I was feeling a little down the other day, so I did something I shouldn’t. I asked one of my clients why they had hired me.
I was pretty sure I knew the answer and that it would make me feel good. Surely they had hired me for my knowledge, my wit, my personal charm? Even perhaps for my ability to turn a nice phrase? It was none of those things.
My client revealed that she hired me because I could think of topics to write about related to her business. She couldn’t.
Like everyone else, I have days when I stare at the computer screen devoid of any idea how to proceed. As I earn money from this I can’t let it stop me, so my ‘secret’ if you like, is just to start typing. I type out the first thing that comes into my head. Sometimes it’s useful, sometimes not. If there truly is nothing in my head, I type out the first lines of the Walrus and the Carpenter; ‘The sun was shining on the sea, shining with all its might‘. About that point something usually turns up.
There are some subjects which are more difficult than others, but generally one simple formula will get you started in writing articles for any particular business.
Think of the last three (or five) queries you had from your customers. Discard stuff like ‘how much does it cost’ and find out what it is they think it’s important to know. Make the question your title and in the first paragraph state the answer, as briefly as possible. Then write a paragraph which elaborates on your answer. When you start with a question a real customer really asked you know you’re in the ideal space, you’re looking at things from the customer’s point of view. The answer is something potential customers will be interested in.
If that approach doesn’t work for you how about looking at your product or service from the customers points of view?
What problem does your product solve for them? Write a paragraph about the problem and about a customer who had it. Then describe how your product solved the problem and what the result was.
If your product is a blender think why your customers have bought a blender. It’s most probably to do with health. A blender is a small kitchen appliance and most of these are bought by women. A woman’s chief concern is not usually her own health, but her childrens, so don’t write an article about how great blenders are, write a an article about customer X whose children wouldn’t eat their fruit and veg, till customer X bought a blender and created smoothies for them. Kids eat smoothies, kids now get their fruit and veg.
It’s important to understand the typical customer for your product. For example if the product above had been a juicer, most of these are bought by men whose main interest is their own personal fitness. A different article altogether.
The most important aspect of your writing is to turn all the features of your product or service into benefits to your customer. Then you’ll have given them a compelling reason to buy.
Everyone realises the importance of having an attractive home/front page for their website and we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, so surely website graphics are the most important part of the page?
I’m always surprised by the number of people who believe that words are superfluous on the home page of a web site, and I’m infuriated by the graphic designer/webmasters who insist in total control of the page design to the point where the entire page IS a graphic, no real words at all.
Is this just sour grapes? Am I just peeved because the copywriter is regarded as second rate? No.
Consider what your website is for. If it’s a showcase for your graphic talents, well maybe.
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