May 29, 2023
min read

Powerful Copywriting for Wellpreneurs with Rebecca McCusker

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Every week, our very own Kiki Athanas interviews marketing and business professionals who can help empower you in your wellness business. We journey throughout the purpose, process, and payoff of being a successful, full-time health practitioner. We get to know the people, steps, and tools that go behind building a profitable health coaching business. Let’s dive right in!

Rebecca McCusker works closely with us here at Meal Garden, and we’re thankful to have her because she’s quite the copywriting and blogging expert. Rebecca is a copywriter and Chief Creative Officer of her marketing agency, The Creative Content Shop. She's written for brands such as Abbott Nutrition and Nationwide Insurance. But in particular relevance to us, she also has experience ghostwriting for wellness coaches. In this interview, Rebecca busts some copywriting myths and gives us some business-boosting tips.

Listen to the full interview by clicking here!

The Challenge of Creating High-Quality Content for Wellpreneurs

Meal Garden:

The ultimate goal of many wellpreneurs and health coaches is to get more clients, and in order to do so, they need a strong online presence. They have to get their unique voice across.

Most business owners are starting to think about how their writing impacts their business’ bottom line. What are your tips on making copywriting time efficient? How do you write quickly, but still not “phoning it in” and doing a stellar job?

Rebecca McCusker:

Yes, writing is time consuming. It's one thing to say, "I'm going to produce a blog post every week and a newsletter." And it's something totally different to sit down and do it. It takes time. You've got to put a lot into it. So a lot of people are like, "Oh my gosh, this is going to take all day. How do I do this?"

One thing to always do -- start with an outline. Always. It is your path forward. Without an outline, it's like you're driving a car at night without lights on. And when you’re researching and gathering sources, simply plop those links in your outline so you can properly cite them later.

After your outline is finished, that’s when you can sit down and just write! And when I say “I just write”, I mean I'm not in my editing brain. The writing brain and the editing brain are different.

Was it Hemingway that said, "Write drunk, edit sober?" When you're writing, you have to be okay with making mistakes. You're going to have typos. Don't go back and fix them yet. This is not the time. I still have that inclination sometimes to be like, "You know what? I don't love that sentence. I'm uncomfortable with this sentence." And sometimes I'd just tell myself, "Rebecca, keep going." Just get that first draft down.

Your first draft is going to be crappy, and it's okay! When you’re done with that crappy first draft, walk away, have some coffee, do some yoga, go for a jog and then the next day come back and edit.

When I say “go away and come back”, that does include the time it takes to write it, but at least you're not butt-in-chair working that whole time. It does really make it so much faster. I've written a first draft for a thousand-word article in 45 minutes using this technique and then the editing process is that much faster.

What Article Length is Best for SEO?

Meal Garden:

Would a 1,000-word article be your suggestion lengthwise for people looking to boost their SEO (search engine optimization)?

Rebecca McCusker:

There's a conversation going on about this. Some people say it's got to be a thousand words because long form content shows Google that you're diving deeper into the content. It shows more depth.

But there are other SEO experts that say you can get away with 200 to 500 words. You can prattle on for three extra paragraphs, and those three extra paragraphs could be completely pointless and useless.

In general, try to use as few words as humanly possible, when you're trying to convey something. This is important when it comes to marketing in general. Keep it simple. Don't sacrifice simplicity and brevity just to meet a word count.

How long should it take you to complete the entire writing process?

Meal Garden:

So then in terms of the process, how long should you spend on the outline versus writing, versus the editing process, ideally?

Rebecca McCusker:

The outline can take as little as 15 minutes.

Most of our wellness and health coaches and dieticians are going to have a very foundational knowledge of the articles they're writing. So their outlines shouldn’t take terribly long. My outlines have an intro, paragraph one, paragraph two, paragraph three, and a conclusion.

That's it! And typically I don't even write what the intro or conclusion is going to be. That's just what I come up with when I write. As for the paragraphs, I'll write the main idea and then 3-4 talking points.

If you know what you’re writing, the writing part can take upwards 45 minutes to an hour. It might take longer depending on how deep into the research you’re going to get. If you're going to write a real serious medical article, yeah, that's going to take some time.

Meal Garden:

Perfect. And how long can the editing process take? How do you edit your own work?

Rebecca McCusker

Many professional writers don’t want to review their own work. It’s a challenge! We get stuck in how we speak in our own heads.

When you’re editing your own work, read it out loud. This is so important because I can give my work to a friend, and they can pick up on things that I would never pick up on if I just read it quietly to myself.

Reading it out loud forces you to face those weird sentences that don't quite fit. You're stumbling over your words or you're like, "Wait, I don't need all those words," or “This is a run on sentence” --  things that you won't necessarily be able to catch if you're reading it quietly.  

How to Prevent Poor Grammar and Plagiarism

Meal Garden:

I interviewed our colleague Jenny this week, and she mentioned Grammarly. What's your take on using editing apps and software and all that jazz? Do you suggest relying on them? Do you use them yourself? Are there any ones that you recommend?

Rebecca McCusker:

Yeah. Okay. So I tried using Grammarly last year and I didn't like it.

I kept overriding their suggestions because... let's be honest, when it comes to colloquial speech, a computer is not going to understand. So I kept being like, "You're not getting it, robot, you just don't get it." If you have a strong understanding of grammar, you might find the tool cumbersome.

I'm not a grammar nerd, but I do have this intuition that tells me, “We need a comma here, or an em dash”. I think the Grammarly tool doesn’t always understand, necessarily, what makes good writing.

That said, there's one tool that Grammarly supplies that I love and it is the plagiarism checker.

It’s very important to make sure your work is original. Plagiarism isn't talked about enough and it's so important to craft original work and cite your sources. Grammarly’s plagiarism checker can keep us all honest.

Meal Garden:

You're so right. It's not talked about these days. It's so clear that so many people plagiarize.  When I'm researching, I'll go through different articles that come up, and I start to realize that so much material is blatantly copied. They’re all saying the exact same thing with the exact same verbiage.

Rebecca McCusker:

Yeah. We don't want that. Our health coaches don't want that. We want to stand out. We want to be unique. We want to have our own voices. We don't want to just raise our hands and be like, "Yeah, same. The same thing, what he said."

How to Tell When It’s Time to Hire a Ghostwriter

Meal Garden:

Now, with all of that said, what's your advice on how to tell if you need to hire a ghostwriter?

Rebecca McCusker:

Even if writing comes naturally to you, it can be stressful being the one to write your blog posts, writing your newsletters, writing all of your social media posts.

You can end up rereading it and slaving over verbiage for hours. And even if you are a good writer, it's just a lot. Entrepreneurs have a lot on their plate already. We have enough to worry about.

So if you find yourself putting off projects, pushing personal deadlines for your own content, and experiencing anxiety over your content, it’s time to bring in help.

If you get to a point where you feel like the very act of sitting down to write your content is just too much, it might be time to let people help you. A good ghostwriter can get you on a deep level and they can write for you in such a way that even your best friends will think that you wrote it.

Meal Garden:

Love that.

Definitely learned a lot in this conversation. You're guiding the Meal Garden team when it comes to copywriting. So I'm really happy that we had this conversation so I could learn some tips. On that note, where can people learn more about you and find your agency and all that jazz?

Rebecca McCusker:

Head on over to The Creative Content Shop! Go download our E-book, “The 7 Marketing Mistakes that Kill Small Businesses (and the fix for each)”, and if you have any marketing projects, don’t hesitate to reach out!

And of course, be sure to sign up for your free trial at Meal Garden. We are here to help health coaches and dieticians become the best entrepreneurs you can be by providing easy and powerful tools to make meal planning easier.

copywriting, marketing, content marketing, blogging, social media writing, brand voice, wellpreneurs, wellness brands, Getting Started

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