My inbox has never been so popular.
But…it’s not what you think.
You see, I keep my inbox pretty clean. I’m militant with the ‘unsubscribe’ button.
With COVID-19, I haven’t been able to keep my inbox empty.
All. The. Emails. Including from businesses I haven’t heard from in years.
(Geico, I didn’t need to know that all your employees are now working from home or limiting their use of toilet paper to 3 squares a day.)
Joking aside, it gets a tad overwhelming.
But, the other side of it doesn’t feel good either.
When I see an email that doesn’t mention COVID-19, such as an automated email sequence, I hop on my proverbial (sanitized) soapbox.
“Why are you telling me about your discount coffee tables? Don’t you know there’s a pandemic HAPPENING?!”
Maybe that’s not what’s really bothering me.
Truth be told, I feel guilty when I think about anything besides the pandemic.
(Because I do actually need a coffee table…)
So, should you be writing and producing content during the outbreak?
Many therapists all around the world are moving to virtual platforms or seeing a slow down in business. Some are not seeing a change at all or an increase in need.
With in-person marketing coming to a halt, perhaps you’re getting more curious about savvy content marketing (blogging, social media, email lists) to continue to give value to current clients while reaching new ones.
Perhaps, you want your copy to be relevant and responsive, without adding to the ‘noise’ of non-stop COVID-19 news.
At the same time, you might be reeling from the personal impacts of COVID-19 on your family, loved ones, and everyday activities. Thinking about business – and producing new content – is not a priority as you scramble to respond to all the significant life changes and stressors.
It’s perfectly okay to focus on yourself or your loved ones right now.
You don’t have to see social distancing as a business retreat and pump out 20 blog posts, create a 7-module course, launch a virtual workshop series, and develop a second income stream. (But if you do, that’s okay.)
This time of social distancing does not mean you have to tackle your to-do list with even more enthusiasm than ever.
It’s okay to actually rest during this time and not strive to be hyper-productive.
If you feel maxed out having kids at home, feeling isolated, caring for an aging parent, or just overwhelmed in general, it’s okay to take a pause, recenter, and regroup.
However, if writing feels good right now, let’s focus on how you can be responsive and helpful with your content.
What should therapists be writing about right now?
Do we write about the outbreak and risk inciting more anxiety?
What if we appear to be one of those trying to fear-monger for an extra click or purchase?
Do we continue writing about our scheduled topics and risk seeming out of touch or insensitive?
Should we be sharing our (strong) opinions about what is happening?
Answer: We need all types of content right now.
Most importantly, we need all voices.
Your clients are facing unprecedented times, with no framework for how to handle what’s happening. (So are we, as therapists, but that’s another story.)
Thus, your clients need real strategies for how to handle the COVID-19 outbreak, quarantine, and social distancing. They need guidance on how to respond skillfully to fear and uncertainty. They need voices of hope, leadership, and wisdom.
But not just anything about COVID-19, they need content that speaks to their particular fears, challenges, and feelings during this time.
And they need non-virus content, too.
They need blogs that allow an alternative to focusing on the bad news.
They need posts that give their nervous system a break from being on full alert.
They need permission to be reading about other topics right now.
This permission comes from you giving them access to copy that’s NOT about COVID-19.
If you decide to write COVID-relevant content…
You’ve decided you’re going to keep putting out content. If you already know what you want to say and how to say it, then you can stop reading now and get to writing!
Or just skim through the rest of this article to find the 3 Copywriting Insider Tips.
But, if you aren’t sure what to say, follow along to get the process started.
To start: Keep it simple, clear, and relevant.
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
- What niche/ideal client do I want to speak to right now?
- What are the particular struggles facing my niche during the outbreak?
- What goals does my niche client have during the outbreak?
Got it? Just plug it in here or add your own flair.
- How to [goal of your client] during the COVID Outbreak
- 7 Tips to [goal of your client] While Social-Distancing
- How [niche client] can [insert goal] during the [particular struggle of niche client]
- 3 Ways to [goal of client] Even Though [particular struggle]
- How [niche clients] are [goal of client] during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Copywriting Insider Tip#1: Titles Matter
Clear titles help clients know what’s relevant to them, amidst all the other buzz right now. “How To” content and any content with a number in the title (4 Ways…) is super clickable. I don’t share this to help you ‘bait’ your readers into clicking on your post, but so you know the best strategies to reach your ideal clients.
Because if they don’t click, they don’t read it. If they don’t read, you can’t be helpful.
Ready for your blog post template?
You guide your clients every day on how to face their struggles and meet their goals. We’re just gonna make it relevant to COVID-19.
I decided to write about COVID-19 in my latest blog post for my private practice. I’m sharing a similar format that I used below. (You can read the post here. I didn’t follow this template to a T – but it gives you ideas if you’re feeling stumped.)
Follow This Guide to Write Your Blog Post
Psssst…You’ll need clarity on your niche/ideal client, their struggles, and their goal first.
Opening (1-2 paragraphs)
- Name what’s happening in the world right now with the pandemic. Avoid cliches or overused phrases. Don’t overdo it. People get it.
- Name your ideal clients’ particular struggles and feelings during the outbreak, etc. Use specific examples. Are they trying to stay sober while stuck at home with family? Has their depression worsened with social-distancing? Has their OCD behaviors skyrocketed?
- Normalize their struggle. Name why your niche, in particular, might be susceptible to these struggles during COVID-19. Such as: Being stuck at home when your relationship is on the rocks is going to add new levels of stress. A high achiever in the workplace must cut their hours to care for their kids; of course they feel resentful.
Bridge (1-2 paragraphs)
- State the goal your niche has for themselves right now.
- Speak to WHY it’s particularly hard for your niche to meet this goal. This may feel a little redundant to the prior section, but know this part is about giving energy to their motivation to change, not to the problem. This primes them to feel validated and want to keep learning from you.
- Validate why their goal is so important, even given what’s happening with the pandemic. This is continuing to connect the dots and validate your readers’ desires.
- Let them exactly know how the upcoming content will help them.
Main Body (3-5 paragraphs)
- This is where you share the helpful content you’ve been promising. Give your niche the strategies, tips, or information you spoke of in the title. Time to deliver!
- Use numbers, headers, bullets, or bold to break up the information.
- Make this section very skimmable so readers can find the tips most useful to them.
- Don’t put too much pressure to have this part be perfect, they will take what they need and leave the rest. (Much like therapy!)
Closing (1-2 paragraphs)
- Validate your client’s current struggles, while encouraging them to try the steps/tips you’ve shared.
- Provide a reassuring statement to let the reader know how you’re available to help. This is where you’ll mention the service that can help them (virtual workshop, online sessions, email list, etc).
- Make your contact information super clear so they can easily reach out and don’t have to hunt for it.
Copywriting Insider Tip#2: Short Paragraphs
Keep your paragraphs short so mobile readers aren’t overwhelmed with walls of texts. It’s okay for your ‘paragraph’ to only be 1-2 sentences. Don’t be afraid to use sentence fragments. (I won’t tell your English teacher!)
Edit your work, but don’t obsess
I’m guilty of writing something, only to let it sit for days, weeks, or forever because it’s not just “right”. Or I’m afraid I overlooked a typo. Sometimes it goes back to a fear of being seen.
When it comes to helpful content, timeliness is more important than perfection right now.
Give yourself a short break, then review what you have. Make sure you don’t have any spelling, formatting, or grammar issues interfering with readability.
If you know you’re not a grammar goddess, ask a trusted friend or colleague to read through it for grammar and editing. (I also do Copy Audits, too.)
Copywriting Insider Tip #3: Get rid of ‘that’.
The word ‘that’ is often overused when writing, because we use it so much in speech. In most cases, you can cut it out without anyone noticing. Sometimes it points to the use of passive voice (which you want to avoid). CTRL-F to search for ‘that’ within your copy. See if you can remove it completely or rephrase the sentence into active voice. Result: Your copy is instantly cleaner and more engaging.
Share, share, share.
Once it’s done, share away! Don’t shy about sharing your knowledge. Now’s not the time to business-shame yourself.
Share with relevant clients, your referral network, colleagues who serve the same niche, and your social media.
A closing note
The pandemic is bringing up a lot of fears for therapists and healers in private practice.
You might be worrying about how you’ll keep your doors open. Or, if you’ll have a viable business once all this has passed.
While I can’t tell the future, I believe the best thing we can do during this time is to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, while exploring how our businesses can adapt.
Given the slow down of most in-person marketing strategies, the need for solid copy is more important than ever.
My hope is to continue to provide helpful copywriting strategies during this time so you can adapt your message, confidently communicate the value of your services, and stay connected with your clients – both current and prospective.
How can I be of help? Let me know.
What this template helpful? Would you like more step by step guides? Or something different? Tell me!
Don’t forget to hop on my mailing list to be the first to know about new copywriting resources, blog posts, and trainings.
(I promise it won’t be all about COVID-19).