Now, copywriting isn’t the sexiest of topics and you’ll probably be glad to learn I’m not going to get into it deeply now. Because instead I want to look at the content from a different angle and talk about the style.
Everyone has their own unique style of speaking and writing, and the last thing I want to do is tell you to write in a way that’s completely alien to you. Not only will that be very hard, but it’ll come across as incongruent with your readers and site visitors, too.
But the fact is what I see on virtually every site I look at is “business writing”, where the content is not only about the business, or the products and services, but the copy has no personality to it.
These two things are related but separate topics.
It’s No Use Writing About You and Your Business
At the risk of repeating myself I’ll make something very plain: your customers, clients, prospects and website visitors do not care about you. Nor do they care what you do, or how long you’ve been in business.
What they care about is the problem they’re seeking to solve the search for which has brought them to where they are looking at your website or other promotional material.
So there is no point, for example, in having the first words on your home page as being something like, “Hello and welcome to the Wonderful Widgets website. My name is Fred and I’ve got lots of widgets here for you to look at”.
What you need to be writing about instead is whatever’s in their mind at the present moment, and that’s going to depend largely on how they came to be on your site or looking at your material in the first place (which is why the really successful marketers have extremely fine-grained marketing with hundreds of individual and separate landing pages, each one designed to speak to the problem that brought the reader to the page).
And the second issue is…
Why Personality Is Important
For whatever reason it’s incorrectly assumed to be “unprofessional” to be anything but bland, boring and factual in business writing. That’s why if you select pretty much any professional services at random and read their material you’ll see very quickly it all looks and sounds the same.
This is no coincidence, because while the words and the order they’re strung out in might vary, there’s no feeling, expression or personality in them.
And this is a big problem for two reasons.
The first reason is it’s just boring.
Human beings are interested in other human beings and that means we’re interested in things with personality.
But if something has been written with no personality in it, then why would the reader be interested in what’s behind it?
The second reason is we tend to do business with people we like and trust; and we tend to like and trust people who are like us.
But we figure these things out using what we perceive as personality as a guide.
And if there’s no personality, then it follows we can’t get a sense of what the person is like… so it’s hard for us to decide on the liking and trust.
And you’ll find when you get into that position you are necessarily commoditised and invariably end up selling on price, because there’s nothing else to set you apart.
Think about this because it’s vitally important.
The Trouble With Being Boring
Even if you have a fantastic guarantee and USP it’s very, very hard to get this across in any compelling way with fl at, boring language.
The thing is, a lot of business owners strongly resist putting personality in their copy and work because they’re afraid of offending people. They either think it’ll make them look “unprofessional” or that by taking a stand on something it’ll alienate those who disagree.
Well, both of these are probably true.
But they’re actually both what you want to happen.
The truth is for every person you drive away, either with your style or your opinions, there’s another you’ll attract towards you — and this will be someone who is like you are.
And that means he or she is going to be much easier to convert into a customer or a client than just “anyone”, and is also going to be far more enjoyable to serve and work with.
If you think of some of the most successful companies — like Virgin and Ryanair, say — you’ll see they have strong and very visible personalities at the top. O’Leary of Ryanair, is, in particular, completely unafraid to be controversial, irritating and even downright rude in his aim to make Ryanair as profitable as possible.
And this is no accident, since as he points out in his biography, A Life in Full Flight, every time he’s in the papers — no matter what it’s for, good or bad — they sell more tickets and make more money.
You don’t have to go to O’Leary’s extremes in the quest of higher profi ts. Just letting your likes and dislikes and the small things you don’t mind being made public shine through in your marketing and your results will improve almost immediately.