Content Creation

How to Write Copy People Actually Want to Read

Recently updated on March 24th, 2021

Fun fact: about a year ago, we were contemplating ending our newsletter. Yes, the newsletter that now gets feedback like THIS every week:

(Read on to see what’s changed)

At the time, it had started to feel, honestly, a little like a chore to brainstorm, prep, write and send a newsletter every week, and while we knew we were SUPPOSED to build + serve “our email list” (i.e. you guys!) or else the ghost of a disappointed Jenna Kutcher would haunt us forever, we were just starting to feel uninspired.

Then, we had a mindset shift.

What if instead of writing the emails we felt like we should be sending, we wrote the kind of emails we would want to get?

Emails that people enjoyed reading… that felt helpful, personal, and interesting; that were different from everything else in your inbox; that didn’t seem like they were just holding space for a marketing pitch yet to come?


Now, in the interest of full disclosure, it’s understandable this thought didn’t come naturally to me because…


Strike that. Actually, there is absolutely no reasonable excuse I didn’t have this realization before… because, another fun fact: I’m actually a writer, not a designer, by training. I majored in journalism and I love to write. I’ve always loved to write. While I don’t write a lot of long-form articles anymore, I do write almost all of our TONIC marketing copy, social media captions, website copy, and even the placeholder text in our templates. I devour good writing — from great fiction (on audible, usually) to funny tweets to celebrity long-reads about pasta and romance. Writing is kinda my thing!

And yet here I was, passing up the opportunity to write something decent for thousands of people to read every week.

It makes no sense.

But you know what? Before you judge me, let me just turn this right around (classic defense mechanism):

Chances are, you’re passing the opportunity to write something decent for thousands of people to read every day.

That’s right. I’m talking about your website copy, your social media captions, your emails, and your marketing copy. The words you’re writing for hundreds and thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of people to read all the time. Because here’s the thing: in our cultural marketplace, as entrepreneurs and creatives, we’re ALL writers.

Whether we like it or not, we all have to craft copy just to go about our business, and today, I want to give you a few quick tips on making your writing better. Because whether you’re someone who loves to write, like me, or you’re just a girl, staring at a cursor, begging it to magically become… words…. trust me, it CAN be better.

Important: I’m writing these tips with image examples from THIS amazing article with copywriting hints in action, and THIS one on writing better landing page headlines. Both of which are must-reads. Immediately after reading them, I subscribed to their newsletter… hello, proof that good writing works.

Tip One: Read Everything Out Loud

This is my ultimate tip to improve your writing. Good copy has a tone of voice. Good writing sounds like a person wrote it… depending on your brand, a person with a sense of humor, emotional depth, a desire to help, a poetic style, or empathy and an ability to relate…. maybe even all of the above!

If your copy is missing that tone of voice (and just feels blah or boring!), chances are, it’s missing YOU. Empty words totally lack the ability to connect with a reader. They feel impersonal and bland.

The BEST way to fix that problem? Read your copy out loud. Yep, every word. When you read your writing out loud, you’re able to catch the words that fall flat, the sentences that don’t sound like you, and the parts that just got… boring. Rewrite as you go — the best writers are “tweakers” (not in the drugs way) who exchange one adjective for another and rework sentences over and over until they flow.

Remember, if you don’t really want to read it (aloud or otherwise), no one else will, either.

(I rewrote that sentence four times.)

I’m obsessed with the brand voices of Obedient Agency and Oatly. I love how KT Merry’s aspirational copy (written by another TONIC client, Ashlyn Carter‘s team) would totally resonate with her client, how Elana’s copy (written with TONIC client, Kaitlyn from Copy Uncorked) inspires and informs, and how Jenna’s voice sounds just like her.Heck, if you haven’t read it, we get compliments on our website copy a lot, too! Two other helpful tips from the article I mentioned above:

Tip Two: Tell a Good Story

People make time for stories. (I’m really busy and I’ve still watched half of Netflix.) People pay attention to stories. They remember stories, and they re-tell them. Stories stick. In fact, messages delivered as stories have been shown to be TWENTY TWO times as memorable as facts. If you took nothing away from my last email, I bet you maybe remember the part with my sister-in-law and the bagel?

So, how can you tell the STORY of the disappointments that led you to become a life coach, or the time you threw out literally everything in your pantry and became a home organizer, or the moment you truly realized your photography made a DIFFERENCE? The client who felt ____ after working with you, the trajectory of your career, or the moment it all changed? When you get stuck with your copy, ask yourself how you can turn it into a STORY. (Great example: our client Beth Kirby — using our Smokescreen design.)

Tip Three: Refine Your First Line

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how great your story (/email/about page/sales page/ social media caption) is if no one actually reads it. Which means the first line of anything you write is crucial — it’s either going to capture someone enough to make them read on or cause them to scroll right on past. People are busy. Most people don’t love to read. And here you are, with this one sentence asking them to take time out of their day to read something. It’d better be good.

Example: THIS is one of our top-performing Instagram posts ever. I’m guessing at least part of that is because the caption started with, “We’re here for the rebellion, and we brought the bourbon” instead of “The Instagram algorithm is so frustrating.” As this great article says, if they don’t read your first line, they won’t read your second one, either.

Image Credit

Addendum: when it comes to straight-up marketing copy, it’s better to be clear than clever. We’ve been guilty of this mixup with our TONIC brand *so* many times… focused so much on being “cute” with our copy and our cocktail puns that we lose site (er, “sight) of the fact that… um, we are not a bar, and it needs to be REAL clear that we sell website templates! This is so accurate:

Tip Four: Make It About Them

What’s in it for your reader? Why would someone take the time to read what you’ve written? Your copy either needs to be interesting, helpful, informative, thoughtful, fun to read, or a mix of all of the above. If your about page feels like everyone else’s, what’s something you could add to give it LIFE? What would add value for someone reading it, make them smile, or make them think? Remember, people don’t necessarily care unless you make them care… and they don’t care nearly as much about what you do as what you can do for them.

We love the book STORYBRAND, which helps you craft a brand story built around your customer, for this reason (examples in action here), and try to incorporate that framework into our template designs as much as possible!

I could go on and on and on (as you know!), but I’m going to call it for today before we get into the “REALLY long and weird” category and I further ignore that whole “brevity is the soul of wit” thing… (My complex sentences and I sincerely hope that’s not true.)

I hope these tips were helpful and would LOVE to hear if you have recommendations for other brands with great copy and brand voices we should be following!


P.S. Want to get the emails they were all talking about? Click here to hop on our TONIC VIP newsletter list!

Do not delte - Ryan
Do not delte - Ryan

Previous Post:

Next Post:

Ready for More?

Ready for a little TONIC in your inbox? We send occasional, moderately witty emails with exclusive deals, design tips, recent blog favorites, cocktail recipes, and more.

Friends Don't Let Friends Get Boring Emails


Get on the VIP List

featured post

The Best Showit Templates for Coaches

If you’re a business coach looking into getting a Showit website, you’re in the right spot. Here at Tonic Site Shop, we create beautiful Showit templates for coaches, photographers, and other creative professionals.

learn more

featured post

Why a Big-Name Designer Chose a TONIC Template Instead of Designing Her Website from Scratch

Meet Emmy - a skilled designer, inspiring educator, and imaginative creative whose talent and passion have led her to dream clients and brands. She’s passionate about “bringing visual life to the art of storytelling,” and this vision has truly come to life in her design work. And her work is STUNNING.

learn more

featured posts

She Almost Walked Away From Her Company. How a TONIC Template Turned Burnout Into Reignited Passion.

Elena is the brains (and beauty) behind Modern Market, a marketplace for creative entrepreneurs, providing content and resources that are ready to go for brands, so they can easily personalize it to their passion, purpose, and style and start connecting with their ideal clients right away. 

learn more

So, you need a website. Your current choices are: a ) a boring, big box template that does nothing to showcase your particular brand of awesome, and that you’d need to be some sort of code wizard to change, or b ) plunking down your life savings and your firstborn to hire a designer and a cranky developer, who will spend months and months of precious time cranking out something arguably “custom” you may or may not love in the end.

We’ve redefined the website template. And not only what it can be, but how it can look, what it can do, and what it can do for your brand.


Right? Nope. Enter option c ) Tonic Site Shop. Throw out everything you know about templates: these are cocktail-inspired, completely customizable websites designed for the kind of people that give a damn. Simply select your “cocktail,” download, customize anything −ANYTHING− you want, go live, grab the champagne and wait for the compliments ( and clients ) to roll in. They’re designer-made, and tailored just for you. Your old website is already jealous. 

What's Your Brand Cocktail?


take the quiz! (it only takes 60 seconds)

Find out the secret ingredients in your shaker, and what sets you apart from everyone else on the (top) shelf... Plus, get our specific strategies to ensure your ideal clients pick you off the menu every time.

what's your brand cocktail?

“If you know your website isn't as good as it SHOULD be and you're riding the struggle bus trying to figure out how everyone else seems to have gorgeous websites, buy a TONIC site. It's time you look just as good (if not better) than others in your industry and stand out in a way that's unique to you.”


- Jenna Kutcher

“If I could go back in time, I would purchase a Tonic site much earlier in my career. The high end feel of the template site combined with Jen and Jeff's creative direction and advice, instantly brought my work and brand to the next level. It allowed me to increase my prices and reach my dream client!”


- Annamarie Akins

“The creative geniuses behind Tonic Site Shop are the only people we trusted to help us build our brand, and you can trust their sites to build yours, too. 


 - Amy & Jordan Demos

“To think that something like this exists purely from the heart of helping small businesses fly and have access to this level of branding that was once reserved for only the most established and top of the top of the market…I just think this is going to change everything.”


- Mary Marantz

“If there is ONE thing in your business worth investing in (even more than your camera and lenses) it is your brand. TONIC is the only resource I recommend if you want to get it done right.” 


 - Ben Hartley

“Tonic is the PERFECT resource for anyone needing a quick and simple way to get an incredible, flawlessly designed website.”


- Hope Taylor

“Being able to create a creative, editorial, and professional website with TONIC has taken our brand to higher levels - more inquiries and bookings with our ideal clients! Cheers, indeed!”


 - Luke & Cat Neumeyer

“TONIC revolutionized my business, I never wanted to send people to my site before, then Jeff & Jen re-mixed my online presence, and wow, THEY ARE GOOD. They got to the core of my brand and built a hand-crafted site around it. Wouldn't want to work with anyone else."


- Joel Allegretto

“The idea that someone could take a gallery of their 50 best images, pair it with one of these incredible designs and have a brand and virtual storefront that will start going to WORK for them and allow them to hit the ground running by the weekend is mind-blowing. It’s game-changing.”


- Mary Marantz

“TONIC not only gave me a gorgeous, sleek (easy to use!) design that elevates my brand, but also regularly introduces me to new cocktails I've yet to try. Win, win!”


 - Abby Grace