Thursday, 18 August 2016

Is your business writing healthy? You may need help.

Have you stopped to think about all the written content you have out there? You might not realise how important it is. Not because you don't care, of course you do, but simply because you haven't stopped to think about it. Below is a list of copywriting moments for you. Think of it like a copywriting "health checklist" for you and your business.

1. Your website.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. A lot of thought needs to go into the copy on your website. It's not enough to have a rudimentary explanation of your service, or a bland product description. You need to ensure that visitors understand how they can benefit from your product or service. What part of their life or business needs help, needs fixing? How does your offer fit into their story? Are you making it easy for them to understand you and see why they need you?

2. Your blog.

The centerpiece. The point of departure; the point of arrival. Your blog is where your story takes shape, and where people come to understand you. They visit your blog to learn. They will come to respect you and follow you. You bring people into your tribe through your blog, and all the other social media should hang from this fruitful tree. The better the writing, the more likely it is that people will stay, and, crucially, the more likely it is that they'll actually understand you. You need to be absolutely sure that what you write really says what you mean. That's where good grammar, punctuation, and spelling is critical; as is a good helping of rhetorical skill.

3. Business copy.

All of it: your brochures, your company reports, your letters. They must read well. Your marketing materials need to be catchy and informative. If not, they simply will not do their job. Selling is a dirty word these days, but selling is what you do. It doesn't have to be like bad daytime TV though. Well-worded copy has a magical ability to persuade without annoying the crap out of people.

4. Editorial content.

Many businesses (and people) write articles and other content for magazines and other publications (both in print and online). Well, they should, that is. Getting your words under somebody else's masthead lends credibility and prestige to your name. It builds your reputation as an expert in your field. Again, those words will need to be well crafted. In fact, you probably won't get published if they're not.

I'm not kidding about the importance of doing all this, and doing it well. Perhaps the only thing worse than not getting your message out there is hashing that message so badly that people actually think you're talking about something else (or worse still, they have no idea what you're talking about at all).

Here's some ideas for working all of the above into a STRATEGY. (Yes, you need one.)

 A. Think about what your business really is. Where do you fit into the life of your customer? How will you change their lives? Or, better, how will understanding your customers change you?

B. Get advice. Find a writer who can look at all the aspects of your written content, talk with you and your team, understand you and your business. Then let them at it for a while. You'll see improvements from day one.

C. Get help on any of the above. Don't have time to write a blog? Get it written for you. Why not put out a regular newsletter? Include your market commentary, talk about local events. Send it to your client list. Send it to your leads. Do it regularly. A good writer will even be able to suggest topics and ideas, making it easy for you to get good content out there regularly.

The internet age has reinforced the importance of writing. Google seeks out good writing and grammar in their search. It's more important than ever. Do it well, and do seek help if you need it.

It's also a lot of fun to tell stories. Make yours great.

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