How to use VoC to create outlines with Hannah Shamji

Presented live on Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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In this live Tutorial, CH Agency’s Head of Research, Hannah Shamji is going to show you exactly how to use VoC to create outlines that their conversion copywriters easily transform into copy customers can see themselves in.

Wanna see how to drop voice-of-customer data into an outline that then becomes the world’s easiest copy to stitch together? Check out the full tutorial below. And, be sure to check out Hannah’s VoC template right here.


Joanna: So, Hannah’s in to talk to us today about outlining, and how to use voice accustomed for data to actually outline a page that then turns into copy, without just pulling ideas from voice of customer and then going your own way anyway. So, we’re going to walk through that today in our max 20 tutorial.

Joanna: Hannah is about to share her screen with us. What are you going to share with us today, Hannah?

Hannah: I’m going to share a really cool deck.

Joanna: Cool.

Hannah: Also, FYI, this morning in a meeting with you, I saw your cat jump behind you, and I didn’t realize it was your cat, and I was going to be like, “Oh my God, watch out!” Then [inaudible 00:00:51]

Joanna: Just a day in the life. This is just life of a cat.

Hannah: You know it.

Joanna: Yep.

Hannah: Can everybody see my screen?

Joanna: We can.

Hannah: Cool, cool. So, oh, I’m making sure my mouse is … just kidding. Population quiz too early. Okay.

Hannah: All right, so, we’re going to chat today about how to outline a killer page using only voice of customer data and frameworks, which means, you are not writing yet. At this point, you’re only pulling in data. So, writing hat down, research hat on.

Hannah: All right, pop quiz. What is more important than collecting voice of customer data? Is it picking the right copywriting framework? Collecting enough voice of customer data? Or, making sure your voice of customer data stays in the copy?

Joanna: Okay, we’re getting lots of C’s. Some B’s and C’s. One, Kate says all of the above, so does Kim.

Hannah: Okay.

Joanna: B’s, A’s, some all’s again, C, C, B. Wow. Not a lot of A love. Not a lot-

Hannah: Yeah.

Joanna: Okay.

Hannah: Okay. So, the winner is C. All you C folks, good job. Doesn’t mean A and B aren’t important, but if you’re going to collect voice of customer data, if you’re going to do the research, not making sure that research stays in your copy is kind of pointless. If it doesn’t translate on the page, why collect it?

Hannah: On the page meaning, it doesn’t necessarily pull the exact quote and plop it on the page, it means making sure that every aspect of your page, every aspect of that outline is imbued with voice of customer data. It is driven by the research.

Joanna: Yes

Hannah: So, this is a familiar process for most folks, right? We get the data, whether it is interview transcripts, or surveys, review mining, we organize that data, we have an awesome tutorial from Mickey on that Tutorial Tuesday, and then we use that data to write copy that converts.

Hannah: But if you’ve been in the process of organizing and writing, you know that it’s really not that linear or that direct. It kind of looks more like this, tons of little baby steps in between, which is exactly what we’re going to talk about today.

Hannah: So, introducing the agency’s VoC four step. Yank, group, pop, sweep. No, that is not a dance move, if you try it-

Joanna: It will be, though.

Hannah: It might just be. If you try it, please … we should do this as a hashtag or something creative.

Joanna: Oh, sweet. Or do a thing where we ask people to make up the dance for it, and then get something. I want to see it.

Hannah: I feel like it’s going to look somewhat like a YMCA type, or maybe there’s more creative folks, who even knows.

Joanna: Yank, group, pop, sweep. Oh, we got to do one. This is dumb, okay, moving on.

Hannah: [inaudible 00:04:15]. So, each of these steps we’re going to walk through, going to give you more specifics besides yank, or sweep, and we’re going to spell out what the heck this actually means.

Hannah: So, step one: yank. The most important voice of customer data. You know what? I’m kind of winging it, because my chat is covering … I’m winging-

Joanna: Ah, I know. Seems the worst for that.

Hannah: So I just got to move my chat real quick. All right.

Hannah: The most … Yanking, the most useful voice of customer data out of your research files. All right, so, don’t yank without purpose. Rule number one, know where you’re yanking to. Can I say yank one more time?

Joanna: I think you should.

Hannah: Know where you’re yanking to. Which means, in layman terms, you’ve got all of this data on the left, survey results, interview transcripts, product reviews, whatever it is, where are you pulling it to? Maybe it’s in a spreadsheet, which is cool, great, really helpful. But, are you going to write in the spreadsheet? Sometimes, if you’re like me, but probably you really shouldn’t.

Hannah: So where are you taking it? Where are you taking it so that it can sit in front of you as you’re writing it … as you’re writing that email or that sales page? Is it in a Google doc? Are you shifting from one Google doc to another? If you don’t know, just take this template. This is exactly what we use. It is filled with the anchors that you need to drive whatever copy you’re writing. By that, I mean … oh, just kidding. [inaudible 00:06:05] information in here.

Hannah: Rule of one sitting at the top. This might sound like a small, simple thing to have at the top of your page, but when you’re knee-deep, neck-deep in research, you need these anchors, you need to know how you’re looking at the data, what your ultimate goal is, what is the value trope you’re trying anchor all the data towards? That’s such a critical piece.

Hannah: So, don’t create this yourself, grab the template, and use this to start sorting all of your research.

Hannah: Oh, another one. Okay.

Joanna: Sometimes animation’s go wrong, it’s fine.

Hannah: The point of yanking, ultimately, is to start grouping. Now grouping, if you have done research, is essentially what research is, is taking these giant wads of research, and bucketing it out into smaller chunks, so that you can make use of it.

Hannah: Which brings us to step two: group-like quotes, and pull them into themes and arguments. So, this is where you’re starting to kind of wear your copywriter hat, you’re starting to shape and formulate, and kind of layer up and latter up that page or that email.

Hannah: In other words, you want to parse out your voice of customer data into smaller buckets. Now what exactly does this look like? It looks kind of like this. I grabbed this from a spreadsheet, and the top of that column said objections, and here are all my objections.

Hannah: Now, if you’ve done research, you have that really good feeling that, “Oh, I have so many objections, I have all the things I need to talk about.” Then you actually look at this list, and it’s ginormous and kind of overwhelming, and you need to find things, pull out redundancies, find out where that really sticky copy is that you can grab and slip into the right part of the page.

Hannah: So, step one in that process is this, batch out your voice of customer data, group it into smaller sections. Again, probably an annoying piece, but really, really, critical, because the more that you do this, the more you parse and pass through your voice of customer data, the more you start to spot nuance that you didn’t before, right? Because at this point, you have gone through the data at least two, hopefully three times. One, to collect it, two, to pop it into the right parts on that spreadsheet from that Nicky Tutorial Tuesday, and three, now to breakout into smaller chunks.

Hannah: So, you’re identifying more nuance than you would before, which means a sentence that kind of looked like just an objection, when you look a little deeper, now looks like, “Oh, well, when they say but, they’re actually kind of spelling out a really cool benefit.” You’re going to miss that if you don’t parse through your data.

Hannah: Okay, we’re having another little malfunction here, sorry folks. I’m going to close the chat, so I can actually see what I’m doing here.

Hannah: Okay, so, instead of a giant list of quotes underneath objections, or benefits, and then listing all the benefits, what are the specifics? Start to group things together, pair them up, and really kind of identify those common themes.

Hannah: Which brings us to step three: pop. Pop your VoC buckets into a framework. If you didn’t see Jo’s jazz hands, you need to check out that recording, because they were so relevant.

Joanna: Oh, super good.

Hannah: So, you’ve got your VoC buckets here, and now what do you do? How do you find that right framework? So, what copywriting framework should you choose? Pop quiz. Problem, agitation, solution? Or, it depends? Or, AIDA? What do folks think?

Joanna: Some are saying they almost always go with A, but we’re getting just a ridiculous number of B’s. Basically everyone’s saying B, because we’re all [inaudible 00:10:22] in the room, so it always depends.

Hannah: Love it. It always depends. We all have our bias, sure, we like, and maybe opt to … or default to one framework over another, but it always depends. The thing it depends on the most is your voice of customer data. So, what do I mean by that?

Hannah: When you’re looking at your data, when you’re parsing through it, building these VoC buckets, you want to ask yourself two things. One, what’s most common? And two, what stands out? Now, what’s most common is basically looking at what bucket has the most VoC. What’s the most common themes? What’s the majority saying? Is it this pain point or that pain point? You’re just looking for the majority. Because what the customer talks about more often is determining importance, right?

Hannah: So if you’ve got something said once, you’re probably less likely to prioritize that, versus if something is said 10 times. But what stands out is kind of your copywriter hat. This is where you notice your own curiosity, there’s a nuance or a theme, or a way of phrasing something that maybe even one customer or user said. Maybe even your client said, but you can’t shake it.

Hannah: That’s something that’s standing out, which means it’s going to tell you a bit of a priority here. Should you lead the page with a problem? Should you lead it with a tension? Or another framework altogether? So look for what’s standing out, and what’s most common, and have that determine which framework you use.

Hannah: I literally will grab the copy hackers every writing formula, and have that on one side of the screen, have my VoC buckets on the other, and kind of see where that fit it, right? So you really want to use what’s most common, what stands out.

Hannah: Once you pop your VoC buckets into the framework, an outline is born, guys. We have birth of an outline, which is crazy, because you haven’t done any writing yet, right? So that … There’s a huge relief that the foundation of your page is not on you, it’s on this research and driving the research to inform your copy.

Hannah: So, I’m going to cheekily fast forward through the copywriting process, because there are ample Tutorial Tuesdays that will help you with this exact thing. But once you get to that really sweet stage of final copy, there’s one more step to make sure that you actually have taken all of that hard work research and kept it in your copy. Because somewhere between research and writing, VoC kind of just falls out.

Hannah: I have this image in my head of you’re holding a whole bunch of files, and you’re rushing to one place, and then all of the files just kind of fall out. It happens. You put your writer brain on, you’re trying to kind of shift words around and really hone a particular point, and the voice of the customer somewhat dilutes and disappears. That’s the exact opposite of what we want. The process is fine, but you need to tag this onto the end to make sure you’re speaking to your right customer.

Hannah: So … oh, we’ve got some animation funks again.

Hannah: All right, so, here’s what I do. This, on the left, is the template that you can get at that link below, on the right is the actual copy. You want to keep these literally side by side, this should be your screen. All you want to do is add in comments on the right. This is how you separate the editor brain from the writer brain. You don’t insert copy into the page, you insert VoC data, suggestions, nuances, based on what you’re seeing on the left into the right.

Hannah: So, I’ll look at the problem, and I know that the problem’s sitting at the top of the page. So, that VoC data I have under A, B, C, is it reflected in the problem on the right hand side in the actual copy? Same thing for agitation, same thing for solution, right? You’ve identified the outline, so you need to make sure it mirrors that in that voice of customer.

Hannah: Now, how do you know where to add in voice of customer data? Look for really vague words, things that are kind of general, that don’t identify any difference between you talking about a service, or a bad day, or a product, or an experience. These are very, very, general, and you want the nuance that your customer can give you. So replace general speak with specifics. Instead of hard, maybe they’re calling a product clunky, or instead of, “I’m super busy,” it’s, “I barely have 15 minutes between meetings.”

Hannah: Suddenly you start to build out a picture, a detail there that your customer can resonate with, that separates this product from any other product on the market, and that’s exactly what you want.

Hannah: So, one more thing on top of this four step. Customer rarely talk features. It might speak to them at a high level, but they rarely spell out features, because it’s just not their job to know. So make sure your copy still does that, which means when you are on this template, and you’re going through the solution, one of the best ways to do that is list solution number one, benefit feature. Spell out those features and pair them with your solutions, because then you can kind of slot what the customer’s talking about underneath each of those features, and make sure you hit all of those points.

Hannah: I’m going to leave it here with the dance step. That’s it, guys.

Joanna: You need to do the dance that goes with this now. I’ve done my attempt.

Hannah: Okay, let’s see. Yank, group, pop, sweep. I mean, my pop was also quite awkward.

Joanna: I loved all of it. I loved everything, that’s wicked. Everybody could take that and make sure you’re doing it. Yank, group, pop, sweep. I love it.

Joanna: Okay, fantastic. We have so many people saying such great things, that’s amazing. That wraps up our tutorial for this week. We have [inaudible 00:16:48] in next week.

Joanna: Thank you, Hannah, for that wicked tutorial and the template that goes with it. We’ve also chatted up some other links to other things you can find to supplement your VoC process. Carey, thanks for answering everyone’s questions, and thanks everybody for your great chat and interaction today. We’ll see you on our next Tutorial Tuesday.

Joanna: Bye everyone.

Hannah: Bye.

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