Copywriting…Plain-speak, please!

MazeAfter recently reviewing the content of numerous websites’ pages, we thought we would repost this article we wrote a while back  The importance of good content on your web pages can not be overstated. Content is one of the most significant factors search engines “look” for. Creating excellent, easily understood and relevant content is not only key to being found on the web, but key to keeping the people who do land on your site, ON your site, and being turned into leads that can then be converted into sales!

We’ve been doing copy writing for over 25 years. We’ve written,  revised, edited and ghost-written hundreds of  articles, essays, business descriptions, blog posts, press releases and even books.

What we’ve found as a common problem, especially with companies trying to describe what they do, is exemplified below. We thought you’d get a chuckle or two out of it!

Read the following copy our copywriter, Jeff, came up with, about a fictional company, EquivoCorp International:

Strength and leadership. Unprecedented connectivity. That’s EquivoCorp International.

“We provide critical thinking, strategic focus, and technical planning for your complex, multifaceted needs. Our unique expertise, combined with our inclusive, participatory approach to projects, creates clear, workable solutions that unite visions and goals with technical requirements. Our collaborative and participatory approach serves as a catalyst for change.

“EquivoCorp business segments are interrelated from the viewpoint of key ingredients such as skill sets, customers, technologies and marketplaces. These segments add synergistic value to one another and, in turn, to our customers. Put simply, EquivoCorp’s unique combination of attributes promotes success, empowering us to integrate our services while leveraging our expertise.

“One of our core values is always maintaining a client focus. We recognize the unique needs of different client groups and we always factor in a holistic view of the client’s needs. We deliver results that map directly to your business challenges. Our clients enjoy a wealth of specialized expertise, consistent service, program scalability and seamless execution.

“Our passion for innovation never stops. At EquivoCorp, we’re continually enhancing our own products and services to better serve our clients. This means expanding and refining strategic capabilities, areas of expertise, proven methodologies and the innovative tools we offer.”

It sounds great. Beautiful prose. Lots of buzzwords. But at the end of five paragraphs of copy, you have no idea what this company actually does, if anything.

Unfortunately, too much business copy writing is like this. Lots of buzzwords and flowery phrases, but no real substance. Our friends over at HubSpot call it “Gobblydegook”.

Here are some key questions to ask and answer before you embark on a description of your business. These are the sort of questions that we ask our clients before beginning to write a brochure or  website pages:

• What business would you say you are in? Describe as fully as possible.

• How would you describe the products or services you provide – that is, an overall description that covers ALL of your products.

• What are your main product or service sub-categories?

• What is your company’s Mission Statement? What is your company trying to achieve?

• What specific industries/sectors do you serve? How would you describe each one?

• How do your products benefit your customers?

• What attributes do your customers most appreciate about your products (strength, precision, reliability, quality, etc.)?

• How are your products better than your competitors’?

• What does your company take the most pride in?

These and other basic questions will help you to narrow down exactly what your company does and what specific products and services you provide. And, considering that your potential customers will be searching for you using very specific terms,  it is important to use those terms so they can easily find you. These are called “keywords” and is an entire subject in itself.

Have you ever run across business descriptions that made no sense or left you still wondering what the company really produced? Or have you ever landed on a website only to find you couldn’t figure out what it was the company actually does or offers?

About Sherry Katz

General Manager at SkyHawk Studios, Sherry has over 25 years experience in and around the sales, music, performance and fine art fields.

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