a content writer. I knew I a writer, a content writer but I wouldn't call myself a copywriter. I was like that's not for me that label. And then I talked to Chanti Zak, actually, she's like a quiz copywriter and we were chatting and she's like, Are you a copywriter? And I was I was like, oh, I don't know, like, I like I do all this launch writing and I do all this stuff. She's like, you're a copywriter, just like own it. So I walked out of that conference that we can be like, a frigging copywriter and realizing I had been doing it for years just hadn't like allowed myself to take the label on. So it's sort of my windy story to get where I am.
Heather Sager 11:57
I had no idea. I'm like, I'm laughing around you're putting the puzzle together to talk to people more specifically around diapers so I'm having like a huge flashback right now. So when I was 10 years old, no, I did not wear diapers. So my oldest sister is 12 years older than me so she had her first baby at 22. I was 10 so I became an aunt at the age of 10. And that summer after my niece was born, I was the official babysitter like I was like certified babysitter, Baby Sitters Club was my favorite book series at that eight. I was like the neighborhood babysitter. But I remember my sister insisted on, this in the 90s, insisted on using cloth diapers and I remember thinking like this is so freaking disgusting. They lived in an apartment. But I would imagine they like had some thing that someone like you who wrote wonderful copy that had this whole thing positioned around you live in apartment. No problem. We will come pick up your whatever. That's all diaper service. Anyways, I'm having flashbacks because I blocked this out of my brain all that summer. I changed cloth diapers and we were eco conscious and it was also very disgusting so that's the opener of the podcast today.
Sara Vartanian 13:11
Heather Sager 13:13
Alright, so here's something that's interesting. So at the conference that we met, we had a conversation around something really interesting. You and I remember we were chatting at the coffee filling station and then you came. I taught a breakout little mini session around speaking. And I remember you sharing with me that like the idea of saying words out loud and speaking was mildly terrifying. And I remember thinking, I don't think I expressed this at the time, but I remember thinking, the idea of having to write words on paper and have that be the only way I communicate with someone, that's terrifying. So I think it's very interesting and this is where we want to start the conversation today is all of us have kind of different personalities when it comes to communicating words. There's different mediums to communicate words. I want to hear it from your perspective around how like have you always used, you mentioned you love English, but have you always been more in favor of the written word? Just talk to me a little bit more about that and your relationship with the spoken word to?
Sara Vartanian 14:08
My gosh, yes. 100%? yes, I've been in favor of the written word always. And I think I'm definitely a really avid reader. I think at this point, this year, I've read like 120 books, almost if I look at my library app, like I read all the time and so I think I'm just reading it and maybe that's the introvert side of me too but I'm there's nothing makes me happier than like reading or writing. Essentially, like cozying up and doing doing so and but being scared of the written word goes back to school, and we had to do those presentations, and stand up like I can feel myself getting sweating now at the idea of doing that.
And then even when I was teaching, I was often asked to do presentations, and I would do them, right, like I would do them. I would step up. I was like a whole reading coach for our area of teachers and I would go around to schools and teach stuff, but I was deeply uncomfortable. The more that I repeated something of course and the more familiar I became with the topic, the easier it became and the more myself I became but I definitely would spend a lot of time scripting things out ahead of time and just I would have to find myself like walking around the house talking it out. And maybe and I didn't know how, like, do other people do that?
But still, I think my biggest fear around it was, what if they asked me something that I don't know the answer to. And that is still something that will trip me up before let's say I do a podcast like this or a summit, I'm thinking what if something happens? I've more learned to embrace the fact that I don't like, I don't have to know everything. And it's funny, Heather, because that's something I would teach my students, right? It was like, it's okay to know the answer, like we can try. And you can say, I don't know, that's a great question. Let's talk about it. But you know, it seems like I would put myself on another spot, right? Like, that's good for you, but not for me. So I'm saying that, that's where it is for me.
Heather Sager 15:56
I think we all relate to that and I think anybody, especially anyone who teaches anything that's kind of business ask, right? Or even if somebody who's like, a fitness coach, or I think with anything we all have different recommendations that we have for our audience. But for us, it's like we've already gone through that level of acceptance and awareness that we have just very different expectations of ourselves and it's so, it's so, it's such a bummer we do that to ourselves, but we all frickin do that. So, I love that you, I'm now laughing that here I am asking you like all these questions. We have no game plan for this episode today. You have no idea what questions are flying your way. And I'm like, I've just set you up for like your worst nightmare.
Sara Vartanian 16:37
I'm comfortable with you. It's good. I'm good.
Heather Sager 16:41
Part of like the safety of the environment allows for the questions to happen. Okay. So for you, when the, talk to me a little bit about when you work with clients. So you do launch copy, that's primarily your thing is helping people like, I don't even know what the word I would use to describe you but you are like a masterful magician slash messaging therapist, that helps us on the journey around like, I don't know, we all have such a close relationship with our offers. They're like our child. And then we have all these really complicated relationships with their offers and we treat them very precious and you like therapy wise work us through, that's what you did for Emily and I, like how to like, approach it and get the most brilliant things out of her head. You're so effing good with with launch copy. Do you find that a lot of your clients tend to favor more of the written word or the spoken word?
Sara Vartanian 17:34
I would say the spoken word for sure. A lot of them like are really worried about writing. And the truth is probably like you were just saying, like saying to me, you set me up for this situation. That was like my worst nightmare but the truth is like, I do know this stuff, right? And I know that I know this stuff. And so the same thing. I think with my clients, I'm like, oh, man, but you're so good at this. And Heather, like, I know, so much of what made writing for you, for you and Emily, so great was that you have podcasts, you talk on on lives. And so I'm able to go on, listen to all the amazing stories that you're telling. I'm thinking, man, this is such good, right? Like, just a good story. They just need to be pulled into the copy. So I think we both probably have it there. We just, we have a medium that we prefer.
Heather Sager 18:16
Yeah, one of the things that you used on me really well that I think could be a really good tip and I'm going to talk about this is, you know, you would go and listen to some podcast episodes, or you came to for example, all of the live webinars that I did, and you would gleam on to these little random things that I said and then figure out how to make it work into copy so the language sounded like me to the point where I read it and I'm like, this sounds more like me that when I say things like it was so fun. Can you talk a little bit about like, what like what that was, and maybe like a little tip for other people who want their copy to sound less bland and more like personality punchy?
Sara Vartanian 18:55
Yeah, I'm listening to you, let's say for your webinars. I was listening for those spots where you got really animated for example, where I could just tell like you were like really excited to share that piece or a story that made you laugh yourself, essentially, like telling it.
Sara Vartanian 19:10
I never do that.
Sara Vartanian 19:13
You never say anything silly or sarcastic. So all that stuff, I would note those things down and also when I noticed in this listening for your webinar when people were responding to something you were saying when they were like, you know, you've just like fire emoji just smile emojis are like, Oh, yes, I can get that. That's the kind of stuff that I was taking notes of, especially, because one, it was resonating with your audience. Two, you were loving it, right? And you know, things that made me smile too or laugh at someone listening or made me nod my head and be like, like leaning a little bit closer so as taking notes of those type of things. I think we may have those we can segue way into all the learning.
Heather Sager 19:51
Yeah, okay, so can you apply that? Can you give me a power tip? Give our audience a power tip around let's say that they don't have a copywriter and they like how could they emulate that for their own stuff?
Sara Vartanian 20:03
Think of the stories that you either are just like telling your friend or your sister or your husband about your day and they don't have to be big deals like I think we often think that our storytelling has to be this massive like, I went out and I did all these things and I don't know like I'm a copywriter. I sit on my butt a lot in the computer. I don't do a lot and I'm sure a lot of us can relate the last couple of years we've been home a lot more so things maybe aren't that interesting. But even, you know, like you and I Heather we were talking before, we start recording that, you know, our my my son would, he's not allowed to drink, we don't drink pop but my husband drinks pop, but he will reach in to my office, I have this like sliding door thing. It's off the kitchen. He'll reach in during when I'm on a call and he'll like put his hand into the office hold a pop and kind of like shake it right so like it's out of my side view. No one else can see it but me and I'll always like reach my hand up, just take no. He's keep doing it until finally I'm like buying just like taking it and that's just like a little side story. But I'm sure that I could work that into, you know, a whole story around like aggressively selling or being like unethical, right? Like using unethical techniques in your copy because that's an unethical way, you know, that I'm gonna say no, but he's put me on the spot.
Heather Sager 21:15
And I'll finally cave because it's so persuasive but I'm not going to be happy about it like
Sara Vartanian 21:20
So just starting to think about these little like micro moments in your life and writing them down. I sure we have like a whole, you know, just a whole bank of them thinking about things that happen or make you laugh. I just I had to give another one I was putting away after we'd been in college in the summer I was putting away like our, you know, our pillow cases and all that stuff like this and this really old pillowcase fell down one that we never used as McDonald's pillowcase. I have a McDonald's pillowcase, that's like meeting a child at 80's. Of course, something to McDonald pillows.
Heather Sager 21:52
What I want to know it's like the Hamburglar on it?
Sara Vartanian 21:55
Yes and then other like purpley guy that the hamburger? I don't know. There's a bunch of the the old really old characters. Yeah, the fry guys, although to my husband actually has the exact same pillowcase. Okay. So when he moved out with me, he showed up with a suitcase and a box and in that box that he didn't have much box was this McDonald's pillowcase and I'm like, I have that one. And he's always saying how we're meant to be, how you're meant to meet each other because we lived in the same neighborhood, we hung out at the same places, but we never met until we were like in our early 20s so he's like that just proof that you were meant to be. So I use that like pillowcase story sometimes to talk about how, how do you know if your clients are meant to be like, what are the signs that you're meant to be working together. So just little things like it was just a pillowcase falling, or my kid putting his hand in the door with a coke but these are little micro stories that you can use to segue way into stuff. So I think just pay attention to those things, the hings that make you laugh, things that happen in your life, they don't have to be big involve adventure things you can relate to those.
Heather Sager 22:58
I think so often when it comes to, I love that you pivoted into storytelling as an example here. I think so often, I mean, people are always thinking for these really big epic stories because they see and hear people on TEDx stages, or at conferences that have these really grandiose real life stories. But honestly, those stories while moving, they're not necessarily relatable. And what you're talking here is like those seemingly insignificant kind of lame, quote unquote lame stories, those are the ones that are actually the best to use in your copy because you don't need a ton of explanation for them. They're easy for people to catch. So one of the, you just actually reminded me a really great technique for people to find those stories is like, when you jump on Zoom and chit chatting with someone in that first like three minutes, what are the random fricking life updates you give someone in that as probably a treasure trove of like seemingly mundane shit that you could say how can I turn this into a lesson? Like how can I incorporate that into my email or something? So I just wrote that down as an idea for myself of like, what's the random should I say on Zoom?
Sara Vartanian 24:02
And I want to credit you with a lot too of this Heather when I think about you know, when I'm going to go over to speaking part is that you know, when we first met at that workshop, I learned from you. You talked about storytelling and then I took your, you had this course around getting up on video, like an older. I think it's an archive course now, but like way back from years ago. It was getting on video, and you are always so good about having a few little stories that you can relate to things that just make you laugh, you don't have to go into a big piece to make you laugh, to make you not to make me smile, they sometimes make me tear up. But they're not big, long involved things. They really relatable. They're things that we can like get behind that we've probably experienced, or a friend has, or our partner has or someone has. And just having a bank of those things relate to lean into I'm sure for spoken or for coffee is big, you know really makes a difference. It really helps you connect with people.
Heather Sager 24:50
Yeah, this is not what I call them but in my brain this is like the word I just came up with that describes that. It's like, this is terrible either it's silly regret to say this but like lubricant stories. And what I mean by that is not what you think people, so get your mind out of the gutter, and you're welcome for this random little gem I'm about to deliver. It's like, people think that their stories have to do a lot of heavy lifting to have a big lesson. But sometimes your story just needs to do exactly what you just said. Get the head nod, get the relatable piece, get people to believe like, okay, we're not actually that much different, like, Oh, I am approachable, or oh, this is fun, like some kind of moment that happens that makes people take the pressure off of the topic you're doing. It creates lubricant for when you then I don't think I should finish that sentence but come in with like the big ideas, right, like that this is like the worst I have to back out of this because now I've said that three times on the podcast and it feels south real quick.
Sara Vartanian 25:49
Can I add on to that which I love but maybe you will. When I met you, Heather, I remember that we were talking again about speaking and after you've done that conference, and I was like at that little talk and I had said okay, feel like I'm more ready to go out and maybe try to do some IG lives. And you're like, yes, you're taking off the chastity belt of your speaking. I just want to say I always love how you bring it around.
Sara Vartanian 26:10
It's always sexual.
Sara Vartanian 26:13
I can count on you for that at some point.
Heather Sager 26:16
It's the unexpected thing. Side note, that's part of my, okay, this okay, I'll have to like back it up here because I didn't do all of this intentionally but I'll say things all the time like this random, I start talking about lubricant as the metaphor for this or saying, just lose the chastity belt and just do it. Inside our program, we talk about like, one of the main phrases I use all the time is like, go lose your podcast virginity, like just go and you'll lose your stage or like, go do it and one of the reasons why I say that is because of that giggle, lean in factor that I get every time I say shit like that. I know my audience starts laughing because they're like, I am being super precious with this. Like, I am like building up this hype here and my like male competitors in this space would never be caught dead saying anything like that and the women that I work with, especially some of my clients who are in their 60s and 70s, they giggle so hard and it like reminds them to have fun, like so those are things that I've observed how my audience relates when I say shit like that. It's not only true to my personality, but it also has, there's a strategic angle around how it pulls my ideal person in that they're not going to take themselves too seriously.
Sara Vartanian 27:23
For sure, well, it worked for me 100%.
Heather Sager 27:25
Good. Job is done. Here we are three years later, you lost the chastity belt now look at you. You're a copy speaking hoe.
Sara Vartanian 27:37
I'll take it. I'll wear that badge.
Heather Sager 27:38
Yeah, you should, you should, I'm going to create little little logos for that at a future state. And I probably just lost half of our listeners, as I called one of my favorite people a hoe. Okay, we should take a pivot and keep going on this related to copy. So one of the things that I wanted to do today with our conversation is you have so many little techniques and one of the things that you do so well, not only do you write phenomenal copy, and somehow are able to like read people's brains, and then bring that brilliance out. But you also are a really good teacher, which goes back to the fact that you were a teacher for years. So you have a really unique ability to help people write their own copy, which, quite frankly, is a very rare thing. There's a lot of copywriters that try to teach it, but like you know how to teach and write copy. So I want to, I want to kind of pivot and start offering some insights for people who do write their own copy, whether it's content copy or launch copy. And I'm curious from you, and where I want to start is, where do you typically find that people like obsessed over and focus when it comes to copywriting? And do you have any suggestions around maybe where they need to, like, not worry so much and shift their focus?
Sara Vartanian 28:56
Say there's two areas, one that they're worried about always being too long, like is this too long this copy. And then the other piece is that they try to professionalize it too much, right? They try to like, really be the expert, but to the point that it's not sounding like them at all, like it's can be cold, it doesn't have their personality shining through so those are the two areas where I feel like they sort of obsess and freak out over. And so what I would say to that is, you know, number one with making it too long, is that there are different types of people who are reading your copy, and we all bring these different experiences to buying and reading and taking the next leap and I think about that when I was teaching like grade two, three, and I was teaching Math.
And so before I would teach an addition unit, I'd always put up a question so like, I may say something like, Okay, so what's 52 plus 19? Like, how do you solve that? And I asked you to into this question, and I'd say okay, like go show me, however you do it. Go show me. So they'd all like go and do it and some kid would do it the let's say proper way I'm air quoting with like the carrying the one to make 71. Some would write it out so it's actually 611 so they wouldn't actually carry, they would just like write the numbers down in the line. Some do tally marks, someone break it up. The point is I would get like seven or eight different ways of responding to this one and it's one question. And if I hadn't, have figured that out, if I hadn't have known where they were coming from, I wouldn't have been able to connect with them and help them actually learn what they needed to learn to move to the next step.
So that goes back to a sales page or something being too long, is that it's okay for things to be too long because we are going to say too long, there isn't really such a thing as too long, as long as you're not just like rambling and rambling, like maybe I'm doing right this second, I'm gonna pull it back. But the point being it like, we all come with different needs, right? So some people will hop onto your page, let's say a sales page or service page and all they need to read at the top is that sort of emotional part that's at the top of a page, maybe what you're calling in their dreams, or what's in it, it's perfect for you. And they're going to really relate to that emotional side and they're going to be like, yeah, damn, I'm an like, this is solution, I'm so good.
But then there's some people who want more of that risk reversal. They want to know, your guarantees, they maybe want to like, they're gonna scan through those FAQs of yours, right, they're gonna really read through testimonials, they want to know that proof because maybe they've been burned before, or they're really, you know, maybe they have that $2,000 but like to part with it as is a big deal, right, it really is a big deal. Like, that's something they're gonna commit to, for the next year, they don't have any other budget so they want to make sure they're putting in the right spot. And if we don't know what people need and we don't take the time to speak to our different audience members who are coming then we might lose them.
So I think letting go of that fear of something being too long and just recognizing that people need different things from you on a page and so it's okay, if it's long, it's probably long for a reason as long as again, you're not rambling along if you have like different sections that address different needs.
And then the other piece around what was I gonna say the other piece was, oh, around professionalizing it, is that I think it's okay, like start just do your writing, write it all out if it's professionalized, and then go through it and start reading it out loud and asking yourself, okay, does this sound like me? Where can I fun this up, right? Like, where can I add a little bit of personality? Where can I change this to a word I actually use? Do I actually use these words?
So you can like go back and listen to maybe an IG live you've done, or even even have the partner or best friend to read it, like really, and say, like, does this sound like me at all. And of course, you maybe aren't gonna sound the same, exactly you do with your best friend or your partner but the fact if it sounds like too far off of you, like it doesn't sound like help that you really sounds like a whole other personality like robotic, change that. See where you can add it in, like, maybe you can add in something around, like what you eat or drink, or like a reference a nod to your favorite show, or don't have things sort of formal. Maybe you're gonna put a GIF in a page or something like that, just little ways to add in your personality even like little side jokes that you think are funny, or even a hashtag or something like that are just ways to start putting it in. But the truth is, like we unless you're probably in certain industries, you don't need to be overly professional, what you already really what you need to do is just show that you have a solution, that you're the person for them, and you might not be for everyone, and that's okay. But I think we risk losing more people if we are to not ourselves and to overly professional and trying to write like your college essay. Well, that's not where we are at unless that is again, your audience and you need to, but most of us, it's not in the online space.
Heather Sager 33:44
Yeah, well, I think this is something, this second piece here to professionalism that I want to circle back up on the length. But the professional piece, this was one of my probably best lessons learned when I shifted from corporate into entrepreneurship. And what I realized was, there's a difference between when you're an employee in another company and you're writing. You're not only writing like your expertise, you're representing a brand. And so inherently you have to be a little bit of vanilla, because you can't be the one ruffling feathers for like the clients or the prospects or whatever else, right? So you have to kind of put this veneer over your copy. So in corporate you like write it the way you want to say it, and then you go back in and add like the smooth down language. What I learned was, I'd gotten so good at that. I wrote in the smooths more whatever language, but when I moved to in the entrepreneur space, it was like very vanilla and it was very plain. And I'm like, I don't actually talk that way. And so I went to the process you were talking about, but what I would do is I would write and the way I would write which was the prettier smoother thing and then I would have to go back and say how would actually say it. You know, blending the verbal and the written piece that we've been talking about. One of the tricks that I learned from a copywriter early on in my business was like, everything you write, you say it out loud and as you're saying, if you're like, I would never say that like, that's like a cue to change it. Like, I think I can't remember if you taught me this or not, but it was like, something as simple as like, you would never say, therefore, bla bla bla out loud. Like, that's a very written word, but like you would say, so blah, blah, blah. Like, it's just that kind of thing of like finding that sticky piece around that. So I love I love those suggestions of like, write it and then go back in and fuse, like infuse your stuff. Do you like, do you have any other tips around that piece around that like ying yang between like saying things out loud and typing?
Sara Vartanian 35:36
Well, the other thing that I like to do and I mean, I do this with my clients that I recommend you can do this for yourself, is make yourself like a mini voice guide really. So with that, like you might remember this, Heather, when we were working together, I sent you a questionnaire it was like how do you greet people? What emojis do you use? Do you swears? What swear words are they? What are the things you always like? What are the shows that you always reference? Maybe like I like she'd like to know what decade people grew up in, right? So think about what decade and what do you remember about that decade. So maybe you grew up like the 80s and 90s. And you're like, you reference like Mario Kart and jelly shoes and different things. So I like, make a little guide, if things where you can know what you're talking around some of the language you use, the swears that you do use, the abbreviations you use, if there's hashtags, maybe some of the jokes that have resonated with folks before, then people you've talked to, and I like to have that as like a little reference, so that you can go back and you can prepare your copy of that and be like, does this sound like this person? And how can I incorporate some of these things that I'm known for these things that I like to talk about into my copy? If you're someone who's always like, I always have a chai tea latte has to be on my desk? Like how do you bring that in maybe into something. If you're like a Shits Creek fan and you're going to watch and repeat or Friends or an office person, like maybe you're gonna, you know, incorporate that in, or a little joke to that, so just having a list of some of those things that you're known for can really help to so you're not just pulling it from your head.
Heather Sager 37:00
Yeah, I love that tip. I think this goes with so many things when it comes to stories, when it comes to these little personality pieces. I think we put a lot of going back to expectations we talked about earlier, we put this expectation on ourselves that like we should know these things. So we think that we should just remember that when we sit down to write and one of the things that you taught me really well was like, you don't come up with that brilliance. I mean, sometimes you do, right, when you're writing, but like you're always constantly looking back at those personality pieces, or that story bank or words that you you gather from our core audience, like you're always referencing those and that was a really powerful tip that I knew, but I hadn't practiced and that's something that I want everyone to think about. Like, you have to create that list for you to look at because if you expect us to remember these things, when you're writing, you're really setting up yourself for like, a lot of hard work.
Sara Vartanian 37:51
Absolutely. And another fun way like another in an easy way to course incorporating personality is I think in the microcopy. So, if you have an image or putting up maybe you can put like a funny little caption underneath, that's just a way to start. So it's almost like in a side, right, so maybe you have this like professional copy, or this, you know, written round that you've written but to add your like little personality through that. I love to add personality and you might notice this, like I know, Heather, I'm sure you've seen this on your sales page but there's the main headline we have for every section, but then I always, I like to do like a little sub heading above it and that in that little sub heading above it is where I try to add a little bit more of that personality, where it's like, again, those side notes, those kind of things that you're maybe gonna laugh at. So you might say something like, my spicy take on what's really happening and then you have like the headline to the next thing. Or you know why I'm the, what's it the Cleo to your into your Joanna or to your Johanna? Is it Joanna? Johanna? So like those kinds of little things, where you just add in again, like a little side note, you're saying to people like a little whisper but then you can still stick with your main copy but it's get this channeling to get to know you through those little microcopy pieces, little opportunities,
Heather Sager 39:01
Which that's one of those things that's really fascinating because y'all if you listen to the podcast, you know, I do side notes all the time. In fact, we have a whole thing. It's called a Sager sidenote. My students coin years ago because I'm like, I'm like micro celebrity famous, but just me around like telling a story and then telling another story simultaneously and then sometimes a third story to the second story simultaneously, like I'll have, I do that in my verbal all the time. And so being able to then infuse that into an email to go on those little side tangents, like, that's really cool. I didn't, okay, this is a dummy thing, but maybe other people listening will also feel very happy to learn this. I didn't know you could create captions in a photo in an email, like that was not a functionality thing that I knew was even possible until you wrote captions that I'm like, but I don't understand how we do that. And then Doreethy on my team was like, you put it here and in this part that says captions when you upload the photo, but I'm like, oh, so like some of those basic functionalities for anyone listening if you use ConvertKit, that's what we use for our email. It's very simple. I think Kajabi also does it like depending on software, but captions into an image, I didn't even know that was a thing and it very much is and I love that you brought that little gem to our lives.
Sara Vartanian 40:16
Heather Sager 40:18
I love that. Okay. Do you have any tips for someone who's like, okay, I hear you. We got to practice a little bit more. I can come up with that little like, list for personality and like lists for stories. But for someone who feels a lot of resistance when they sit down to write, let's even say it's just the weekly newsletter, right? Do you have any tips for someone who's really struggling to get into writing an email? And I say this as I'm staring at a draft of this week's soapbox email that needs to go out? So like, can you give us some tips of advice here around how you do that?
Sara Vartanian 40:53
So there's two main things so one is in the short term and one is in the long term so we'll start with the long term and the long term. I would love to see everyone send out a survey to your audience at least once a year to see what's going on with them. So asking them like, what are the, related to what you do, of course. So, you know, like, what are your hopes and dreams? Why does it matter related to what you do? The thing that you offer? What's stopping you from getting that right now? What are you trying on your own right now to make it happen? You know, if you could ask me any questions, how can I help you? Some things like that, those are the questions I want you to ask because when you are feeling stuck, go back to that survey, and go through something and choose a topic and write about it like it will really help you know exactly what's going to connect with folks going on and that is what as a copywriter I do and I know so many other fellow copywriters do that, too. We have surveys, like you said, we pull from all of that, you know, juicy stuff that we find from folks and we use that to write and so I encourage everyone to have, do that, at least once a year have that survey. That's the long term plan, right? In the short term. I would say that, the few things that I do when I would get stuck as one, I think about what is the goal of this email and I don't try to put too much pressure on this email. This one, don't think this email is the one email to like to solve it all, right. It's like the one ring to rule at all, llike Lord of the Rings, if any of you have watched that, like you don't need this one email doesn't have to do all the work for you. It shouldn't be all the heavy lifts. Your emails are, you're sending every week are building on each other all the time so take off the pressure, essentially. So think, what is this one email about? What do you really want to get across? Like do you want them to know maybe as one tip. Do you want them to know that you have something you have coming up? Do you want them to walk away? Like do you want them to reply to you? Like what is the really big goal of this email and just focus on that. And then also think about, so that's one and then I would also set a, I use a timer. I often use focus keeper. So I just make myself and the email, like I'll give myself to focus keep our rounds, which is an hour if I'm feeling stuck. And after that, I'll read it, I'll kind of scrub it to make sure doesn't sound terrible and I'll just hit send, honestly, because it has to go, like we don't have time to spend four hours on one email, right? Absolutely. And then the other thing is I think about the sections of an email, I think, okay, I want to start with some kind of story. So what is the little micro story that I'm going to tell? So I might look at my story bank, what's that story? Okay, and then how am I going to segue to the next part. I might say, something as simple as well, this brings me to you or this reminds me of something that I want to share with you this week, like a super simple segue way into whatever you want to say. Say the thing. If you've already talked about it on a podcast or on Instagram, or somewhere, honestly copy and paste some of that. Go to your transcript, go to the Instagram copy and paste that stuff right in there and just scrub it up a little bit so it makes sense for an email, like edit a little bit and then sign off. That's what I would do.
Heather Sager 41:03
I love that. Yeah, that's so helpful. I actually wrote all of them down and we're gonna include all of them in the show notes because they're so simple, right? But these are the things that actually will make a difference that will continue. I love two things, well, I loved everything that you said but two things that really jumped out was the little brilliance around the segue way. It doesn't have to be this big, profound thing. You just need to connect the dots between the story and what you're going to say like that brings me to you or this like, so when it comes to this, like think about that, like it's just a very easy transitionary piece that I think people get stuck on so giving them permission for that. I love that, and the second thing was when you were talking about go to something you've already done, a podcast episode, a caption something else and just make it work for the email. I think so often people think that every email and everything that we do or say has to be new. And I always tell people like you shouldn't be coming up with a lot of new stuff all the time, like you shouldn't be repeating yourself if you want to be known for something. The only way that you become known as an authority is that you speak on the same thing over and over again. So I'm taking the pressure off of having to have like a new thing in your email and just referring back to your old brilliance is still brilliant like, just repeat. It is such a good reminder, such a good reminder.
Sara Vartanian 45:21
You can and you can, and you know, and oftentimes, if you have been following anyone inbox for a while, like I can think of several businesses that I love and I love reading their emails. Honestly, like once or twice a year, I'll see almost the same core of the thing that we're trying to teach us with just a different story attached to it, like a different intro, essentially because again, they're coming back to the same things and you want to and they're known for that, right? So you're known for certain things, Heather, when I was reading your emails and I was listening to like, all of your podcasts and going through, you had some core things that you kept hitting on but you said them in different ways and so I just pulled them out. But you know, I will just pull them out and put them into the emails. And they may seem very brand new, where they're actually just paired with a different story or to little bit with a different lens so we can definitely do that, but absolutely want to go back and repeat and use our content as much as possible, like don't reinvent the wheel. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Again, it's one email, it's not going to ruin your business, one email, it's not going to make the end of all your sales you have next week to do it again, right, and you're going to learn as people respond to reply to you, what's working and what's not so just keep going.
Heather Sager 46:33
Yeah, okay. I love that. I love that. Okay, the thing that you do really, really well, I mean, a lot of things right, but launch copy specifically, it is really intimidating for a business owner, especially somebody who doesn't write a lot of copy. We fall into this land and realize, Oh my gosh, the volume of copy is, it's a lot like it really is about being able to articulate your message in a succinct way that other people can follow. You have an incredible, I'm just gonna brag on you for a moment because you have one of the most generous, like free resources that I have ever seen in this space and not in overwhelmingly and like the perfect way of going like this is mind blowing. You should probably charge a shit ton of money this for this, but you don't. Can you talk about your launch map and the most like brilliant Google Sheet I've ever seen in my life?
Sara Vartanian 47:19
It's funny you say that because when I get to my OBM, she literally walked off the screen. She was like, no, keep that away and I'm like, And I'm so happy.
Heather Sager 47:29
So amazing that way, because it is it is the map around what someone needs or could work up towards, right? If you want to have like, a really grandiose show launch, but people might not start there, right, work into it but you have the whole picture of what that could look like so can you share a little bit about that? And then y'all we're gonna, we're gonna give you the link to be able to go grab yours. I grabbed mine instantly when Sarah showed this on Instagram. I'm like, yes, please. Yes, yes, please, I will take two.
Sara Vartanian 47:57
For sure. So it is like a Google Doc and essentially, I've given you a tab for each of the, let's call them sequences of what you need in the launch. So there's like the lead magnet sequence, your webinar shop sequence, the sales sequence, and then I believe I put the customer, yeah, I did put the post purchase sequence in there. I listed the emails you want to send, the timing of each of those emails, and the high level note of what goes into them. So what is like the core messaging you want to have here? So frequently asked questions that address X or maybe you want to shift to beliefs to help people understand your solution or tell your story. They've given you a high level note of what that looks like and also given you some suggestions and how to incorporate yourself into it and like so you can connect with folks. I've listed that all out and I've given you a little video walkthrough. And so it is like, if you look at it, you're like, wow, there's like 35 plus emails here, Sara, that's a lot. And I want to say to you, as you said, Heather this is like where you can aim towards, you don't have to go there right away. Maybe you're gonna start with a lead magnet, maybe you're going to incorporate some of these pieces, but at least you can have the whole picture and see where to start what might go in them. So you're not starting from scratch because there's nothing worse than like, thinking about that all those things that you have to write and having no idea where to begin. I don't want that for anybody like
Heather Sager 49:16
Okay, so it's almost like the metaphor that I was thinking as you were talking through this is like, you know how when you like buy a house or move into a new a new place. How it's like you make that determination around like, am I going to bring in my own furniture that we have or are we going to buy new furniture like I don't know about you, but every time we move into a new place, we always want to like redo everything, but the likelihood of us buying all new furniture is probably pretty low. So I think about this when I look at that launch, the messaging map is like there's all these pieces that you could look at and be like ah to do everything but likelihood you already have a couch. You already have some pieces like you you do a mix of things that you already have and then you start adding in new things until you have the room or the home. That's like all the pieces which is what you want to live in. So I think about that when it comes to that map. So I think for people who are like, you need to go grab it right now. Sara, where do people grab them in the messaging map.
Sara Vartanian 50:08
They can go to saravartanian.com/launch-map and I'm sure you'll put in the show notes if you want to spell my last name, but only in there and you can grab it and it'll give a little walkthrough for you and enjoy the map. And if you download it, let me know that you did so that I can cheer you on and answer any questions about it.
Heather Sager 50:26
I love that answer. It's so generous in that with all of those pieces in there. She's also got some really other great things. So feel free to poke around her website a little bit if you would like and kind of check it out. If you want to see Sara's copywriting in action, y'all, if you log into any or opt in to any of our freebies right now, the Speaker Co, the emails that you get in the sequence to welcome you to Emily and I in the Speaker Co that welcome sequence was written by Sara herself as our collaboration of our project over the spring and summer. So if you haven't laughed at our emails with references to the Home Edit, or Friends, or any of those things, those are serious wordsmithing bringing my brain and Emily's brain into one into the written copy so see it in action there if possible. Okay, Sara, let's wrap up this episode. Is there any other any other things on your mind that you want people to like keep top of mind as they're venturing into this? I mean, they might not be like you starting the episode of like wearing the label, I am a copywriter. But like, is there any like any words of wisdom you'd like to leave them with in the in the idea of them owning some kind of label for themselves?
Sara Vartanian 51:34
I think that we all have the right or within us, we all have stories to tell and I want you to remember that you are telling them to again, your friends, your partners, your children, you're talking your things all the time. So just maybe like, again, take note of those things that make people smile and make you smile and start sharing them in your business. They'll really help you connect with folks. People will love to see that you're human and who you are and I think that really warms them up to work with you.
Heather Sager 52:01
Yeah, I love that. I love that. You do such a good job of that in your content and in your writing and it's just such a gift that you're so generous to share it with others that they can do the same. So Sara, like you, I can't tell you enough how much like I appreciate you. Emily and I every time we got our copy back, we're just like, oh my gosh, like how is it possible that someone could like reach into our brain and extract it out and make us look and sound so damn good but you do that well. And so I hope that and I know that what you've shared today is only going to help other people get their brilliance out in the world. So thank you so much for being here. Y'all, be sure to follow along with Sara on Instagram. It's at saravartanian on Instagram correct and grab her launch map we will include links to everything in the show notes and please be very generous and tell Sara if you post a little picture of today's episode, screenshot it, share it tag us both. Tell us what resonated with y'all today. Was it the chastity belt thing? I don't know. Maybe was it the lubricant? I don't know like well, there were so many gems in this episode. Sara, What was your favorite?
Sara Vartanian 53:01
Alright, I'll say. I love the lubricant thing of course and I like reminiscing to you about our meet cute Scarlett. Thank you so much for having me on here today. This was so much fun.
Heather Sager 53:15
Of course, always, always so fun. All right, friends. We will see you all on the next episode. Bye.