How to create good copy for your website: part 2 – find your voice
How happy are you that the copy you currently have on your website reflects the real you?
Whether you are a solo professional or are involved in marketing a company, is your copy doing a good job of representing you or does it leave a little to be desired?
When I land on your website, do I get a good sense of who you are and what it would be like to work with you?
What would you say, on a scale of 1 to 10?
Many clients tell us that writing about themselves is the thing they struggle with the most.
They may have a strong sense of the impression they want to convey, but they can’t quite find the ‘right’ words. Some confess to spending hours writing and re-writing only to end up with something very similar to what they started with. Copy that they feel unable to publish. Lots of wasted time. Lots of frustration.
In this post I’m going to share a simple process to help you find your true voice.
This is for you if you want your website copy to mirror your personality (or your brand’s personality), start to build rapport with your audience and give them an experience consistent with all the other potential experiences of you – like meeting you (or a colleague) face-to-face.
Crucially, it’s for you if you want to avoid sounding like every other person or firm in your industry – especially those boring ones who hide behind their credentials and generic, bland content.
- If you are trying to re-engineer existing copy – refresh it, update it, achieve something quite different – start with a clean slate. If you try to edit old stuff, your brain will just get bogged down in the old words and you’ll tend to end up with a very similar result.
- Put your existing materials to one side, go back to basics and do your content planning. Have a clear vision of who you are ‘talking’ to – see them in your mind’s eye. Visualise a specific person – like your ideal client. Think about meeting that person for the first time.
- Now, here’s an interesting thing. A lot of people who say they find it hard to write about themselves, their company, and what they do, often go on to say something like “If only it was as easy as when I’m just talking with someone”. Well, guess what? It can be. Indeed, that is what we are aiming for here.
- I’m willing to bet that if you look at, say, your home page or your ‘About’ page, the things you have detailed there are not always the things you first talk about when meeting someone face-to-face for the first time. Think about it. What are they interested in? What do they ask you? How do you respond? What do you ask them? This is your first interaction. So you are doing your best to explain, show them that you understand them, their situation – how you can help.
- In addition, the language you use and the way you say things are also likely to be different. We tend to be more complex when we write than when we speak – even more formal. Read your copy out loud. If you would never say it like that, avoid writing it like that. Aim for a conversational tone – write as you would speak. That’s how we will know it’s you – your tone, your style.
- If you struggle to translate all that onto paper (or your laptop), one useful technique can be to literally speak it – record yourself, play it back, transcribe and then edit or polish it up. Recording is pretty straightforward – you probably have a device that records, like your mobile, or a Skype recorder or a programme like Audacity. And software like Express Scribe makes transcribing easy. They all have free versions to download.
- If it all gets a bit much doing it all on your own, find someone to work with. Do some role play with a colleague, or networking contact. Get them to ask you questions to get things rolling and then ask them to read over your copy – and ideally test it out on some trusted clients … the sort of people who will be reading it for real once it’s published.
- Finally, a little professional help can go a long way. Most good copywriters offer more than just full blown origination. You could invest in some writing coaching, or professional editing – or a blend of both and ask for just one or two key pages to be professionally written.
Remember that people are coming to your website to solve a problem. And they’re looking for real live people who can help them. They are looking to start a business relationship with someone … and they want to find out if it could be you.
Your task is to do as good a job on your website as you would do in person. Make sure your written words do you justice.
Previously in this series: How to create good copy for your website: part 1 – plan it
Next: How to create good copy for your website: part 3 – write it
Photo credit: © Rhardholt | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images