Use These Copywriting Tips When You Feel Like a Fraud

You run a business, you love what you do, heck you’re great at what you do and you’ve had customers in the past who have been more than happy with your service.

But sometimes, when you’re sitting down to write a sales page, blog post or a free report you get struck by “Imposter Syndrome.” The imposter syndrome is a close cousin to self-doubt and they can often be found hanging round home offices late at night, sitting on computer screens and laughing at you whenever you are tempted to write something.

If you try copywriting when you feel like a fraud, your audience will know. You will be overly apologetic, or over confident. Neither makes for good copywriting and your business deserves the best.

Before you reach for the wine in despair, wait.

The great thing is that you only feel like a fraud.

You offer a good service right?

You have past customers who liked what you did right?

You’re not going to make promises in your copywriting that you can’t keep right?

Then you’re not a fraud. Which is good. Now read on:

Turn off the experts and turn on your target audience

If you have a relatively new, new media marketing agency and have spent all week reading about Chris Brogan, stop. Close down your web browser and remove his picture from your desktop background. It’s inspiring to look up to people we admire, but if you feel like a fraud, being surrounded by details of your hero and all their accomplishments is going to make you compare yourself and chances are you’re not in that league just yet.

So now is a great time to reconnect with your target audience. Remember,  you don’t have to be the best in your game to help people, you just have to find the people who need help doing what it is you do so well.  Write something that’s going to help them, not the experts and you’ll start feeling like your own expert again.

I probably wouldn’t feel confident telling Steve jobs how to use his Mac, but I’d be pretty confident telling my dad how to switch on his PC.

Talk about your mistakes – but make sure there’s a lesson

Maybe you feel like a fraud because your last project didn’t go perfectly. If your customer was happy, and you rectified everything, don’t sweat it. Share it.

Keeping these things in leads to shame which leads to an over-inflated Imposter Syndrome. Get it out in the open and share it with your customers, but make sure you show what you learned in the process. Look for the positive and how it made your business better.

Let’s say you run a web design company and you launch a client’s site for a busy promotion only to realise you forgot to test the contact page because you had to rush to tidy the house for your in-laws visit and no enquiries came through on the big day.

Find the positive, tell your audience what you learned: To leave more time before a product launch, plan the testing a bit better (or stop inviting the inlaws).

We like flaws, and unless you’re a heart surgeon, a mistake here and there is going to endear your audience to you IF you can show them that you learned and improved your service as a result.

Write about a past success

If you’re really stuck for something new to write about, go over a past project you were proud of and feature it as a case study for an article. You could do an interview with a past client relating to work you did and chat about how the project started and came to fruition. Re-connecting with work you are proud of and people who have confidence in you is a great way to boost your confidence in your copywriting.

Ask questions

This is a great and simple copywriting technique to connect with your audience, and will buy you some time if you want to get a post published and open the wine (if you haven’t already chewed the cork out with your teeth).

Talk to your audience through your blog, or on a forum. Ask them how you can help, ask them what kind of problems they want solving. Tell them you’re planning on running a series of posts / courses / seminars to help them and you want to know what will benefit them the most.

Getting a list of questions which are genuine needs, and ones which you can answer will give you plenty ideas of what you can write about as someone who knows their stuff.

Run a “step by step guide” post on a process you take for granted

Every business has a process they take for granted. If you know the Claude Hopkins Schlitz beer ad story then you might be familiar with this.

In the early 1900s, every brewery was talking about how pure their beer was, but only Schlitz beer, explained how this was achieved when Claude Hopkins outlined the extensive purity process . The process was common practice for breweries but no company had ever explained it so fully to customers. It raised the company from 5th place to joint number one spot within 5 months.

Think about your business. Is there a process you take for granted that you don’t often see other companies writing about?

See if you can break it down into a helpful step-by-step guide. What seems normal to you might just elevate you to “expert” status in someone else’s eyes.

These tips won’t eradicate the Imposter Syndrome altogether, but they are a great quick fix when you need a confidence boost to get you writing. You’ll feel better, help your market and be one step closer to the wine.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone, don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed if you like this article, and sign up to the newsletter for exclusive tips on copywriting to help you when you run a busy business.

Keep believing.


  1. harrisonamy says

    Hi Chris!

    I’m really pleased you enjoyed the post, despite me telling people to turn you off – as a temporary measure only though. :-)

    Ambition can be a curse if you only ever think about what you haven’t learned yet. It can paralyse you and put you in the “I don’t know enough yet” rut.

    It can also make you forget the value of what you already know and how you can use that today to help your customers.

    Thanks for the comment and design compliment! (MenWithPens are genius at what they do.)

  2. says

    What a BEAUTIFUL post. I love the idea. Your buyers are more important to visit and spend time with. Your market can change while you’re following the nerds on their next quest.

    Love the post.

    (Great design, by the way).
    .-= Chris Brogan…´s last blog ..Feed Your Business Head =-.


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