Do you want to clarify your messaging? Can the right copy invite your ideal client into your practice? How can you write simple copy that embodies your authentic voice?
In this podcast episode, LaToya Smith speaks about how to write copy that sells with Arianna Smith.
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Meet Arianna Smith
Arianna Smith (she/her) is a licensed therapist, copywriter, and creator of Courageous Copywriting for Clinicians. She helps therapists write words that sound like them and magnetically attract their ideal clients. Her mission is to help therapists shatter their creative blocks and write words brimming with punch and personality. Away from the keyboard, you’ll find her making friends at the dog park or at her local bookshop. Contact her at [email protected]
Copy’s job is really to persuade and convert clients or prospective clients from learning about you to wanting to work with you, while content is more about informing.
Copy is the direct messaging between you and your ideal clients that explains exactly what you do for them, how you can help them, and what benefits or changes they can experience through working with you.
On the other hand, content is about building trust and credibility. It is the rest of the information that clients can dive into when they need or want some extra information.
When we think about it, copy can be content, but usually content is not copy.
Loosen up your language
Academic language comes easily to you from your years of graduate school and further studies, but it’s not familiar to your clients.
Therefore, go easy on the terminology and keep your words short and sweet.
The biggest struggle that therapists have really is breaking out of that academic clinical language that we’ve been inundated with.
When you sit down to write your copy, think about reading your words from your client’s perspective.
How to write your perfect copy
1 – Get clear on your vision and mission for your group practice, what do you want it to be known for?
2 – Do you want to be a specialist or a generalist group practice? Depending on your answer, you will take a different approach.
When it comes to copy, the more specific you are, the more compelling it’s going to be, and the more you’re going to draw people in.
3 – Get words on paper. First put everything down without judging it, and then go back and edit!
4 – Keep it conversational. Put your academic language aside for a second, and “speak” to your audience through your copy as a person to another person.
5 – Read your copy out loud.
That’s a really good way to see if we have super long sentences, and if we are stuffing our sentences with a lot of jargon, and just testing it out in the way that it flows in a more conversational way.
6 – Are you answering your client’s questions? Make sure that your copy sounds like answers for what your typical client might be asking themselves as they scroll through your information.
LaToya is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency in Fortworth Texas. She firmly believes that people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain or the place they became wounded. In addition to this, LaToya encourages her clients to be active in their treatment and work towards their desired outcome.
She has also launched Strong Witness which is a platform designed to connect, transform, and heal communities through the power of storytelling.
The Grow A Group Practice Podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice Network, a network of podcast seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like the Practice of the Practice podcast, go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/network.
You are listening to the Grow A Group Practice podcast, a podcast focused on helping people start, grow, and scale a group practice. Each week you’ll hear topics that are relevant to group practice owners. I’m LaToya Smith, a practice owner, and I love hearing about people’s stories and real-life experiences. So let’s get started.
Welcome back to the Grow A Group Practice Podcast. I am LaToya Smith and as you know we come on here for Grow A Group Practice Podcast, we talk about all things group practice related, from starting, building and scaling your practice. But this other like, maybe some things you don’t even think of or things that are just more creative, as well as what goes along the nuts and bolts of building and growing a practice. Today’s guests, I am very excited to meet with because I know there’s a lot that I’m going to learn as well. We got connected through another interviewee and I told her when we logged on, like you got celebrity status. I had to finally get on her schedule. So I’m so excited to talk with Arianna Smith. Arianna, welcome so much to the Grow A Group Practice Podcast.
Thank you. Thanks LaToya
No problems. Tell us a little, before we jump into our hot topic for today, tell the audience a little bit about you.
Of course. I’m located in Denver, outside of Denver, Colorado, and I’m a therapist in private practice. I’m an LPC and I work in a private practice that I run mostly working with highly sensitive people, the LGBTQ community and trauma survivors. Then because I’m a Gemini and always have to have two things happening, I also have another business as a copywriter and copy coach for therapists. I’ve been doing that since 2019. My focus for that is really about helping therapists in private practice to have a really clear message and sound like themselves and draw ideal clients so that they can have a amazing practice.
Those are like, I know we’re going to get into it, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but obviously that is so important, social media, website, all that. But what made you even want to start the copy coach, like what, what happened that you were like, oh, oh no, I got to help everybody, or this something that I can really help people with?
Well, I mean, I joke about it, but I’ve always had this creative side of me that is really, loved having a more introverted outlet, if you will, than being a therapist. So my private practice was really solid and up and running and I was like, I just want some other outlet that I could have. I learned how to do copywriting and then I was like, oh, wow, therapists really need help around this. As a therapist, I really get the struggles of it. I get that you can’t just, navigating self-disclosure and navigating not wanting to be salesy and just navigating these two worlds of therapy and copywriting. So I also wanted something like a work that was remote, and with Covid, my private practice has now shifted that, but pre-Covid, I wanted something that provided that creative outlet, provided a different stream of income and also was not as people facing as being a therapist.
All right. So yes, you’re in front of people all day. You really started like, listen, I see this is important. I could help people. Plus it allows me to be introverted and still connect with other people. Then we all became introvert, like so then you’re like, okay, I’m back out here. Alright, tell us, because sometimes we can use the word copy and not everybody understands what that is, so let’s talk about what copy is and the difference between this is copy and this is content. Can you break that part down?
Yes, definitely. I’d like to think of maybe, and I think because we’re going to be talking to group practice owners today or those who are thinking about growing a group practice, I really like to think of copy as like one of your employees and what its job is and how well it’s doing its job and what it’s doing. So when we think about copy and content, copy’s job is really to persuade and convert clients or prospective clients from learning about you to wanting to work with you while content is more about informing. Content is about building trust and credibility. It might be about sharing information and it isn’t always having those persuasive conversion elements to it. Now when we think about it copy can be content, but usually content is not copy, so copy can be basically the words on, yes, I saw your face, you’re like, wait a sec, wait a second.
Because I think the way to think of it is like let’s look at a blog post and we’re like, oh, well this, I’m putting this really informative blog post out there about how to manage anxiety. But that isn’t necessarily conversion copy because is it guiding the client towards working with you? When we think about like, the role that these words play, and so like copy is everywhere. It’s your homepage, your about page, it’s podcast pitches, it’s if you have directory profiles, so it’s all over. It’s the words for your biz.
Got it. So copy, I like that part that you said, so it’s the part where it’s the persuasion and conversion from somebody there’s reading to a client, somebody’s scrolling to a client, whereas content does seem more like information based, like educational. So now I’m trying to give you some tools as opposed to I’m trying to pull you in with a copy.
Got it, got it.
Yes. Another way to think of it is like copy sales and content forms.
Gotcha. All right. So we all, because we want our practice to grow, obviously we need to be using copy.
All right, so it’s extremely important to every business owner and every practice owner that we need to know what copy is and how to use it. So what do you think, with that being said, what do you think are some of the most common blocks, struggles that therapists and private practice owners into when we’re looking at copy other than deciphering what the difference is between copy and content, which I think is huge, but then, okay, now let me get some copy out here. What do you find in your work or some of the primary struggles for therapists?
Well, I think distinguishing between copy and content is actually helpful to understand one of the main struggles, because I think a lot of therapists think content is copy. So they’re like, if I just write an about page that is a list of my credentials, or a list of my work history, I’m telling them that should be enough for them to want to work with me. So I think that the biggest struggle that therapists have is really breaking out of that academic clinical language that we’ve been inundated with, especially if you have a doctorate and you’ve been in that academic language for years and years, and then you’re in consult groups and then you’re writing case notes.
I don’t know about you LaToya, but like, probably 60% of my friends are therapists too, probably 70%, if I’m being honest. That’s like a big struggle is when therapists sit down to write their copy, they’re writing as if in this academic head space and that’s just not how people connect and people make decisions around what they’re going to spend, not all the ways that they’re going to spend their money on. I think the other struggle for therapists is what I alluded to this aspect of self-disclosure. We got this conditioning to be a blank slate, to not share anything about ourselves, but things are shifting and clients actually really want to know about who you are as a person. That doesn’t mean your whole life story, but they want to feel more connected with you personally and so I think that’s a lot of what’s hard for therapists is fighting against this clinical conditioning, but also knowing that their business needs to be relatable and personable.
So that means like, so when I’m writing copy, don’t be afraid to be transparent. Don’t be afraid to be a little bit vulnerable because now I’m connecting with the emotion of the person scrolling that I want them to stop, pause, fill out my form online, call the office, do what you got to do.
Yes, and you get to be strategic around what you share too. We get to think about, okay, why does this matter to my ideal client? Why does this aspect of identity matter? I think also as therapists, we forget how intimidating it is to reach out and so there’s just something about being, just showing our humanness that I think makes it a little less scary for folks.
I like that. I like all that actually. Thank you so much. Okay, so now I’m writing copy, when I write copy, what I hear you saying is I’m not just writing for myself. I’m a group practice owner, so now I got to keep in mind, well scratch that, what am I keeping in mind for everybody that’s with me? Am I trying to write a copy a day for each therapist? I’m trying to sell the whole practice and not just sell, like, what’s the best way for group practice, group practice owners to think about writing copy as opposed to being a solo practice owner?
Well, I think it’s like thinking about, once again, your copy is this employee, let’s get really clear on its job description. So with group practice owners, they have a unique struggle of, they want to capture a lot of, like a lot of specialties and a lot of topics. They have this really, they may have this really robust team, or maybe if they’re growing their group practice, they want to find someone that does something different than them. So they see individuals, they want to see couples, so they have to balance being specific enough and compelling enough with also capturing all the different specialties that they do as well. And also like another struggle is they may have to like write the bios for all these people too, so then they have to have this cohesive flow and message throughout it.
So when it comes to writing practice for, writing copy for your group practice, I think the first step is really being clear on what is the vision and mission for your group practice? What do you want it to be known for? Even before that, I think is the question of do I want to be a specialist group practice or a generalist group practice? Because if you’re going to be a generalist group practice, well that’s a different approach that you have to take but if you want to be a specialist group practice and help people with a very specific struggle or problem, then that can help continue to narrow down and refine what your message is going to be for your group practice
As a therapist, the last thing you probably want to think about is doing your own bookkeeping and taxes. Heard is here to help with that. Heard is the financial back office built specifically for therapists in private practice. They combine smart software with real humans to handle bookkeeping, taxes and payroll. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or in the first year of your practice, Heard will identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business. When you sign up with Heard, you’ll be matched with an accountant who will help you track your income and expenses, file taxes online and maximize tax savings. You’ll also receive financial insights such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports.
You can say goodbye to pouring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments. Focus on your clients and Heard will take care of the rest. Prices begin at just $149 per month for solo practices and can easily be tailored to fit your businesses financial needs. Sign up for free for a 15-minute consult today at www.joinheard.com. Again, that’s www.joinheard.com.
So if you are a specialist, that copy also has to be a little bit different and definitely speak to the specifics. You can’t be all over the place, ok, this what we’re going with. These are the people we want to pull in. We’re intentional about understanding this copy and then cutting that and then give them the content as education to this audience. Now if I’m more general, hey, I got to speak to various emotions and I’m still trying to pull people in, not every single person but understand that the people that I want to collect is broader as opposed to being specific. Alright, here we go, so now I’m ready, I got my keyboard ready, got my standing pad ready. I want to write some amazing copy to bring in, that’s going to sell. It’s going to sell my practice, sell every therapist in here. What are some tips you can give us, five tips you can give us on how to write amazing content as group practice owners, amazing copy as group practice owners?
Well, both. I mean, actually this highlights content can sell, like a really good blog post can drive someone closer to selling, but you’re right, really good copy. I think the first one is coming at, one, getting really clear on what do you want to be known for? Do you want to be known for serving the LGBTQ community and like your specialty is that, and so an ideal client can know that I can go to that or do you want to be known as a sex therapy practice? Or do you want to be known less about the population and more about the service that you provide? For example, your practice really focuses on EMDR, so you’ve got EMDR for performance, you’ve got EMDR for trauma, recovering from trauma. You’ve got EMDR for traumatic grief.
So getting really clear on like what you want to be known for, which I think sometimes that’s the hardest because we want to help everyone. We want to include everyone but when it comes to copy, the more specific you are, the more compelling it’s going to be and the more you’re going to draw people in. You’re going to draw people in that are not in your ideal client, like let’s say you do brand yourself as like an EMDR practice and you’re like, these are the three things that we really focus EMDR on. You’ll get someone outside of that because they’re going to be really drawn to the personality that you bring to the page. That would be the first one is getting really clear on what you want to be known for. So you’re at this keyboard, LaToya, and that’s the first thing, is like, what do I want to be known for?
I’d say the second thing is really, and I see this a lot for therapists, is like the mindset game of this. A lot of therapists get frozen, overwhelmed. They’re like, what am I supposed to write? Who am I to be doing this? A lot of imposter syndrome, perfectionism. So I think the second tip is to just get words on paper. A lot of therapists, because we spent our lives writing academic papers, we tend to edit as we write, we tend to be revising and thinking about the things and going back as we’re saying them. What happens is that gets in the way of us actually getting words down on paper and our message out there. I don’t know if you’re guilty of that too. You ever do that?
Yes, I’m good at putting words on, just writing and coming back to it.
Oh, good. You’re already a step ahead of the rest
I think the third, so I think another thing that group practice owners can do is they can, just like we do as clinicians, we can take a course to learn how to do this better. Because a lot of therapists are very good at writing and very good at academic writing and already have these skills and it just takes a little bit of know-how and a little bit of training to know how to channel those skills into compelling copy and just to shift what the skills you already have as a therapist towards being a copywriter. Along the lines of this, and this, what you would learn in a course if you took it, is how to focusing on keep it conversational and ditching academic language. I call it like clinic speak is what I call it, is like, when therapists don’t even realize that. It’s like no one knows what co-regulation is. No one, like and even like grounding, even, or embodiment, these words that you and I are probably like, ooh, juicy.
Most of your clients are not like, what does that even mean to be embodied? What does that even mean to do that? Along the lines of that, you can just ask yourself, okay, what does that even mean and I, that the words that my ideal client uses? The other really quick tip that I like to recommend along the lines of keeping it conversational, and I still do this after years and years of doing professional copywriting, is I read my copy out loud because that’s a really good way to see if we have super long sentences, if we are stuffing our sentences with a lot of jargon and just also testing out the way that it flows in a more conversational way.
Then the final tip I want to offer is to folks who might be a little bit more research oriented, which probably a lot of us are, and that is really gathering data around the words that your clients are using. We might be using these words like co-regulation, that’s an example that we’ll use. What actually are your clients saying that they want help with? There’s a lot of different places that we can look for this, and it’s called voice of customer data or VOC data, is what you’ll see in the copywriting sphere. We can find this in consult forms, on consult calls, we can find this in case notes, in intake paperwork. We can even, if we listen closely, we can even hear this in therapy sessions, like the words that our clients are actually saying. So we don’t necessarily want to use word for word on our website, but we can take themes and sound bites and really use that to create copy that makes this ideal client look at your website, look at your group practice website and be like, holy cow, is this person inside my head? Are they inside my brain?
If you don’t want to get data from your actual practice, although I do recommend that you can go to places like Reddit or Facebook groups or just like where your ideal client is hanging out and seeing what are they saying, what are the languages that they’re using in the comments? I like to highlight that this is just one of those transferrable skills of being a therapist, being curious and investigative that you get to apply to having really, really awesome copy.
Awesome. Let run back down the tips real quick just to make sure I have, this is some good stuff. One, what do you want to be known for? Tip number two, just get your words on paper. Stop just stressing about it and just start writing. Tip number three, take a course. There’s a lot to be learned. Number four, be conversational and get rid of that speak. Then number five, give the client back their words. What are we hearing on intake calls? What are we reading in groups and blogs? What’s the common theme or message that was drawn to us are saying, how are they speaking and now write to them with the copy
Am I copy expert yet?
I was just saying like, LaToya, you just did the process of the content. You took this big cohesive message and you’re like, what is the core of what Arianna is saying? That’s what we’re doing with copy, like, what’s the core of what our client wants?
Awesome, awesome. So now Arianna, if somebody’s like this is amazing, which I’m sure they all are because that’s exactly what I’m thinking, how can people get in touch with you? Because okay, listen, there’s two routes we can go. Now we can understand copy. Then it’s like, well, do I have the time to even write the good copy or do I reach out to somebody else and say, please write this copy for me or help me? Let’s be honest, we can really dive in and I’m going to learn it and do it, or you know what, my time is best spent doing something else. I’m going to pay somebody else to do it. So how can somebody get in touch with you at the copy code for even support on how to do it yourself?
How to know, yes, yes, yes, yes, how to know. That’s a big thing, when I work with folks is I think a lot of people, a lot of therapists feel like they have to outsource this and they really don’t. They’re really, you, like in most cases, you are the best person to write the copy for your practice and even if you’re a group practice owner, even as a group practice owner. If they wanted to connect with me, my website, the copycove.com. I also have also, if people do want to learn, start learning, I have some free resources around how to ditch the clinic speak and write really compelling copies. So on my website I have a free copywriting guide and also like a free masterclass that’s called Banish Bad Copy: Five Tweaks to Make Your Clients Call.
It goes even deeper into some of the stuff that that we talk about and my joke is like you can learn the fundamentals of copywriting in less time than a Marvel movie because it’s about like a 90-minute course. Then also if people want to work with me directly, I have my program, my group program, Courageous Copywriting, which is where you can work with me and also be in a community of other courageous therapists who are ready to draw in those ideal clients sound like themselves, get their personality on paper and really, really hone in their copywriting skills in like a supportive community that is also like, yes, show up, be brave.
That is awesome. I think we have a free, one of the free resources in our show notes as well to give out. This, yes, you’re offering us some really great stuff and I think we all need to take advantage. We may shut your website down logging onto, grabbing everything free, making sure that we get this copy, making sure that we get this copy straight. Arianna, thank you so much for being a guest. Like I said, you just really helped us out with difference between copy and content and really write the copy that sells and draws the ideal client into the practice. Something that we all need to keep in mind, especially in these times of social media, we want to stand out and not get lost in all the posts that are up there. Same thing with our website. I tell people all the time, like this now our stamp, our resume, our business card, the website and social media so we got to make sure that we’re writing copy that draws people in and not stuff they’re just scrolling through, skipping over. This gets lost because nobody’s looking at it anyway.
Well, like they say, you have like eight seconds to get people’s attention. So that’s a big thing to think about is like if you’re not drawing them in within about a couple seconds they’re going to click away.
All right, ma’am. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate you being a guest and I’m sure, I’m certain that we’ll be chatting again with you.
Yes. Thank you, LaToya.
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