Humans have been telling each other stories from the beginning of time. When you market your business in today’s digital world it’s important to include your story, not just product and service information. One of the key processes I use in developing web copy is simply to say:
Tell me your story
It’s a pretty organic process, but it works for me. My writing business started over coffee, listening to people’s stories. Skype has streamlined things, and increased my geographic scope – but the way I work hasn’t changed (or my caffeine habit).
I don’t start with a detailed questionnaire that clients answer up front, in depth. The way I figure it, you’re hiring me to write. My job is to capture your words and create original, authentic copy for your website. (Once we’re under way, we get into more detail and structure, but we start with the story.)
Ultimately, people do business with people. If your customers know who you are, what you value and why you’re in the business you’re in then you create trust – and trust creates a sense of correction that leads to sales.
What’s your story?
If you’re writing copy, getting the underlying story is a powerful way to start. Rather than sit down and write, start with story telling. If you’re writing your own copy, then find a way to tell your story to someone else.
Ideally, choose someone who’s an acquaintance and who comes from outside your industry. That way, you won’t get trapped into using jargon to describe your expertise. (See our post on jargon-busting and benefit-building.) Meet them for coffee and use the recording function on your phone to capture your story. Get them to ask questions that encourage you to tell your story.
There are a number of stories you can tell:
- How you got in to business.
- Why you’ve stayed in business.
- Who your favourite customers are.
- What surprises you most about the business you’re in.
- What you’ve learned about the business you’re in.
In a way, every page on your website is a story. Tell your story well and you’ll build website that works for you.