Before you get to work on your business content writing: stop, take a breath, and read this.
Blog posts should be ‘ageless and evergreen’ – timeless in their value. Presumably not ‘soft as an easy chair’ despite the rest of the lyric of that Barbra Streisand, classic.
I’m about to break that rule by mentioning Covid 19.
I can’t keep ignoring how weird life is right now and I hope you’re safe. If you have some time on your hands you might want to work on your business as opposed to ‘in’ your business. Or drinking pints of gin whilst crying in the toilet might seem much more attractive.
Everyone can learn business content writing.
Every-goddamn-one-of-you! You don’t have to be a copywriter or a marketing genius to communicate your message well.
1. Don’t feel intimidated.
A guy once took the time to send me a private message (no, not that kind of message) to highlight a typo I’d made in a social media post.
I thanked him, I was pleased he didn’t publicly shame me.
However, the message didn’t end there. He went on to explain that as the typo was within a post about business content writing, he could never bring himself to hire me. Furthermore, he was “concerned” many others wouldn’t hire me – you see, he was “helping” me.
I think I should mention, there are plenty of people not willing to hire me, a typo is never the reason.
Just imagine being the sort of twat to discount someone’s entire ability to do a job well based on a typo in a social media post.
For the uneducated, a typo isn’t a spelling mistake. It’s usually the incorrect placement of a word which nearly always happens due to fat fingers or autocorrect.
I couldn’t be arsed to mention that I employ a proofreader for client work because to me, that seems fucking obvious. And whilst I’m on the subject, if this guy thinks decent writing is about the rules of writing, he probably wouldn’t recognise proper prose if it were etched onto his corneas.
That feels so much better.
Humans make mistakes.
We are particularly bad at not spotting our own mistakes. A proofreader friend tells a lovely tale of her finding a typo in a presentation she was giving.
(Yes, proofreaders make mistakes, I know, fucking madness.)
Did people stop hiring her? Nope. And she used the error to illustrate the point – even proofreaders miss their typos.
Get comfortable with making mistakes, you’re going to making plenty of them in your business content writing. And there will always be the self-styled grammar police. These types love to take you down in the comments section when you grammatically fuck up. The truth is, it makes them look like drab, uninteresting little busybodies who enjoy pissing on your BBQ to fill some void in their sad, lonely hearts.
That might not be true at all, I just like to create a narrative.
2. Have a purpose.
Every piece of business content must have a reason to exist.
A landing page uses strategic copy with one focus: to convert visitors, not to god but to a sale. Blog content provides helpful information that will educate the visitor. Figure out the purpose of each piece of content. Yes, it’s all about selling your stuff but you’ll need to tailor it depending on where it lives on your website.
3. Know who you’re creating content for.
I write content for my ideal client – people with a sense of humour and a small business (it’s way more detailed than that) but my content often helps people who won’t ever buy from me. That’s nice but it’s the funny people with lots of cash that I really have eyes for.
Like I do that hot guy, the one on the SKY Vegas advert (Paul Dallison).
Think about your ideal client like I do the hot SKY Vegas guy. What is that guy interested in? Are you his type? Can you find a way to being where he hangs out? Your content needs to be all about the hot guy/your ideal client. They will engage with it and contact you if they feel you’re talking directly to them. You need to get good at doing that and that only comes with practice.
4. Be your brilliant business self.
We play all kinds of different people in life.
Sexy, come-to-bed you probably isn’t business you (it might be, if sex is your business). And bezzie mates you isn’t (usually) how you talk to prospective clients (again, if it is, that’s perfectly acceptable). What I’m trying to say is, find that comfortable tone that you’re happy to be when you craft your business content writing.
Side note: I don’t think being ‘authentic’ means you have to reveal your inner being to someone who might be paying you to unblock a toilet / install their WiFi / write them some copy.
5. Be consistent.
You need to commit to regular content writing.
A piece here and there just won’t cut it. You want to aim to be posting daily for your social media and blogging as often as you have the time for (weekly is preferable). Create a content calendar if it helps and mix it up with different styles of content. And if you can’t commit to that, hire a professional to do it.
All your business content writing should be your standard. It should be recognisable as you and your business.
Try and loosen up a little, make things relatable and human. This is especially true for social media content. Being more formal might be more appropriate for your marketing and webcopy but again, that depends on the culture and nature of what you do.
6. Know when to hire a proofreader.
Marketing materials, PDFs, webcopy, and blog posts should be reviewed by a proofreader.
Consider the words you write for your business just as important as all the pretty design stuff. I’d argue that it’s more important. People can move on from a dodgy colour palette but poorly written content lingers, just remember me and my typo.
Getting a proofreader to check all your social media posts is hardly living in the moment and it will also get really fucking expensive. Check them, sure. Even get a friend to if you want but don’t let it hold you back from speaking to your audience. The free version of Grammarly can be helpful too.
Struggling with words and spelling doesn’t mean you’re not good at connecting with your audience. That’s bullshit and don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Example 1: Laura writes great content and it’s focused on her customer. Laura is also dyslexic. She works hard to get things right but mistakes happen.
Example 2: Tim has an excellent grasp of language. But he sucks at attracting his customer. The posts are all about him and how great he is. What a twat.
Correct grammar is pointless if your content doesn’t pull clients.
If you want to know other content writing stuff, take a look at my blog.
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