My mom used to quote this classic Wendy’s commercial where these three little old ladies are sitting in front of a table. There’s a HUGE hamburger bun in front of them, and they’re talking about how great it looks.
Then the middle lady takes the top bun off, and the camera shows a teeny tiny beef patty. One of the little old ladies squints and asks, “Where’s the beef? Where’s the beef?”
It’s cheesy, passingly amusing, and all to close to the reality of many online business owner’s websites, blog posts, sales funnels, landing pages, etc.
Many business owners look great on the outside, but when you really start digging into their copy, you find that there’s not really a whole lot there. And that needs to stop.
You have GOT to beef up your copy. Fluff is out and beef is in. Or you can do tofu if you’re vegetarian.
But either way, put SUBSTANCE in your copy. And this blog post will walk you through how (and why) to do it.
Know What Fluff Is
Do you know what fluff is? It’s words, phrases, or sentences that don’t contribute to your copy. These phrases are often repetitive and only exist to make you look better.
And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make yourself look better, you can take things too far.
My favorite example of fluff is from the movie The Emperor’s New Groove. In the scene below, Krunk is talking with Yzma about the poison they’re going to use to kill Kuzco.
That is the best example of fluff ever. It’s repetitive and adds NOTHING to the conversation.
But fluff isn’t always repetitive. In fact, fluff content can be an entire blog post that doesn’t really give your readers much value.
I remember back when I started my first copywriting business (January 2015ish), people said “Just talk about what you know. It doesn’t matter if there are a bazillion blog posts about running an online business. Just put your own special spin on them and it’ll be great. It’ll work.”
News flash: It’s now 2018 and there are FOUR bazillion blog posts about running an online business. Putting your own spin on things DOESN’T work as well as it used to.
Because the online business space is SO saturated, you really need to come up with FRESH content, which is hard when everyone is recycling someone else’s thoughts (more on that in another blog post).
So the days of writing a blog post like “How to Run an Online Business” and filling it with tips like “Plan your day”, “Know your audience”, and “Work when you feel like it” are over.
The online business world has gotten smarter, and it’s matured. People have higher standards now. And fluff won’t cut it anymore.
Find the Fluff (And Nix It)
Now that you know what fluff is, it’s time to go through every single page of your website and get rid of the fluff.
When you’re scanning for fluff, ask yourself these questions:
Does this REALLY add to the overall message of the page?
Does this repeat the sentence before it? (You’d be surprised how many times this happens).
Does this sentence contain crucial information my audience needs to know?
Does this sentence serve to move my audience closer to where I want them to be? (As in does this sentence help them towards making a purchasing decision?)
If your sentences past the Fluff Test, then they get to stay! (Hooray!) If they don’t pass the Fluff Test, then they’ve been voted off the island.
You’ll likely find that going through the Fluff Test has left your copy shorter. That’s ok. You don’t need to have a sales page or about page that’s 4,000 words.
One of the main reasons people use fluff is fear. Many online business owners are afraid that their pages are too short or that they’re not saying enough, so they end up filling their copy with fluffy words and phrases.
Inject Some Beef
Ok, so now that your copy is fluff-free, it’s time to beef it up. I’m willing to bet that removing all the fluff has left your copy shorter and a little sparser on some of the details. (It’s amazing how we think fluff is actually useful).
Go through each of your pages and note what details are left out. This is especially important to do on your sales pages and in your sales funnels.
Check for things like
The benefits of your product/service
How it will change your audience’s lives/businesses
Features of your product/service
Price (Yes, include your price. People want to know it without asking you.)
Next steps or the process they should follow if they’re interested in your offer
What they can expect when working with you
As you start to inject beef (read that “details”) into your copy, be careful not to fluff those details up.
This is especially obvious when you talk about the benefits of your product or service. Many business owners gloss over specific details and opt for general fluff. Rule of thumb – when you talk about how you change lives/businesses, be as specific as possible.
Give Some Value
Now let’s turn our attention to blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. Basically any kind of content you’re using to drive traffic to your website or to your offer.
It’s time to stop making blog posts like “3 Things All Business Owners Need to Know” and “8 Essential Tools for Business Success”.
First of all, there are a bazillion blog posts like that already. It’s been done to death.
Second of all, those don’t really give nitty gritty details that people need to know. It often skips a lot of the beef and usually veers into fluff territory.
Those are the kind of posts you write when you feel like you need to publish a blog post but don’t have the time or inclination to actually write a good one.
Here’s another rule of thumb to follow – If you can’t provide actual mind-blowing value with your blog posts/videos/podcasts, etc, then don’t publish one. Wait until you have something amazing to share.
Remember, the online business space is oversaturated and average or fluff-based-content won’t cut it anymore.
So how do you give value?
Go Into Depth
Write longer blog posts that really walk people through a topic and cover most (if not all) of the bases.
Inevitably there’s always going to be that one person who says “But I wrote all I needed to say and I just wrote 750 words.” To which I say, “Awesome. Then you’re done.”
Fluff happens when we skip value and focus on word count. So don’t watch the word counter. Instead, focus on what you’re saying.
Don’t Talk About General Topics
I realize that there ARE people out there who need to know “How to Run an Online Business”, but instead of talking about such a broad topic (which readily lends itself to fluff), talk about a more specific sub-topic.
So instead of talking about How to Run an Online Business, you could talk about How to Create Effective Business Systems for Moms.
See how specific that second title is? You’ll focus on one thing – business system creation for moms. Because you’re not trying to talk about #allthethings in your blog post (or video, whatever), you can go more in depth and give your readers more value.
Where’s the Beef?
As the online business world matures, it’s become more adept at sniffing out fluff. That means that you and your copy need to bring your non-fluff, all-beef selves. Because the beef (read that “details”) is where the magic happens.
The devil isn’t in these details, but your audience’s trust, connection, and willingness to work with you are.
So walk through this blog post and use it on your website copy (especially your sales pages) and go through your sales funnels. You’ll probably be surprised at what you find.
If you’re ready to kiss fluff goodbye forever and make your copy some of the meatiest you’ve ever seen, then it’s time to check out my copywriting packages. I’m a straight shooter who doesn’t do sleazy sales tactics and focuses on what matters to you and your audience (connection and details).
P.S. Want to actually see that Wendy’s commercial? Here you go: