Updated: Oct 20, 2020
Today I wanted to write an article but couldn’t immediately think of a topic.
(Bear with me, I’m going somewhere.)
So instead of blinking at my flashing cursor, I opened Quora to spark some ideas.
I do this all the time.
Instead of waiting to think of a topic to write about on the spot, I look for common questions people have within my area of expertise. Instead of answering the question directly on Quora, I copy-paste the question into a doc and use it to flesh out a new article for my blog.
The cool part is, I use similar techniques to write some of my strongest website copy, advertising headlines, and lead magnet titles.
Instead of using those tactics to drum up today's topic, I'll break down my process for borrowing real customer language to write powerful copy.
Let’s dive in.
Customers write the best SaaS copy
The secret to writing powerful copy isn’t what you think.
Sure, it helps to be a strong and creative writer. But really, your ability to snoop around online to find what customers are already saying about your product — that's where the money's at.
I don’t need to sit around twiddling my thumbs imagining or making up audience pain points. Potential customers and readers have already given me that language somewhere else on the internet.
My job is to go forth, find their agitations and appreciations, and borrow that language to write powerful headlines and copy.
It’s a tactic that Joanna Wiebe famously coined with the phrase, “review mining.”
Here are some ways you can make this process work for your SaaS business:
Product review websites
Your competitors aren’t just other SaaS companies in your space.
Most SaaS products also compete with DIY YouTube videos, topical books, and non-software service providers.
In that case, you can browse customer reviews on Amazon, comments under how-to videos, and read Yelp reviews about professional service providers in your industry.
But the easiest places to start are software review sites like Capterra, G2, Product Hunt, and TrustRadius. These sites are virtual gold mines.
Take this Canva review I found on G2.com as an example:
If you’re a Canva competitor — or a copywriter at Canva — this language offers easy headline material.
You can use the purple highlights as positive copy for your own brand. You can use the yellow to tell prospects how your product differs from Canva.
As a rule of thumb, look for copy that homes in on answering: What problems does this tool solve? What benefit has it given to your company?
Look for the why and how behind any emotion the writer expresses in their review, as that is usually prime for the picking. Watch for any short, pithy product descriptions. Seeing what they call a product can also be particularly insightful.
Not all copy in a software review will help you, but when people communicate how a product has solved problems that led to better business outcomes, you’re on the right track.
As alluded to earlier, I find many article ideas by simply browsing popular questions on Quora. If the question is driving a lot of attention and follows, then that tells me there’s a big pain point or knowledge gap associated with that question.
I’ll literally turn the question — in its exact words — into the headline of my article.
You can do the same thing writing web copy for your website: Find popular Quora questions and turn them into an H1 or H2 on your website.
Social media combines various elements of previous points.
You can join Groups in your industry to uncover common questions, complaints, or pain points. Use that language to craft copy on your website.
You can also perform review mining by browsing Business pages. How are real customers talking about your — or your competitor’s — product(s)?
Before I started using SEMrush for SEO, I went straight to Google to find most of my keywords.
Google’s related searches section — you know, that place at the bottom of most searches — offers insight into common questions and industry pain points. We’ve written about using Google for better SEO before.
When you search a keyword or phrase using Google, simply scroll to the bottom to see other common searches related to your term. Consider using some of these terms in your article or web copy.
One of the best ways to gather customer language is to strike up a conversation.
Ask a handful of customers if you can interview them to get feedback and help improve your marketing.
Ask questions surrounding the buyer’s journey:
What problem were you having that drove you to find a solution like [company_name]?
What problems does it solve for you today?
Why did you choose [company_name] over the competition?
Why do you continue to use our product/service?
What features (or services) have been most impactful in the success of your business?
Record the call (with their permission) and pay careful attention to the exact words customers use to describe why and how they use your product or brand.
And it’s as simple as that.
Using customer language is not only easier for you (because you don’t have to come up with all the copy on your own). The borrowed language will also likely perform better than your own creativity — no offense.
Think about it: your value proposition, article titles, and website copy are coming straight from the vocabulary of those actually buying and using your products.