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NBTA Copywriting Workshop with Maria Schena

On Tuesday, July 26th, we hosted a copywriting workshop with Maria Schena of Maria Georgia Co. Maria Schena is a biology major and former Italian yoga retreat salesgirl who discovered copywriting during the pandemic. She describes herself as, “helping coaches and course creators to increase sales without drowning in templates, using my Cricket Slaying Copy Method.” The turnout was great — we were joined by people from all over the United States, including New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Arizona, and even someone from India! People were enthusiastic and engaged, and Maria gave us a great overview of the copywriting profession.

So first, what is copy? You might have an idea if you read our article last week on the topic, but Maria put it beautifully when she said, “Copywriting is words that sell, or drive a particular action in the reader.” This includes blog posts, ads, landing pages, and even social media! All of these use writing to influence what people think of a topic or business and press them to some form of action, so they are all examples of copy.

Maybe now you’re thinking, “Huh. So that time I wrote up a social media post for my theater performance or plugged my friend’s art online — that was writing copy?” And the answer is yes! Copy is supposed to sound natural, like how you would talk to a friend if your friend were in your target demographic. In fact, you should write about whatever you’re selling like the target audience would write about it! “It is critical that you have copy that speaks directly to your ideal clients and customers.”

But how do you get into your clients’ mindsets? Simple — you ask them! Maria suggests that you meet with three representative members of the target demographic who have already used your client’s service and ask them seven questions. Here are the seven questions:

  1. “What are the three biggest things around the area you serve that you are currently struggling with?”

  2. “How does having this problem make you feel?”

  3. “What have you done to overcome this problem?”

  4. “Why do you think these things haven’t worked?”

  5. “How would you feel if this problem didn’t get better in the next year? Would you be in the same place?”

  6. “How would your life be different if you could solve this problem?”

  7. “How would you feel if this was no longer a problem for you?”

These will help you narrow down on what precise problems your target audience want solved and how they would describe those problems. When you are writing your copy, don’t just incorporate their answers. Incorporate their speech patterns and verbiage. Talk like your target audience and you’ll find it far easier to reach them.

Then, when you know what the problem is and how your audience wants that problem solved, you can start to write your copy! It can be very useful to have a template to work with, such as PAS (Problem, Agitation, Solution) or AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). What do these have in common? They hook the reader at the start and focus first on the problem the product or service will solve. This will be a problem that weighs on your target audience’s minds. Don’t let them forget why it is in their interest to follow your instructions! Maria compared this step to a dentist poking a damaged tooth. The dentist isn’t trying to hurt the patient, they just want to show them that there is a problem so it can be fixed. You, the copywriter, should poke at the target audience’s relevant problems in order to convince them to seek a solution. Then, you just present the solution and end with a clear call to an action, be it buying a product or clicking a link.

Does that sound simple? Maybe. Of course it's not easy. You have to practice, network, and put in a lot of hard work. But Maria is a firm believer that anyone who can convince people with text can be a copywriter if they put in the time and effort. You just have to get one person on your side — yourself. Maria suggests that you have mantras to remind yourself that you can do this. Some of hers include “I create compelling copy with ease,” “I love writing copy because I know it transforms lives,” and “I know that when I follow proven frameworks, my copy will do the selling for me.” But, of course, you can tell yourself whatever works best for you — just be positive and stick to it!

This workshop was a great experience, and Maria had even more great tips and tricks that I couldn’t list here. If you want to hear about our future workshops, join our Geneva Groupchat, and sign up for our email list!

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