Copywriting for Startups | Allison Esposito | Skillshare

Copywriting for Startups

Allison Esposito

Copywriting for Startups

Allison Esposito

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9 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. About Your Class Project

    • 3. Beating Writer's Block

    • 4. Become Your Own Editor

    • 5. How To Write a Landing Page (Class Project!)

    • 6. How To Write A "How It Works" Section

    • 7. How To Write Effective CTAS

    • 8. Putting It All Together

    • 9. Fin

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About This Class

Whether you’re an entrepreneur starting your own company, a marketer writing for startups, or you just want to sharpen your writing and branding skills, this class is for you. 

You’ll learn how to write compelling copy for your company, project, or future business.  We’ll cover everything from beating writer’s block and editing your own work, to crafting copy that resonates with readers and converts them into customers.

As a class project, you’ll use my template to create landing page copy that gets people understanding your product like never before.

No prior writing experience required!

Meet Your Teacher

Allison Esposito is a writer and marketer in NYC who creates stunning copy and branding for startups. She has lent her voice to companies like Google, Foursquare, Oyster, Skillshare, and more.

Allison loves working with small companies to help them define and establish their brand. She also writes and edits in-app copy, landing pages, web copy, pitch decks, app store copy, social/email campaigns, taglines, and more.

See full profile

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1. Trailer: Hi, I'm Alison Esposito. I create copy and branding for companies like Google Foursquare Skill Share and more. And I'm excited to tell you everything I've learned about writing for your start up in this class, we're going to create a landing page and you'll walk away with out a raid in about section . How it works. Section effective calls to action and more, so you'll have a landing page all ready to go for your company. I love writing copy that resonates with people and actually converts them to becoming customers. I love writing copy that makes it feel like it's someone who's actually talking to you. Um, and I want to teach people how to do that in this class. I think one of the biggest issues with writing is just getting past the point where you're scared and looking at a blank page. So as part of this class, I'm gonna give in the project gallery a nice outline that you can work from. It's really a template to show you how to do everything. Students on this course will learn how to write a landing page for either a riel or pretend company, and they'll learn how to write everything from a great about section, which explains what the company is and what it does and who needs it. Teoh Brief How it Works section, which will walk you through exactly what the product or company does and a call to action that gets people to click. Who should take this class. If you're an entrepreneur, starting your own company and you want to learn how to write about the product that you're creating. If you're a marketer who works for a start up and you just want to learn to get better at writing or anyone else who just wants to learn how to write better classes for you and no prior writing experience is required. So if you want to learn how to write better copy for your start up, let's get started. 2. About Your Class Project: This'll class will create a landing page for your real or pretend company. You'll learn how to write in about section how it works section and ineffective call to action. I really encourage you to share what you write with everybody in this class so they can give feedback and I can jump in and give feedback. Teoh. Our first lesson will be about beating writer's block, so let's get started. 3. Beating Writer's Block: So first we're going to talk about beating writer's block. Writing is really about thinking, so this is about getting your head in the game. I'm gonna show you how to do that in this first lesson. So to beat writer's block, you really need to think about where you've done your best thinking before. This isn't necessarily where you've done your best writing before. One tip to do that is to take out a piece of paper and make a list with two sections. One section will be tools and the other will be places. And then you need to start brainstorming the tools and places that have given new your inspiration before. So some examples of tools may be drinking a cup of coffee, taking a long, brisk walk or maybe REM or the Peggy Olson type. It's not a coincidence that you've been productive in certain places or using certain tools . So once you have them written down, you can look back and some in the inspiration. Any time you need to keep writing. Okay, here. Some bonus ideas for beating writer's block. The first is that a thesaurus is not evil, contrary to what you may have heard you can actually get a lot of really good ideas by looking upwards, and it's the source and seeing what other words you might want to use. Another tip is Google Image Search could even look up word clouds. Sometimes just looking at related words will give you an idea for what to write. The third tip is to read everything from novels to copy from brands you like. If you're actively reading, it's going to make you a better writer. So those are some tips for beating writer's block. Next, we're gonna learn how to edit your own work. 4. Become Your Own Editor: so if you're lucky enough to have someone toe edit your own work, feel free to use them. It's great to have a friend or family member read over what you write, and they will find things that you can't see. Sites like medium or Google docks are really great, because you can send things around and people can drop in at it's really easily whether you don't have anyone to edit or you just want to edit your work before sending it around, we'll go over three quick tips that will help you become your own editor. The first tip is to challenge yourself to cut your word. Count in half the things we're looking to cut repetition, jargon or sentences longer than 35 words. But here's a bonus tip. If you find it's really hard to cut down what you've written, you can put each sentence into Twitter. It will force you to cut every sentence down to 140 characters. Just be careful not to hit. Publish. The second tip is to read your work out loud. Read it to your cat, your mom, really anyone who will listen. The reason for this is that when you read your work out loud, you can hear mistakes that you can't see. The third tip is to sleep on it because we can't always see all of our own mistakes. It really helps toe walk away, come back and edit it yourself later. You're gonna catch a lot of things that you didn't see the first time around. So next we're going to start our class project where we write a landing page. 5. How To Write a Landing Page (Class Project!): so far. Class project. We're going to write a landing page within about section, how it works section and one effective call to action. The first step is super easy. Get the template from the project gallery and start filling it out. What we're looking at here is the inverted pyramid at the top. You'll notice the about copy. That's a few sentences long. That explains what your company does. Underneath, there's a short summary that's just one or two sentences that try to say the same thing about what your company does in a much shorter way and in the tagline, I want to challenge you to write an even shorter, more direct just a few words to explain what your company does. The first section is the about section. You want to answer three questions here that are really important. What does your product do? Why does anyone need it? And how is it different? One important thing here is to keep it just the fax. You want to keep this really high level. We're not gonna get into the nitty gritty of what your product does. Step 12 and three that will come later in the how it works section. But the about section is gonna be a really high level view of what your company does. When you open your template, you'll see this about mad Libs, which will really help you when writing. Don't try towards Smith at. At this point, just try to answer all these questions so we have meat and then company name. That one's really easy. You'll just fill in the name of your company. The copy you have beneath says, where a new way of and here's where I want you to write down the approach your company takes the problem. It fixes or explain what your product does. Copy Underneath that says We do this by, and here's where you can highlight some features. It's better than Here's where I want you to talk about competitors or the currently of doing things or the status quo because and then explain how it's different underneath that , it says, we know you'll enjoy it because and there I want you to fill in why anyone needs it. So let's try together with a made up company. Let's say we have a company that's the birchbox of bagels will call it bagel mate. The deal is that you get a bunch of fresh bagels delivered to your door each month for just 10 bucks. So if we were going to do a mad lives about section for bagel mate, it might look something like Meat Bagel made where new way of getting you the best bagels from all over the world. We do this by delivering five new bagels and five samples of different cream cheese and spreads to your door all for just $10 a month. It's better than going to your local bagel store or buying gross store bought bagels because we send fresh bagels directly to you. And because we send bagels from all over the world, including the famous Montreal bagel, we know you'll enjoy it because bagels air incredible. So the mad lives is a good start to get the basics down, but it doesn't read that well at this point. We want to do is edit it down and wordsmith it a bit. So that's what I want you to do for your company to in the first section. Just write it all down. Don't worry about how it looks. Here's where we can cut it down and make it sound a little bit better. Meat Bagel mate. Subscribe to bagel made to get the best bagels from all over the world, delivered right to your door for just $10 a month, you'll get five bagels and five samples of high quality artisanal cream cheese and spreads with free overnight shipping. You'll always get the freshest bagels, including world famous Montreal and New York City bagels. Never buy frozen store bagels again. So what we did to edit it was added some details like Montreal and New York bagels. That's a selling point. We cut out some repetition. Once we get the basics, it's overnight. It's $10. Bagels come to your door. We know that we're answering the questions of what the product does, who needs it and how it works. Now let's see the second part of the pyramid. How can we describe what bagel mate is in just 1 to 2 sentences? This is a little bit harder. Here's an example we have for just $10 a month bagel mate overnights, five of the best bagels and five of the highest quality artisanal cream. She spreads from all over the world right to your door. We got a lot of important information in just one sentence. So it's someone of a start. We have $10 a month. The fact that bagel mate will overnight the bagels to you were telling you what you'll get were telling you where they come from. And we're telling you that they'll get delivered to your door. So this is a little bit of a start. Okay, now we'll look at the bottom of the inverted pyramid. The tagline of the shortest one. That explains what bagel mate IHS Ah, so for this may be something we could come up with is just the best bagels in the world at your doorstep will leave the $10 for later. We'll leave the fact that we overnight them for later. That's what you'll get in the about section or the 1 to 2 sentence summary. The tagline is just really to grab people's attention, get them to understand a little bit about what your product does. So before we go into the next part, let's read back what we have and make sure that we're answering all three questions. Does your about section answer the question. What does your product dio? Who is it for? And how is it different? If you can read it over and make sure that it has all three of those, you're probably in pretty good shape. Here's an extra tip. I call it the pasta water tip. Just a zoo. Save pasta water when cooking to bind a sauce. You want to keep some bad ideas on the side, just in case you need them later. So keep everything you've written down. You never know when a bad idea for a tagline will become a great line for an ad. Just save it somewhere. So next up we'll learn how to write a how it works. Section for your landing page. 6. How To Write A "How It Works" Section: this'll lesson will be talking about how to write how it works. Section The goal here is to get people to understand in 20 seconds or less how your product works. So let's take a look. At example, From skill share dot com, you're all familiar with this site. Ah, how it works. Section here shows that you can become a member, engage with the community and teach a class these air really the three most important things to skill share to get out about its product. Start by telling people about your product. You want to pay attention to what they say back to you, where their main questions, what misconceptions do they have and what assumptions are they making about your product? These are the things that you want to address in your how it works section. So let's try filling out the how it Works section on our class project template. But before you do that, review some tips. The first is that there should be no more than three steps. Anything more than three steps is gonna get people really confused about what your product does. The second tip is to use direct language, be prescriptive actually tell them what to Dio, For example, download the app or create listing. You want to be really clear here about what they should dio The third tip is right. It's so anyone would understand, right? It's so your mom, dad or even grand parents would get it. The fourth tip is to avoid jargon, things you might say at work acronyms. Things like that have no place and how it works. You want to get really direct here? The fifth tip is to end on a high note. You really want people to convert after reading this, so make sure you end in a positive way. So now you try it. You're how it works. Section should get people to understand in 20 seconds or less what your product does Next up, we're going to talk about how to write effective call to actions or C T. A s 7. How To Write Effective CTAS: Theo goal of a good call. The action. It's to get people to click. This is the last piece of the puzzle that you need for your landing page. So let's go over some tips for best practices. One. Keep it short. It should just be 3 to 5 words. Don't be manipulative. You'll see. A lot of SETI is like this, and they just don't work. Similarly, don't be overly cute. See something like Press me. It's not as effective as a direct See ta. We'll talk about how to do that next. One. Easy way to make sure that you're writing really effective CTS is to simply finish the sentence I want to. So you're see today? Could be. I want to learn more or I want to browse the store where I want to read more. Those are all really great direct CTS. You can use them just by finishing that sentence. So that's the last piece that you need for your landing page Project. Next will put it all together 8. Putting It All Together: Okay, so the last step is to just put it all together. If you want to get fancy, you can try using sites like car dot co or squarespace dot com to mock up your page. I'd love for you to share the mocks you make or even just share Google docks or any other things that you have to the project gallery. I encourage you to get feedback from other students in the class and all the feedback to So here's the site that I made for bagel, mate. I mocked this up in about 60 seconds. As you can see, it doesn't look professionally designed. But by doing this, you can really get a sense of how your copy will look on the page. So I really encourage you all to mock it up and shared in the project gallery. So by now, you should have everything you need to write a really great landing page. I'm so excited to see everything that you're gonna share next up. I'll summarize what we've done and make sure you have all the tips you need to get on your way. 9. Fin: Okay, so let's go over what we've done. We learned how to beat writer's block, edit our own work and create a landing page that has an about section with a short summary . Maybe you've written a tagline. Short how it works section and a really great c t. A. I'm really excited to see what you share in the project gallery, and I'll be jumping in to comment on this money as I can. So I really love to see you take a stab at doing the landing page. Don't stress over having the perfect copy right away. It's really great to just get a draft out there and get yourself used to the writing process. So I really want to work with you guys on this. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them, and I'll jump in and provide as much feedback as I can. So that's it. Thanks so much for watching