Let’s continue having a breather from thinking too much in this “Write your own website” series.
In this post I’m going to share with you the things I do when I write website copy for people. I have a product called “Just The Words” where I write the copy for websites from scratch.
In this post series I have been encouraging you to write your own web copy because I believe that you are best placed to introduce and share your business and stories. I champion for this approach because writing your own website is also an excellent project to help you better understand what you’re all about. There’s something about crafting sentences and being able to articulate ourselves with sharp explanations. The process of writing makes us more aware and grounded in what we’re all about. Being able to say who we are, and why, gives us valuable knowledge about ourselves and our audience.
Some people just don’t have time to write their own website words, though! And they want to draw on a copy writer’s expertise to help them with clear messages for their website.
A word of warning, if you hire me as your copy writer, I will still make you ‘go through the ringer’ to know yourself in business and share your deep knowledge with me. This is not because I like to see people suffer and squirm, but it’s A. helpful for you and B. It’s how I learn to get into your unique voice, purpose and vision.
If you hire a copy writer, be sure to be an active participant in the process of writing your copy. No slacking off!
Here are some things that I do when I write a website for someone:
- Spend as much time with the person as possible. If you hire me to write your website, I’m going to chew your ear off! I’m going to want to have a few coffee or Skype catch ups with you and I’ll be actively listening to the way that you speak and think. I’ll be intuitively profiling your wordy ways…
- I’ll likely stalk you on all of your profiles possible. This helps me get a background to who you are. That context helps me write for you.
- I have a bundle of Business Visioning Worksheets that I ask all my clients to complete. They prompt you to think about all the things I’ve noted in the series so far and often some of the lines clients write in them are directly translated to the website I write for them. It’s a collaborative writing project after all!
- I’ll want to check out anything you’ve written before to see how you do write. Even if you think it’s bad, and embarrassing (I hear this – it’s never as bad as people make it out to be). It really helps me to get into your way of thinking. Actually it can be magical to read your words, try to rework them a little and give them back to you. You’ll likely see that what you had written was a really great draft and that you’re all over this business writing thing.
- I’ll work with a bag of tricks to help me. In my bag of tricks are guiding words, your tone, your ethos and your audience in mind. Writing for you becomes a sort of child spawned from my mediation on you. I know that sounds ick. But it’s true. I infuse you into my thinking and allow you to come through my fingers as I type. I’m seeing Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost as I’m thinking this through. That’s what good copywriters are: Mediums for your Voice and Messages.
- Maybe as part of the copy writing service we will have completed a Key Message Session. This is to find up to three key things to say consistently in your copy. Either way, I will have a few consistent messages that I will weave throughout your web copy. Repetition is a key approach to rhetoric after all.
- I’ll consider the visual elements of your brand. I’ll want to see all the photos, graphics, logos and colours you have for your brand. This really helps build the picture of your position and style that I can add to the way I write for you.
- I will try to emulate your voice as best as possible – this is really hard! But if I’ve been diligent in doing steps 1-5 then it makes it flow much better. If you don’t give me any background info at all, I can still have a go at writing your website for you. But it won’t be any where near as authentic and as such I won’t want to be your friend. And you won’t get a chance to get to know me along the way. And that’s a huge loss! 😛
- I do my best to be true to your voice and business and I’ll ask for your feedback along the way to make sure I’m on the right track. I want you to feel comfortable with what I’ve been putting down.
- I’ll totally stress out! I am a perfectionist! I want things to sound JUST right for you! If I can’t get it right I’ll likely have a small, grown-up tantrum and avoid your emails for a few days until I can figure out how to say, “I’m sorry, I haven’t finished it yet.” I’m human and more than anything I want to write your website well, not quickly.
I love writing websites for people. But more than anything I love to meet people and get to know them. This is what a good copy writer should do. Get to know you. Good copy writers will profile your audience as well. They’ll use their intuition and understanding of people coupled with their knowledge of words to help the copy on your online home really sing your song.
If you’re writing your own web copy, maybe there are some steps in the above that you can do for yourself. Though try to avoid point 1o.