HOW TO MAKE YOUR WEBSITE RESONATE WITH CLIENTS: PLEASE YOURSELF
By Tim Thompson, Commtractor and freelance copywriter. Find out more about him here.
When I tell someone I’m a copywriter, I usually get one of two kinds of responses:
1. Uncertain of what it means, followed by interest when I explain it to them.
2. Know what it means and are dubious of its worth.
Funnily enough, I prefer the second response – it reinforces what I do (or what I don’t do).
I work mainly as a content writer, rewording (and reworking) websites for SMEs (with most being in the S category). I always work with the person who established the business or plays a significant role in its day to day running. For me, it’s important to establish a rapport with a key individual; it enables me to capture the essence of the business – not what the business does, but why the business exists. It’s an important differential.
When I begin working with a client, I arrange a number of face to face meetings (depending on the scope of the work). I take messy notes, and don’t capture everything that’s said… actually, I don’t want to capture everything that’s said – it’s the off-the-cuff remarks, the throw away comments, the things a business owner would never write down (in a brief) that I make sure I write down. This is where the passion lies; the reason for opening their doors… the why.
Failing to find the why means failing to express the uniqueness of a business.
It’s why I get (and understand) the second response – these people feel their website content is too complicated or contrived or just not them. Often, they’re a victim of their own inability to see the wood from the trees – they know their business so well they find it hard to omit detail. And they get lost in the ‘what’.
I tend to override all of that by capturing the personality of the business owner within the content. This creates incongruities in the copy which, far from diluting or detracting from the key messages, enhance and embolden them. It creates a unique point of difference – the reader gets a true indication of what lies beneath the brand (not just generic marketing spin).
As much as the copy should resonate with its intended audience, it also should also resonate with the people who work in the business. In this type of communication, it’s a matter of pleasing yourself before you try to please potential clients.