Dancer Chit-Chat: How to Write Ad Copy in Your Own Voice

While most of my blog focuses on all things wedding entertainment and belly dance in Orlando, I have plenty of belly dancers who follow my blog, too. On that note, you can expect to see more blog posts geared toward my dear fans in Sparkle Land.

Today, we’ll focus on a subject that brings out my inner geek like none other: copy writing. As most of my fans know, I write all of my own ad copy and actually quite enjoy doing it! Of course, I also know that this comes easily when you have an English degree and come from a marketing communications background like I do. But writing clear, compelling ad copy really doesn’t have to be hard – and can actually be enjoyable! – if you do it in your own voice.

Sadly, for many belly dancers, it’s easier to express their artistic vision through dance than it is through words. The end result? I see dozens of dancer websites with breathtaking photos, gorgeous design – and the same exact rehash of everyone else’s FAQ’s and show descriptions. Or worse, the slim-shady stuff – like outright theft. (Oh yes, we will touch on plagiarism later!)

Why Bother With Uniqueness?

You want your ideal customers to find you, right? You want people to land on your website and KNOW that you’re the dancer they will book for their wedding, or take classes with, correct? It pays (literally! $$$$!) to be unique. So for the love of carbs, people! Write unique copy that is totally YOU.

On the flip side, what happens when all belly dance websites in one region read exactly the same? This makes it difficult for the average customer to distinguish who’s who, and what each of you has to offer, and pushes you all into “commodity mode.” In other words, instead of choosing the dancer whose professionalism and style might be best suited to their needs, the customer is free to make decisions based on those two pesky factors we love the most – appearance and price.

16 Easy Questions to Help You Tell Your Story

Are you ready for the fun part? Here’s a writing exercise to help you get “unstuck.” For the best results, close the door, eliminate all distractions (kids, pets, husband, phone, etc.), and set a timer for 60 minutes. Don’t overthink these questions – simply write as if you’re having a conversation with a good friend. No self-judgment or nitpicking allowed. You can go back and edit or change your answers later. Ready? Go!

  1. 1. Describe your dance business in 8 words or less.
  2. 2. How long have you been dancing, and what compelled you to take your first class? What specifically made you fall in love with belly dance?
  3. 3. Write a one or two sentence blurb describing your very first public performance and how it made you feel.
  4. 4. What are some of the good things your dance colleagues would say about you? What are some of the bad things your competitors might say about you?
  5. 5. Who are your clients and what are their needs? How do you help them fulfill their needs?
  6. 6. What are 5 words people constantly use to describe your dancing?
  7. 7. What aspect of your dance career excites you the most? Which aspect excites you the least?
  8. 8. What type of client shouldn’t hire you?
  9. 9. Tell me about your biggest inspirations. Think outside the box: they don’t necessarily have to be dancers, or even people.
  10. 10. What types of teaching and/or performing gigs feel most rewarding to you, and why?
  11. 11. What was your coolest gig moment?
  12. 12. What was your weirdest or funniest gig moment?
  13. 13. Have you won any awards?
  14. 14. Do you do any sort of charity or philanthropic work with your dancing?
  15. 15. If I weren’t dancing, I would be doing ________________.
  16. 16. What advice would you give a student or an up-and-comer in the field?

Putting it All Together:

So you’ve given some thought to your audience and your brand, and you’ve completed the questionnaire. Now what? Pull out the juicy bits and pieces and weave them into a narrative that feels clear, natural and readable. I can’t tell you how to do this, because your answer should be totally different from mine, your teacher’s, your dance partner’s, etc. etc. And while the “industry standard” bio, show descriptions and FAQ formats aren’t going away, think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to add YOUR personality and even your quirks into your writing!

“Plagiarism is Bad, Mmm’kay?”

Are you tempted to bypass all this soul-searching and just steal somebody else’s Booking page or FAQ’s word-for-word or maybe with a subtle tweak of 1 or 2 words? DON’T do it. Not only is plagiarism illegal, and not only can it get you blackballed from the community and even booted from Google, but it’s just plain dumb. And you’ll eventually get caught. This week alone, I was tipped off to 3 other dancers on the West Coast who had lifted various distinctive parts of my Booking, Weddings and FAQ pages word-for-word. Imitation may be flattery, but if you really want to flatter a good writer, ask them for help! I am always happy to help with simple editing and revisions, or to talk pricing for a complete ad copy makeover. For more thoughts on the subject, check out my good friend Sacramento Belly Dancer Nyla Crystal’s blog: How to Behave Like a Professional Belly Dancer: Plagiarism.

About Carrara: Carrara is an Orlando-based belly dancer offering custom entertainment for weddings and glamorous events. To learn more, check out her Booking or Weddings page, or follow her on Facebook.

Orlando belly dancer, Carrara Nour
Carrara Nour, Belly Dancer in Orlando

Comments · 4

  1. You give some really great ideas on writing your own website copy. Writing can seem to be a difficult thing to do, but taking little steps makes it much easier. When all else fails, consider hiring a copy writer. Stealing other dancer’s writing is NEVER okay and it is a big deal. I can’t tell you how many belly dancer websites I see all with the exact same text (mostly stolen from Carrara). There is no excuse for it!

  2. Thanks, Nyla! And YES to everything you said. If finances don’t come easily to you, you hire an accountant. Similarly, if you’re not great at writing, a professional copy writer can be a great investment. Or if you can’t swing that, barter with one of your students, if you have a student who writes well! And yes, people do tend to like my Booking page. LOL. I really don’t mind if someone borrows from the overall format and tailors it to how they do their shows and what type of shows they specialize in. (Nyla and I actually “borrow” from each other all the time, but a great deal of our online friendship developed over mutual brainstorming!) But it is a little bit creepy to see so many clones of my work out there. Come on. Unless you’re a petite, blue-eyed Yankee transplant in Orlando who loves weddings, hates 95% of restaurant work, doesn’t teach classes, serves my exact same clientele, performs pan-Arabic improvisational style, enjoys long walks on the beach with pugs, yadda yadda yadda….your marketing materials really shouldn’t look much like mine :-P

    Thank you for your feedback as always!

  3. You give some really great ideas in authorship your website copy. Writing can appear to generally be a difficult thing to do, however taking little methods may seem to make it a lot easier. Whenever every one of the else fails, think about contracting a copy writer. Taking other performers authorship is NEVER okay as well as it is a big deal. I cannot tell you exactly how many stomach dancer websites I see all with the precise exact same text (mostly stolen from Carrara). Online is no reason because of it!

  4. Thanks for your comment! If anything, it’s just plain disappointing to see artists steal from other artists. We’re in the industry of creative ideas, and ripping off another artist’s ad copy or branding shows a lack of creativity. A lot of belly dancers draw inspiration from my website because I was among the first to include clear show descriptions and a thorough FAQ page. I’m cool with inspiration and sharing. Waking up and seeing your exact same text on another dancer’s site is beyond disconcerting – even more so, if the dancer is local.

    Hiring a copy writer can be a great investment if you’re not great at writing. If a dancer can spend $800 on a new costume every couple of weeks, then a copy writer is a relatively small investment!

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