When you’re a small business owner or a startup, you end up wearing many hats. Often times that includes being in charge of your website or marketing materials.
For some people, this is a fun and creative task. For others, it’s grueling and stressful, causing a pit in your stomach that stops you in your tracks as you stare at a blank screen, Canva design or SquareSpace template.
Either way, you should not be writing your own website copy.
I get it, you’re bootstrapping your business and trying to save some money. And let’s be honest— it’s not easy to even find someone to do copywriting for you, except maybe your niece Melissa who is a marketing major at the local college!
I’ll say it again, Don’t write your own copy.
Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t try to write the words on their website, emails or marketing materials:
You’re in a bubble:
Whether the bubble is the industry you’re in, the organization you’re leading or just the office you work in. It’s a bubble.
I hear it over and over from clients who tell me they are ‘too close’ to the subject and their business to really be unbiased or even rational. Your language is insider speak, industry lingo or just really exclusive, leading to confusion and complicated messaging on your site.
It’s your baby for goodness sake! Whether launched or in the pre-launch stage, you have rose-colored glasses on. Your writing will reflect your bias and it won’t serve you or your audience well.
You have a hero perspective:
Most clients feel the need to sell their customers or audience on their experience, expertise and the reasons you should pick them. While this strategy is commonplace on most websites, it’s not effective.
The StoryBrand Framework of creating powerful and simple messages places more importance on the role of the customer as the hero, and you, the business as the guide. When you structure your website with this type of storytelling, the copywriting is reframed in a way that resonates with your customer and creates a more compelling call to action.
You are focused on the solution, not the problem:
This is THE biggest hurdle I see with business owners and where I spend the most time coaching clients. They are super clear about what they offer, and how it will help others (and even change the world)...but oftentimes, what they offer is not what the customer THINKS they need.
This is where a good copywriter can ask the clarifying questions required to get a little deeper into the ideal customer persona and uncover both the external (surface problems) and the internal problems that are causing the unexposed pain and struggle. When your ideal customer / audience feels like you understand their problem, they are much more likely to trust you as their guide.
It’s hard to talk about yourself:
This is kind of the opposite problem of #2, - the hero perspective - but some businesses and owners won’t step up and identify as the guide. They hide themselves, their empathy and authority, which is just as bad as playing the hero role.
Your customer is looking for help. Looking for a solution. Not only is your service, product, platform important, you are also part of the equation. Knowing what to include on your ‘About’ page, and what to leave out is a really important thing a good copywriter can help you, which is challenging on your own.
You are not an experienced copywriter:
It’s not about being qualified, trained or educated as a writer or copywriter. Take all the courses you want, education and knowledge will never beat experience.
Experience is the time spent understanding, writing, reviewing, reworking and refining good copy. This only happens over time and multiple opportunities. If you’re running a hair salon or SaaS platform, it’s likely you don’t have the depth of experience as a seasoned copywriter. People hire you because you are an expert in your industry, trust an expert to help you with your copywriting.
No hard feelings here, I’m just speaking the truth.
I’m not suggesting you hire a full-time copywriter for your business, but when it comes to creating a clear message and content for your website, you don’t want to get this wrong. Whether your site is simply a landing page or a basic site to point referral based clients, it still represents you and your brand. It’s the first indication of what it will be like to work with you and your business.
Websites cost money, but they also make money. Don’t make the mistake of sinking time and money into a site only frustrate and confuse your visitors. This is the one investment I highly recommend you enlist a professional to help you with.