I know what you’re thinking. Of course you’d say that, Danielle, you’re a copywriter. Yes, it’s true. This post may smack of self-interest, but hear me out. There’s a reason I make my living writing content for other people.
1) You Can’t Be Objective
You live and breathe your brand. Maybe you built it from the ground up. Maybe you’ve worked on it for years. Either way, you know it inside and out. And that’s exactly the problem. When you write about your brand, you write about it as if you’re talking to someone who already gets it. Someone like you, or your co-workers or your employees. And while you may think you’re writing for your audience, it’s almost impossible to separate yourself, to put yourself in their shoes. They don’t know anything about your brand. And if they do, it’s not much. You need to talk to them as if they’ve stumbled upon your site and you have 10 seconds to clearly explain EXACTLY what you do and what you offer. No acronyms. No jargon. No inside lingo.
When you hire an outside writer, they’re essentially that audience. They know little to nothing of who you are and what you do. So they will come at your content from the perspective of making it clear for them, and therefore making it clear for your intended target. As cliché as it is, seeing the forest for the trees is the downfall of most businesses who try to write about themselves. An outsider has complete objectivity. I always tell my clients, if I don’t understand what you do from your materials, I guarantee you no one else does either.
2) Everyone Can Write, But Not Everyone Should
“I’m a pretty good writer.” “I enjoy writing.” “I think I do a pretty good job writing about my business.” If I had a dollar for every time a client told me this, I’d be living on my own private island. The problem here is simple: we all learn how to write. We all know how to write. But that doesn’t mean we should. There’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and being really good at it. For example, you might say, I know how to ice skate. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to attempt to try out for the Olympics in speed skating. And while I may not be the equivalent of an Olympic athlete in content creation, it’s my profession. I have spent years training for it. Honing my craft. Improving. Waking up day after day trying to get better. Trying to get to the next level. Making myself excel. My only focus is writing. So while you may be an ok writer, you have spent years building your business. Focusing your energy on other things. So don’t you want to bring in the best to make your business sound as great as you’ve built it up to be?
3) Writing for the Web is Not Like Writing in College (or High School)
Writing has come a long way since Freshman English. The advent of the web and social media has created a whole new expectation for how to deliver content and how that content should look and feel. Double space after a period? Gone. Always using proper grammar? Gone. Writing has become more friendly, more familiar. More like how we all speak. And while you may lament this, if you want to reach your customers, you better know how to speak to them in a way that they will respond to and read.
Your writing needs to be succinct. It needs to be direct. It needs to be skimmable. These are things a professional writer understands. And since a writer is not married to your content, we have no problem coming in and cutting out copy that gets in the way of your message. And believe me, there’s plenty. You may think you absolutely, positively need to have a certain phrase or paragraph on your site or in your brochure, but in fact that might be muddying your message or distracting from the call to action. Our job is to get your audience, client or visitor to TAKE ACTION. That’s it. We will do whatever we need to do to make that happen. So if that means lots of pithy headlines, endless bullets or very few hyperlinks, we have a grasp on what your content should say and how it should drive someone to react and act.
Like anything, paying an expert to do something you may be capable of doing but don’t have time to do properly, will always pay dividends in the end. For as long as you’ve been putting off calling the plumber because deep down you know you can fix the sink, but you will never make time for it, the same goes for hiring someone to create or enhance your content. When you pull the trigger and bring in the right person for the job, everyone wins.