When new entrepreneurs learn about copywriting that works, many think, “Great! Now I can talk about myself in a more compelling way!”
No. Never talk about yourself.
Once you learn this rule, your audience may start paying attention — but if you follow it blindly, your copywriting will lack punch … and it’ll lack a high conversion rate, too.
That’s why you need to learn the following three exceptions to the “Never Talk About Yourself” rule …
Whenever you’re creating content, ask yourself, “How does this help my reader solve a particular problem?” If it doesn’t help (or inform, or entertain), it’s not of service to them. Delete it.
This can take some getting used to. You’re changing the way you interact with the world through content. These growing pains are natural; it means you’re shifting into an entrepreneur’s mindset.
If you find yourself feeling creatively stifled, write morning pages or write in a journal, but you don’t need to share that with your readers.
If you find yourself feeling socially stifled, email your friends or peers. Don’t rely on your audience to meet your social needs — that can get awkward and ugly real fast.
If you’re not sure what to write about, ask your readers what they’re struggling with. Find one small piece of that struggle that you can help with. And remember, providing empathy and helping someone feel seen totally counts as helping.
Exception #1: Connection
It’s okay to talk about yourself if you’re building rapport with your readers.
For example, I occasionally talk about playing Dance Dance Revolution so that you get a sense of who I am as a whole person, not just as an entrepreneur, not just as a floating, purple-haired head.
But I don’t (usually) write blog posts about Dance Dance Revolution because that wouldn’t solve a problem my readers care about.
The exception to the exception: Be sure that your connection doesn’t drown out your helpfulness. Mix in moderation.
Exception #2: Authority
It’s okay to talk about yourself if you’re helping your readers feel safe enough to lean into you.
For example, if you share, “I helped a client fix her hacked website today! Now everything is safe and back to normal,” that can help future clients feel safe enough to ask you for help with their websites, as long as it comes from your heart.
The exception to the exception: Share your expertise if it actually builds trust with your audience, but check yourself and make sure it’s not out of a desire to merely bolster your ego.
Exception #3: Personal stories
It’s okay to talk about yourself if you’re sharing a personal story. Here’s an example:
When I first started blogging, I was on LiveJournal. I talked about myself. “Journal” was in the name of the website, so of course I talked about myself! It was a great way to scrapbook my memories, process my emotions, and keep in touch with friends.
But I learned one horrible, horrible habit that took a lot of effort to unlearn when I started blogging as an entrepreneur: I learned to write about myself.
When I started writing on my first WordPress blog, I wrote about myself. I assumed everyone would be interested in me, in my thoughts, in my opinions.
If tumbleweeds could blow across the internet, you would have seen them blow across that blog in the early days.
It was only after I started writing to solve the problems that my readers actually cared about that I became a successful blogger — and a successful entrepreneur.
The exception to the exception: The above example is relevant to the problem I’m trying to help you solve: to become a more effective copywriter. If I had told a personal story of that one time the awning of our RV came loose on the interstate, it wouldn’t be relevant and it wouldn’t be helpful.
Let’s recap …
Never talk about yourself. Instead, focus on helping your reader solve a particular problem.
Here are the three exceptions to this rule:
- Personal stories
Do you have an “Exception #4” to add to this list? Share it in the comments!