I want to write a little bit about good quality copy. I know this sounds like a giant advert, shouting: “USE MY SERVICES!”…but it really isn’t about that. What I want you to think about is simply how the words (or copy, as we call it) that you use are a presentation of yourself and your business.
Now, I don’t think generally people mind if you stick up a Facebook or Instagram post containing a typo or a sentence that doesn’t quite make sense, but on your website, blog or newsletter, I think this will be taken more seriously.
I recently read some blog advice that stated “Content that is poorly written, repetitive and boring simply will not do” (www.returnonnow.com, 2017). And it is true. Your website, your blog or your newsletter is your publication. It is just the same as a poster or leaflet and how many times would you check through that for clarity and errors before letting it be sent off to print?!
Just because a website, newsletter or blog is ‘instant’, it still deserves the same sort of rigorous checking. Your publications are your adverts and should be the best, most high quality representation of your business. Hard to read paragraphs, with lengthy sentences, and unclear, inconsistent messages, immediately stop potential clients getting hooked in and exploring further.
Think about how you read through a website when you are looking for something specific…and in a hurry! The usual website visitor will scan swiftly for information. They are hunting for something specific and if they can’t find it easily, they will go back to the Google search list and pick a competitor’s website …and all this happens in about 10 seconds.
So that’s all you’ve got…10 seconds to hook that important potential new customer!
Spelling errors and badly formed sentences don’t reflect well on your business – everything you write is ‘saying something’ about you. As advertising guru, Shirley Polykoff, is quoted as saying, “copy is a direct conversation with the customer”.
Taking it to the extreme, a potential client may see errors and think ‘well if they can’t be bothered to check what they’ve written before they put it online, will they be bothered to check the quality of the product I order from them before they send it to me?’.
There is nothing wrong with being friendly and casual. You don’t even have to be very formal, as this can be alienating too, but remember that first impressions count.
- keep content short, snappy and to the point
- use clear titles and subheadings to help frame what you are writing and guide readers
- include key words your potential clients will be scanning for
- most importantly, before posting, read what you have written out loud to yourself – is every sentence clear, simple and error free?
Finally (and ok I admit, this is where I am recommending my services!), if you do struggle with writing or just want a ‘second pair of eyes’, please let me know! I am happy to advise, do a quick proofread or a thorough copyedit.
Please, just ensure your online representation of your amazing small business is not let down by poorly checked, uncared for copy!