A Simple Tool I Use to Make Writing Copy and Content Easier

As an INTJ, of my superpowers is “order out of chaos”. This kind of structure comes very naturally to me, but I’ve learned that many of my clients appreciate when I can help them add order and processes to their businesses as well.

One of the ways I do this is by making myself little tools, checklists, and cheat sheets.

I remember doing this in high school; when it was time to prep for an exam I would distill as much information as I could onto about 6 post-it notes, pop them in my day planner, and use that to study from. It was too overwhelming to have to sift through textbooks and notebooks, so the little cheat sheets helped jog my memory enough to study more easily. I still use the post-it trick now, especially when I have to remember different frameworks for coaching calls.

Today I wanted to share one of my other little tricks — my brand identity cheat sheet.

Copywriting has always brought me back to my exam-studying days of having way too much information and needing to focus in on what’s really important. Hopefully you’ve done target market interviews, you’ve worked with copywriters, and you’ve got a pretty clear idea of who your ideal client is. The problem is, when you do this, you likely have notebooks and digital files all over the place with pieces of information. When you go to actually write something, you’re staring down a mountain of information and it’s a pretty daunting task. I hate that feeling.

What is a brand identity cheat sheet?

I’m totally utilitarian, so maybe it could use a snazzier name, but it is what it is!

The brand identity cheat sheet is like a mood board for your business. Instead of colour swatches and font styles for a visual branding cheat sheet, this is about the language in your business.

I use it in all sorts of situations:

· When I need to write marketing copy like a website, sales page, or offering description

· When I’m asking someone else to help me write copy

· When I can’t think of what content to write in any given week

· When I’m doing target market interviews

· When I feel a little off balance about what I’m offering or what I’m doing

What goes on it?

This is totally up to you! What would you find helpful? What information do you already have?

Here’s what’s on mine right now:

· A one-liner describing what I do, who I do it for, and what they get out of it

· Topics I coach on

· Ideal Client Profile divided into what their problems are and what their desires are

· Brand Pillars

· Brand Voice — this is a descriptive phrase my copywriter came up with

· Keywords — a list from my copywriter

· Brand Archetypes — these are pretty cool anchors I use when I think about what makes me unique (also something my copywriter did for me)

How do you make one?

I just opened up Microsoft Word and started copy/pasting things from all the various documents I have. The colours for me are just to separate the big wall of text and make it easier on the eye. It’s probably easiest to start with the headings and just go from there. It was important to me that it stayed on one page, so it does mean being pretty ruthless with what goes on it.

If you have worked with a copywriter or branding expert before then this will be much easier. If not, let me know and I’ll send you some referrals. Lots of the stuff that’s on mine is directly from my copywriter.

Importantly, don’t overthink it or obsess about it being perfect. There is nothing fancy about mine and yet it is still super helpful. Even as I’m reviewing it and noticing some things that are out of date, that is helpful because I’m thinking of all the new things I can write about instead!

Updating It

This is not a stagnant document; you must keep it updated on a regular basis or it won’t be useful anymore. Currently I’m working through The Copy Confidence Society with Marisa Corcoran and she’s recommending a few things I think I’ll add to the next version of this cheat sheet. I’m also currently doing new target market research interviews, so that will be important to update on this sheet when I’m done this round of those.

That’s it for today! Moral of the story: when in doubt, make a cheat sheet. Let me know how yours turns out!

For more tips, tricks, and musings like this directly to your inbox, subscribe to my weekly Field Notes here.

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