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How to get over that blank page syndrome

This week I decided to do something different. 

To make it my mission to instill a smidge more copy-confidence in those around me. 

I know that writing for your business (or a client’s) can sometimes seem like a mammoth chore.

Mainly because you don’t know where to start. 

Whether it’s making quick copy changes on a website, knocking out a Facebook ad and landing page. Or crafting an email sequence – you can’t have a copywriter following your around allllll the time. 

You need to know the basics. Enough to feel confident that your copy nails it and proud of what you write. 

So why does blank page syndrome happen to good people? 

We start our journey before the beginning. Before you start writing. When it’s just you, a matcha latte and a blank screen. That can be a lonely place. 

Someone wise once said “writer’s block just means you haven’t done enough research”, and they were right. Fill your blank screen with research. Don’t even worry about the writing part yet.

When I start a copywriting project I spent hours (sometimes days) on research. That means when I come to write, I have everything I need to say right there. I just need to put it into an order. 

The three things you need to know before you start writing.

I know you don’t often have hours at your disposal to deep-dive into the research. Luckily there are three things you can ask yourself about the person you’re writing for that’ll do the trick. 

If you don’t know the answers to these questions you can:

  • Ask existing customers
  • Ask in Facebook groups that your customers will be on
  • Do some voice of customer research 

Always imagine you’re writing for one person (hi Tania 👋 ), it’ll make your copy much more focused.

1. What occupies your client’s shower thoughts? 

Knowing what they worry about. What gets stuck in their head like Baby Shark. What keeps them up at night. Will help you write about how you solve their problem in your copy. 

And look, their shower thoughts might not be directly about your service, but it’ll be related. For example I know my clients think why is my website not bringing in more customers? Or is the $$$$ I just dropped on Facebook ads worth the money? 

Pick one problem per piece of writing and start with it.  

Why? People want to avoid pain, much more than they want to gain a benefit. If you start your copy with a problem your reader can identify with, you’ll hook them in and from there, they’ll keep reading. 

There you go. You’ve found a place to start. No more blank page. Cancel that 5th matcha latte.

2. Why might they say no? 

Make a list of all the reasons your ideal customer might say no to doing business with you. 

Try to go deeper than just ‘no money’. There’s a reason they are prioritising other things over spending their money with you. Is it that they don’t know if they can trust you yet? Are they weighing up their options at the moment?

Knowing their objections is great for two reasons. 

  1. People hate making decisions that might cause them pain (no matter how small), remember our point from before? People are hard-wired to avoid pain and displeasure at all costs. 

So the bad news is, as they read through your copy they are looking for a reason to say no. Because if they find a reason to say no, they don’t have to make a decision that might cause them pain. Phew.

The good news is, knowing what their objections might be, means you weave them into your copy and counteract with sweet words to quell their concerns. 

Example “Are you weighing up your options right now? Great, here is what makes me different from the rest…”. Wondering if I’ve got the know-how to get the job done? Check out this award I won, or what this client said about working with me…”

If you reflect what’s in their head in your words, they’ll have no reasons left to say no. 

2. The other reason for knowing the customer’s objections is you can create great content from it! Blog posts, social posts, downloads from your website. It’s all great content marketing.

3. What’s a small win for them? 

Sometimes we get caught up in the big picture. The transformation we can offer. How we can change the customer’s wealth, health, hairline. And yes that will motivate them. But there’s a place in copy for small picture thinking too. 

We can call this the ‘minimal viable win’. Forget the confetti cannon, this is the party popper. But it’s just as exciting. What’s the small win they’ll get after clicking the button? 

Is it a feeling of smug satisfaction that they’ve ticked something off the to-do list? Or that they can tell their partner at dinner, guess what, I got the ball rolling today?

We find it hard to emotionally engage with things that’ll happen over 90 days in the future, so psychologically, talking about the small, immediate wins makes a stronger emotional connection. 

Put this minimal viable win near the button at the end of your copy, so they can imagine themselves in that place in less than 24 hours. 

So let’s recap. Before you start writing, do your research to find out:

  1. What occupies their shower thoughts? Pick one and start your copy with this problem 
  2. Why might they say no? Weave through a few possible objections and how you counteract them 
  3. What’s a small win? Put it at the end, near your call to action. 

And hey presto – you’ve got yourself the structure of a piece of copy that you can confidently put out into the world. Not a copywriter in sight. 


Elena Connolly is a Business Chicks Premium member and the copywriting and brand messaging guru at 23 Wise Words. Catch her on Instagram Live every Tuesday @ 2pm AEDT where she covers everything from website copy, to social ads, SEO and email marketing. If you want to delve deeper in your target customer and brand story drop her a line.

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