As most women will attest, at some point or another, we’ve tried on an outfit and asked those dreaded seven words, “Does this [insert clothes item] make me look fat?”
As most significant others will also attest, there simply isn’t a correct answer. If you reply, “No,” you might be accused of lying or disinterest. If you are foolish enough to answer, “Yes,” you’d better hope the sofa in the basement is really comfortable.
Now, extrapolate this scenario to the content of your website, blog, case studies, fact sheets, online ads, etc. and ask yourself this question, “How does my content really make me look?”
It may have been awhile since you took an unbiased look at what you’re saying about your products and services…and it could be showing an unflattering image. Why? Because just like parachute pants had a time and place (and that’s debatable), your content can be dated, misaligned or contain errors.
With this challenge in mind, here are seven surefire tips to ensure your copy writing is representing you in a way that would make a supermodel proud:
- Avoid company rhetoric, technical jargon and doctorate-level verbiage – it doesn’t make you look smarter, and in fact, it can come off as pompous.
- Maintain your blog – if you have a company blog, make sure it’s updated frequently (at least once a week). Nothing says, “I stopped trying,” like sweatpants…or a blog where the most recent entry is 2008.
- Keep your readers’ needs in mind. Just like we all loathe standing next to the guy at the party who only talks about himself, the same is true of your content – focus on prospects and clients’ needs instead.
- State your value proposition clearly and concisely on all web pages, with special attention paid to high-traffic page such as homepage, contact, services.
- Audit your content every 12-18 months. Yes, that’s ambitious but you need to purge old content once it is no longer relevant or current.
- Remove outdated marketing materials from internal servers and libraries after every audit. Communicate with sales and marketing as soon as new, approved versions are available and ask that they remove dated materials from their machines.
- Use interesting, meaningful words because the clichéd ones just don’t hold anyone’s interest. Words/phrases such as “leader, innovator, leading provider, best, award winning” have become so overused that they don’t have meaning (unless you can empirically establish that you, indeed, are the biggest in a given industry, have won highly-prestigious awards and so forth).
Keeping these ideas in mind, you begin a more objective assessment of your content and how it can showcase your company’s best assets – and avoid wardrobe malfunctions and tube tops!
Have you seen some content that was one word away from a fashion police citation? Contact Round or include it in the comment below.