“See, the best interpreters are part linguists, part diplomats. They have to know the politics behind each word,” Danny Hajek, National Public Radio reporter.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer.
How do you want him to feel when he visits and reads the copy on your website? Like you’re speaking directly to him? So he feels like you understand him, can relate to his concerns and have the knowledge to solve his problems?
When I rewrite my drafts, sometimes I get impatient. I cross out filler words and clichés and still, the content is blah. The words I use are so boring that I’m easily distracted by our family cat, Coco, or the contractors pounding on the roof shingles of my neighbor’s house across the street. (Do they need to pound at 8 o’clock in the morning?)
I admit it. Business-to-business and healthcare companies who only have one or two people responsible for content marketing is a boon for me. It’s true. Small teams need, hire and value freelance copywriters. But it’s also true that I hate seeing clients run themselves ragged trying to keep up “feeding the content marketing machine.”
Were you assigned to write a blog post that’s due next week? Oh, horror of horrors! Are you worried about starting with a blank page? Do you dread writing a story from scratch?
Every bit of writing in marketing has an objective. And that can be worrisome if you don’t know your objective. If you think the words matter, then you take writing seriously. So if you’re in this camp, you may want to keep reading.
Todorovich, director of content marketing, manages a team of writers, designers, digital engagement strategists and project managers. Her team is responsible for the #1 most-visited hospital blog in the country.
The newsletter started at 0 visits and grew to 5 million visits per month in October this year.
I was inspired listening to her talk. She does not minimize the effort required or the mistakes made along the way. You hear about the trial and error. Her presentation shows the possibility of building an audience in a highly regulated field. Health Essentials is a living example of what happens when you do the work, persist and continue to do the work. Eventually, you will earn good results.
BEEP! A notification chirps from your smartphone. You pull the phone out of your pocket, wipe your fingers on your cotton jeans and swipe the smooth screen to unlock. Tapping open the email app, then …
The emails clamor in your inbox. Each email is screaming at you. Look at me! Look at me! Read this now. Do this now. Emails are reminders of your unfinished tasks.
And your inbox is bursting. Continuously flooding with messages, the inbox is a cacophony that will never be silent.
When you acquiesce and scan the first email, trying to understand the long message on the little screen, do you wish the sender had written more words?
Probably not. You wanted the writer to be brief, concise and clear. Please get to the point, you beg.
Have you been the new kid on the block, so to speak?
If so, you can probably relate to the dilemma we faced when we moved from Kansas to Central New Jersey four years ago. We needed to learn in only three days the ins and outs of attending a New Jersey public school. Our two daughters would be enrolling in an intermediate school and an elementary school.
So we went online. We visited the school district’s website.
This is what we saw:
Where do we navigate first?
The website is not designed for a novice to the New Jersey public school system.
Where’s the Parent’s Handbook? What will I find in the Parent Portal? Where do I find information about how to prepare for the first day of school? How do I know the information I find here is updated? Some of the text states “Updated on Sept. 15, 2010.”
I felt lost.
The website creators did not have me in mind. They were unaware what the customer experience would be for a profile like me: a new parent of the school, new to New Jersey, with two children.
Website creators assumed visitors will have the same level of understanding that the creators have. But we didn’t.
“Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has ‘cursed’ us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can’t readily re-create our listeners’ state of mind,” wrote Chip and Dan Heath.
Your boss has had enough. He agrees with you that there’s too much writing work to do and not enough in-house peoplepower (combining men + women + power) to do it.
He asks you to find a copywriter. In the long term, hiring a professional will ease your work load, but in the meantime, you have a new assignment in your job description. Find the right copywriter. Your manager may make the final decision, but he’s depending on you to do the homework.
Who do you recommend to hire? It’s important to choose the right one, not only to look good for the boss. You’ll be the main contact for the copywriter, so find someone you prefer to work with.