If you’re starting your own business, then first off, I want to congratulate you. You’ve taken a significant step forward–in your life and in your identity. That’s no small accomplishment. It takes bravery, commitment, and confidence to trust yourself enough to start your own venture.
Now, for the challenge of communicating the message of your business in a way that’s professional and informed–but still sounds like you.
Chances are, you’re already passionate about your product or service (if you’re not, I might think twice before launching a business). You believe in the value of what you’re selling, and in its ability to better the lives of your potential customers. But when you sit down to draft your website’s “About” page, or an email newsletter, or even a social media post, your copy sounds a little…stiff.
You want your potential buyers to hear your own voice shine through your copy. You want them to hear your passion and your excitement. You want them to hear your commitment to them as customers.
You’ve already invested so much in your business. Now, make sure to create the content that it deserves.
Here’s how to do that.
Write like you talk.
As a content writer that frequently partners with entrepreneurs and thought leaders, I’ve learned that the best communicators don’t always have the best grammar or even writing skills. They simply write like they talk.
When you sit down to write something–whether it’s a catchy tagline or a welcome email–think about how you might communicate the same message to a friend. Then write that. No fancy words or super lengthy sentences. Just short, clean copy that says “you” frequently.
Don’t be afraid to be funny–but please, no clichés.
If you’re the kind of person who can be just a bit sarcastic or silly, then don’t be afraid to inject that humor into your copy. On that note, don’t shy away from words you might typically only use in conversation or a text message. You can always go back and edit or clarify later.
But please, no clichés (i.e. think outside the box). They usually come off as a lazy excuse for creativity.
Remember your audience.
Is your ideal customer a vegan, or a dog lover, or a skincare aficionado? Whoever she or he is, picture yourself having a conversation with that person. How would you speak to their specific needs, desires, and worldview? What kinds of words would you use–or avoid?
Remembering your core audience helps to keep the copy conversational. It also helps you to remember that your message isn’t about persuading someone that your product or service is brilliant; It’s about telling a potential buyer how it will change their life for the better.
Show your passion.
Before creating any marketing content, take some time to remember your larger vision. Why did you decide to start a business in the first place? What are you offering that’s unique and special? How are your customers’ lives going to be different because of your product or service?
If you’re not feeling passionate about your brand, that’s going to come through in your copy. Do whatever it takes to get excited again. Then, sit down and write.
Ask an editor–or a friend–to read your content.
Ask someone else to read your content. An editor will have the professional savvy and expertise to help you clean up your copy, clarify, and correct any grammatical mistakes. But if you’re on more of a bootstrapped budget, ask a friend or family member to review what you’ve written. Does it sound like you? Request brutal honesty, and be open to feedback.
Create a style guide.
Consider creating a style guide for your brand. A style guide is typically a 3-10 page document that might include guidelines for the voice you want to use (i.e. young, ambitious, or scrappy); words that you use and don’t use; and your key message. You might also include guidelines and examples for graphics.
This document can help you stay on track for creating all future content for your business, and help anyone you hire stay aligned with your core message and branding.
Finally, don’t allow yourself to get stuck if you feel you’ve hit a block. Creating content for your beautiful new business should be fun and rewarding. If you’re feeling frustrated, take a break and revisit your ideas later on. The most important thing is that you do your best to build a message that communicates your voice and your passion. Good luck!