When we learn to write, most of us are taught that professional is best.
We should form complete sentences, never ever start one with an ‘and’ or a ‘because’ and to always, always, always use correct punctuation.
And sure, these rules have their place in certain types of writing.
But… if all copywriters were to follow these rules to a T, we’d be out of jobs sooner than you can SAY punctuation.
Because no one scores sales for good grammar.
Just like in real life, we make friends, form connections and trust people we relate to. And I don’t know about you, but most people I know don’t relate to people who speak, write and sound like the Queen.
So, just like your real-life personality magnetises the right people to you, it can attract the right ones through the screen, too. How? Glad you asked.
Here are my top tips for writing personality-packed copy (even if you’re a massive introvert like me).
IG gurus, if you’re reading this, prepare to be utterly appalled by my #basic English advice.
1. Use basic words
We’ll get this one out of the way early on because as much as I’d like to think IG English gurus might one-day read this, I know it’s much more likely you’re an empathetic teacher who knows better than to stuff fancy words down your audience’s throat.
That said, unnecessarily formal words have a way of sneaking into our copy when we least expect it. I’m talking about words like ‘ensure’, ‘enquire’, ‘in addition’ and so on.
Often these appear in places where we’re trying to reduce our word count, so I’m not suggesting you never ever use them. It’s all about balance. Think about whether you want to play up personality or if you want to have a slightly more serious tone.
2. Write like you speak
Conversational copy is exactly what it sounds like: words that make it FEEL like you’re having a conversation with the reader.
As well as using simple words, you can add personality to your copy by breaking a few formal writing rules. For example:
- Starting sentences with whatever words you want (including ‘and’ and ‘because’ *gasp*)
- Use contractions (e.g. don’t instead of do not)
- Scatter rhetorical questions throughout your copy
- Write in short 1-2 sentence paragraphs (like this)
These techniques will instantly give your copy a conversational feel and make the reader feel like you’re speaking to them as a friend or an equal instead of a stuffy lecturer. You can use these techniques in all kinds of copy, but your bio is one of the best places for them as it’s where readers get a true sense of who you are.
Coming from an educational background, you may find it hard to adjust to this way of writing at first. If that’s the case, here’s a handy trick. Instead of writing what you want to say, try transcribing it and tidying up your notes. It’s a quicker, more natural way to get your personality down on paper.
3. Use slang or *gasp* swear
Now this is totally up to you. Some people LOVE to pepper their copy with slang; others will shudder at the thought. And that’s okay.
The beauty of writing with personality is that it makes your copy completely unique to you. If you swear a lot in real life and you know you will in class, why not prepare your students in advance by dropping a few f-bombs in your copy? (As you can tell, I’m not a swearer 😅)
After all, the more aligned your copy is with the real you, the better they’ll feel they know you and the less surprised they’ll be to attend their first class and hear your voice for the first time.
Just be careful that your message is still easily understood by potential students reading in their second language – clarity should always be your priority.
4. Use analogies and metaphors
Analogies and metaphors can be a great way to add personality to your copy by subtly revealing more about you, your hobbies and interests.
We’ve allllll seen the Instagram posts comparing various aspects of Taylor Swift’s songs, performances and style to language learning tips (and everything in between).
These posts don’t just put a unique spin on old ideas – they indirectly suggest the creator likes Taylor too, which can strengthen the connection between them and their ideal students (providing they too are fans) and give a better idea of what they’re like.
Before you rush to draw a connection between this pop star and the preterit, hold up. I think IG’s seen enough of these posts to last a lifetime. So to keep your content unique, try thinking of TV shows, music, sports, drinks, cars or anything else you’re into.
That leads me nicely to the next tip…
5. Incorporate a theme
One super effective way to differentiate yourself from all the other teachers out there is to weave a theme throughout your copy. That is, an overarching structure that your copy follows to make it undeniably YOU.
This theme can be ANYTHING you like – from a hot beverage to a hobby. Choosing a theme to guide your word choice makes it both easier to stand out AND to name your programs.
You can either take an in-your-face overt approach where EVERYTHING you write includes words that relate to your theme or you can make it more subtle and drop ‘em in casually.
The choice is yours but this makes being creative a whole lot easier because you can make it look like you’re thinking outside the box when really you’ve boxed yourself into a nice creative corner.
6. Mix up your formatting
Just like you should play hard and fast with sentence structure rules, you can get creative with your formatting, too.
Not only does this hold people’s attention for longer – it also helps add personality to your copy by telling the reader how you want the words to be read. For example, you can:
- Use asterixis to *highlight* words.
- Using CAPITALS to draw attention.
- Use italics or bold to emphasise a word.
- Use ellipses to… add… flow and suspense.
See what I mean? Formatting is almost as important as the actual words you use because it adds a more human touch and brings your words to life.
7. Use emojis
Finally, when you’ve done all you can with your words and punctuation, you CAN call on a trusty emoji to add that finishing touch. It’s not cheating.
My suggestion? Choose a few emojis that represent your brand personality and use them (sparingly) throughout your content.
Just bare in mind who you’re writing to. Emojis are a whole language of their own, and they have different meanings to different age groups AND cultures.
I learnt that the hard way when I sent my Chinese friend the wrong smiley face, and unknowingly told him to ‘go die’.
If you’re not fluent in emoji, no worries. Duolingo has a whole course teaching us how to use them. They’re that big a deal.
And that’s how you can add personality to your copy
Writing with personality has become a bit of a buzzword that sounds nice but doesn’t tell you a whole lot. But it essentially means paying close attention to the words and grammar you’re using to bring your words to life. I hope this article has inspired you with new ways to add personality to your copy.
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