There are a lot of us writers out there that you can hire to write your website or collateral copy. Generally, we are awesome at what we do and will give you better results than you expected. Heck, some of us may even give you new ideas for your business that you just wouldn’t have come up with on your own. However, if you are just starting your business and either don’t want a writer or just can’t afford one at the moment, here are a few free tips to help you along.
1. Don’t Cut and Paste
What works in a brochure will not work on a website and vice versa. Despite the plethora of internet marketers who insist on that bastion of hellish evil called a “landing page”, you don’t want your website to be an endless string of sales jargon. You want to save the hyperbole and distill it all into a “call to action” rather than spending pages of valuable web space on stuff that will make your users click off faster than you ran after your best friend’s mother when you were 16. However, that shit skates in brochures. Don’t ask me why – I have simply been told this by learned people who are wiser than I in the ways of the marketing. Yes, the same stuff that irritates and insults web users keeps a brochure reader rapt with attention. The important thing for you to note is that the two mediums deserve two unique styles and while there is more to it than this, this will at least get you started.
2. Grammar and Spelling Matter
I was recently sitting in a lobby waiting for a job interview when I noticed that a very prominent sign which boasted only a couple of short sentences commited at least three grammar and spelling sins. Now kids, if you are going to go to the trouble of putting a sign in your lobby, it should have the Queen’s English on it and not the ramblings of a person who grammar has forgot. Most word processing programs have a grammar and spell checker. Turn both on and make sure that you don’t just hit “ignore” when the wavy little lines pop up. Assume that the software knows better than you do and make changes until the little wavy lines go away.
Why are you bothering to do this? Professionalism. No matter how little your company has to do with writing, the media or other related industries, poor writing makes your company look unprofessional. You shouldn’t let anything get out to your consumers that makes you look anything less than completely polished. Hiring a professional writer will help you fulfill this goal, but until you can get there just try to make sure of it on your own.
3. Keep it Interesting
While you may be simply amazed by the engineering behind your product, don’t be surprised if nobody else is. Most people just want to know that your product is going to do something desirable for them. If you can convince them that it will, you will sell it. Extolling the virtues of the technology behind the product will only work on a certain segment of the population, usually those who idolized Mr. Scott as a kid. Engineers, I am totally talking to you. The rest of the world just couldn’t give a flying shit that your springs are chromium-emblazoned with the image of the Christ Child and this is how you can teleport chocolate directly into the mouths of hungry children of the Earth. They just want the goddamned chocolate.
They also like cute stories and humour. Injecting both into your marketing materials will keep the attention of your shoppers and earn their loyalty.
That’s all I’ve got for now. If anyone out there can think of any other tips that you would care to share with the people that will hire you and me in the future, feel free to post them in the comments.