The human race has produced more words in the last ten years than in its entire history.
However accurate those statistics are, it’s true that there have never been so many words so around and so few people listening.
One of the big questions that comes up when you run a business is whether you should write your own copy or hire someone else to do it for you.
The short answer is “no”, you shouldn’t try to write your own website copy
No more than you should design your own website if you’re not a designer, or rewire your house if you’re not an electrician.
Let professionals do it, that’s what they do all the time.
The more nuanced answer is of course, “it depends”
If you’re starting out and don’t have much budget, write it yourself. There are plenty of tutorials and books to read about the basics. That way, when you come to upgrade your marketing, you’ll be able to talk to other writers with some knowledge of the subject.
If you’re not starting out, ask yourself these questions.
1. Are you the best person to talk about your business?
You know your business better than anyone else. At the same time, talking about it is one of the hardest things you can do because you lack objectivity. Of course, it’s your baby. I’ve been there.
2. Do you have the time?
Unless you have a bunch of capital when you start a business, you’re going to be doing everything yourself. However, as you grow, do you want to be the one to do the website design, the copy and everything associated with that. Couldn’t you be doing better things with your time?
3. Are you clear about what you sell and whom you’re selling to
This is the starting point of marketing. Getting crystal clear about this will help you target better clients and sell more.
4. Do you enjoy it?
Hating writing is fine. Many people do. And if you don’t enjoy it, it’s likely to show.
5. Do you know the principles of copywriting?
Copywriting is not like writing a novel or a report. Great ad man John E. Kennedy said way back in 1904 that copywriting was “salesmanship in print”. You must follow it’s rules and principles if you want your work to be a success.
That said, you should be writing all the time
Linkedin, blog posts, Twitter – whatever your favourite poison is, your audience needs your insights and your opinion. Don’t worry if you think you “can’t write”, people are looking for your personality, not your grammar (although make sure you get your apostrophes right!)
However, for the critical stuff like websites, landing pages and email sequences, use a professional.
Your copywriter is a partner.
Even the best ones won’t produce scintillating copy for you as if by magic. The best clients work with copywriters providing them with as much information as possible on their products, target market and the like.
We’re an inquisitive bunch by nature and will be pushing you about your products and services so they can get the best from you.
So, how do I choose a copywriter?
Remember, a good copywriter will choose you as much as you choose them.
But aside from all the usual due diligence – check their website, ask for testimonials, check their work – ask two questions.
- Can I work with them?
- Do they align with what I want my business to be?
If you think the best copywriter in the world is a jerk, work with the second best one. You’ll be happy and your website copy will be better for it.
If you think you’d like to work with me, if you like the cut of my jib, let’s schedule a call.
It may be the best decision you ever made.