Let’s dive into my best web writing tips to get past writing blocks and fire up creativity. I’ve used these myself and when supporting coaches to consistently create content that clients will love.
Getting the words down can be a battle
Psycho-struggles like writer’s blocks, perfectionism, and the fear of being judged can make writing painful, like pulling your own teeth.
Finding good topics can be tough too. Some folks stare at a blank page for eons. Coming up with topics that will attract clients is vital for getting seen online.
Idea-overload is a problem too. Many creative, brilliant coaches can write a ton of stuff but they fail to pull it together into a cohesive, readable, enjoyable piece.
With structure and practice, I’ve seen coaches write their way to a full practice.
I remember one group program I ran a while back called, The Web Mastery Group.
It was a small lot of budding coaches who wanted online businesses, and they were willing to work for it.
Their weekly blogging fueled marketing, got them visible, and drove new clients to them via their websites. One coach filled her whole business this way, using this simple blog post writing format for coaches.
I love the written word for online marketing — it moves so fast, it’s easy to create (with some skill development), Google loves text-based content — basically, the Internet runs on letters and numbers.
Video is special and growing. But today, in 2021, the written word is still tremendous. Just think about the kind of content you take in — discussion groups, emails, articles, and more.
Learn to write well, choose the right topics (they are endless, by the way), and be willing to share your wisdom, and clients will catch wind of what you do and check you out.
So, in this article, let me share with you eight of my best web writing tips for coaches — for their websites, blog posts, articles, social posts, and whatever written content you create online.
By the way, you can get page-specific writing advice, formulas, and examples for your coaching website in The Coaching Website Guide.
Web Writing Tip #1. Shift Into the Mind of Your Best Client
As a warm-up exercise, imagine one person who has been a great client, whether paid or not.
It could be a great past client, a client you’re currently working with, or an avatar or persona (an outline of a specific person).
Imagine you are right there with him or her. You’re having a good chat over coffee. You are connected and having a magical session.
- What are they thinking?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What are their toughest struggles?
- What do they desperately want in life, work, health, relationships?
- What’s a typical day like for her?
- What do they value?
A little story
In a brainstorming session with a client, Rachel wanted some hot topics for her blogs. I asked her to tell me about one of her ideal past clients past. She told me about a person who hated going to work and wanted to find a new career that she would feel happy about going to every day.
From that simple statement, and a little digging into the nuances of the situation, we found these potential article titles:
- How to begin finding a new career you’ll enjoy
- How to transition out of work you hate
- How to identify a better career and not end up in the same dead-end job
- How to not hate your current job while you seek a new one
Take a good 5-10 minutes to think about your reader, your clients, and their situations. Great topics will come to mind.
Tip #2. When Stuck, Remember That, “It’s Just a Draft”
No one (that I know) creates the perfect piece in one go. Even the pros plan for drafting and revising their work at a later time.
In my early days of writing, I struggled and was stressed as I attempted to get it done in one effort that lasted hours. I was hoping to get it done to perfection in one sitting. That never happened and writing was extremely frustrating.
I know one career coach who had a weekly newsletter. He told me how he’d draft it one day, then come back and edit the next day, and then he was done. It kept it short, and a 2-step process worked for him.
So, if you’re finding writing tough, let go of any need to be perfect, and be ready to set it down.
It’s just a draft. Come back later.
Tip #3. Speak in YOUR Voice – People Love the Realness
You may be stuck with writing because you’re trying to act like a great writer or trying to sound intelligible. It’s effortful and hard.
Instead, let go of having to be a certain way and relax into your usual, conversational, happy-to-be-me self.
Write like you are emailing a friend, texting, or chatting on the phone. The casual, conversational tone will feel right to you. It’ll be real.
You can let out your wordy, bubbly, crazy, clever, quirky, stern, tough, caring, bold self, whichever that is, especially in the draft.
Later on, you can tighten it up.
Web Writing Tip #4. Write Long Enough to Cover Your Points, Then …
When thinking about length, first consider the purpose of the writing.
For example …
- If it’s going to be a big blog, a one-of-a-kind killer resource for boosting your credibility sky high, then it could be 2000 words or more.
- If you are trying to launch a website in a week, you could aim for short, 500-word pages to get the job done on time.
- If it’s a quarterly newsletter, consider a lengthy email or even a long web page to cover the last three months of activity.
- If the page is your free intro session offer, and it’s positioned after a 20-minute training video, then it doesn’t have to be long since you’ve engaged deeply with the viewer in the video — a screen or two would do with a form.
When drafting, go for a lot of content and enjoy getting ideas out. Save the editing and critical eye for later. Let the mind run wild.
When it’s time to edit, try cutting it in half. Then …
Shorten sentences, pull out weak material, and be concise.
And, if you’re braver than me, cut it in half again as wise usability guru Steve Krug wrote in his usability book, Don’t Make Me Think (link opens in a new tab).
Remember to keep your copy long enough to support the purpose and short enough to remove the clutter. This will maximize its impact.
Tip #5. Use Simple Formatting, and Do Not Bold Everything, DAMN IT!
Yes, when I see a full page of bolded content, I punch holes in the wall. If I see the same page in all caps too, I WILL COME TO YOUR HOUSE AND LIGHT A FLAMING BAG OF POOP, RING YOUR DOORBELL, AND RUN.
In all seriousness, when you stray far from normal reading fonts, sizes, styles, in an attempt to make your content more impactful, you just make it harder to read.
When it comes to formatting a page, keep it minimal, and use a few things:
- Use italics to emphasize words
- Bold, vital points that you want to stand out
- Save underlining for links only, or you’ll confuse people
- Use bullet points and numbered lists often — people love them
- Use shorter paragraphs than in books (single-sentence paragraphs work)
- Don’t over-format your page — it’s distracting
Yes, definitely add your personal touches to your style, just don’t get confusing. If you’re expressive with OMGs or LOLs or ROFLMAOs, then go for it. If you like to all-cap some words to emphasize, it’s ok. Just be sure you aren’t risking confusing people.
CAVEAT/WARNING!!! I know wild-west, wacky marketers will tell you to underline, bold, highlight, circle, call-out, and make an ADD-inducing page that looks more like a pinball game, slot machine, or super-hero comic book. I’m all for trying different ideas, as long as you track to see if it actually works. In my experience, for coaches who want to build trust, look professional, and attract long-term clients, I wouldn’t zoo-ify my website.
Many newbie coaches who build their own websites hit the design buffet with reckless abandon and pile their websites high with the hundreds of fonts, colors, styles, and images available — and make a mess.
Web Writing Tip #6. The We/I Issue Solved
Here’s a good question, When you write about your business, should you use the word “we” and try to look like a big operation, OR should you be transparent and use the word “I”?
If you indeed are a group of coaches working together, then go ahead and refer to your team and use the word “we” in your client – like the About Us page.
If you’re a single-coach business, then I would NOT use “we” because people will quickly figure this out on your About page — and you lose trust.
But the we-or-I issue isn’t a problem if you’re content is filled with a lot of “you.”
If you’re writing good content on your website, then a lot of your copy will be about the visitor and their situation, struggles, and needs. And you’ll have a lot of “you” and very little “I.”
Just look at this page and my website. Not much me, my, or I at all.
For example, here’s some copy with a lot of “we,”
Our coaches are practitioners of the performance-based coaching approach called the G.R.O.W. methodology. We use this process to set goals with our clients. We’ve found this approach most helpful.
And here’s the same content with a lot more “you” in it,
We use performance-based coaching to keep your action steps clear and focused on the results most important for growing your business. Your fears and worries will fade away, while new feelings of confidence keep you motivated each week.
Remember, your website is all about the client. So, make sure the word “you” is found in plenty. When done well, your clients won’t be concerned if you’re a one-coach show.
Web Writing Tip #7. Plan to Put It Down (New 2021)
In the beginning days of creating online content, I’d heee and hawww about my articles, emails, and website copy. I’d over-think, over-worry, over-write, over-judge, and go over time.
I didn’t know how bad my works were until months or years later when I’d go back and have a look. Many of my posts were god-awful messes riddled with grammar issues, unclear points, and irrelevant stuff — I started to doubt that English was my first language.
But, the articles did get better each time I went back. I eventually discovered this hidden power of putting it down and built that into my writing process.
I encourage clients and students, especially newbie writers, to put in a good effort and then put their work down for a day.
This break gives the subconscious the time to work its magic, and you come back with fresh genius.
Here’s a process I use now:
- Come up with a good title and draft key points for the article — 60 minutes
(Put it down for a day)
- Organize it into this simple blog writing format and draft more
(Put it down for a day)
- Polish it up and ask friends for feedback
(Put it down for a day)
- Apply feedback, and you’re done
A few quotes over the years I find myself repeating …
- To write is human. To edit is divine.
- The art of writing is in re-writing.
KENN TIP! By the way, adding a step to get feedback in your process is another lifeline trick for millionaire writing. It’s that “wisdom of the masses” that brings your work up a level.
Tip #8. Don’t Try to Be Smart. Instead, Be Helpful.
When writing, you don’t need to sound like you know everything. You don’t have to prove any elite intellect over your readers.
For most, being a know-it-all is a big turn-off.
Instead, aim to be supportive and helpful. Share what you DO know. People love receiving content from a real, caring, human.
You’ll know this feeling when you sit down to write, and you’re judging your work’s quality or seeking the perfect words to make things sound smart.
It’s good to go back to Tip #1, Shift Into the Minds of Your Clients to Find Fabulous Topics, which will take you out of your head and into your client’s situation with an understanding, caring, helpful heart.
More Writing Articles for Coaches
A Simple Blog Post Writing Format
6 Big Questions Every Coach’s Website Must Answer
How to Write Website Content for Coaches – 29 Topics Clients Love
Your 1-Minute Action Challenge for Writing Better Web Content
Think about one of your favorite authors, experts, or gurus. If you can pull up their blog or website, then do so and consider these questions:
- Are their pages easy to read?
- What formatting (bold, italics, lists) are they using?
- Are they choosing topics that are important to you?
- Can you feel the author behind the words?
- What’s fantastic about their content?
Post your discoveries below.
Don’t Forget! Be sure to hit LIKE and include your website address for that little SEO boost.