I had two very interesting meetings this week. The first was with a branding expert, who gave the advice that you should always understand your business brand before engaging a designer.
If you engage the designer first, she said, then because you don’t yet understand your brand, neither will they, so you’re likely to end up with an uninspiring logo featuring the standard colours and designs typically used by your profession. In short, you won’t stand out.
Later on I met with a photographer, who told me about how to find the right person to take your wedding photos. “You have to know exactly what you want,” he said, “because a wedding is a unique experience you can’t repeat just because the pictures weren’t quite right.”
These two encounters made me think about my efforts as a writer, and how important it is that my clients know something about what they actually want to say before I get started on their work.
Some people assume, for example, that I can easily write blog posts for them without them inputting any thoughts or ideas, or without my knowing anything about their business.
It’s sort-of true, I suppose. With Google being the font of all knowledge (fake or not!), I probably could cobble together a basic blog post that would inform people about most businesses.
But it wouldn’t be very interesting, and it wouldn’t speak with your voice. Potential clients would be missing out on information that could only come from you, with your years of insider experience. These elements are what make a blog a really great read, and they are what will help set you apart from your competition.
The best pieces of writing are compelling to read because they sing with the unique personality of the person creating them (in my case, I’m trying to help your personality sing, not mine!) – so if I’m not properly briefed, you’re wasting your money.
Here are a few other elements it would be useful for me to know (or even for you to know, if you’re writing yourself):
The central message – i.e., the one thing readers need to know by the time they’ve finished reading your blog, your profile or your website copy.
An approximate word count – particularly for website copy! Usually, copy will go hand-in-hand with images, so it’s important to understand how you want this to be structured.
Whom you’re trying to attract – how old is your ideal audience, what sort of language do they use and what are they interested in? While your words will speak with the ideal tone for your business (something else I’ll need to understand!), if I know you’re trying to attract young professionals, or mums between 25 and 40, I’ll have an even better idea of how to pitch your copy.
Your business ‘style guide’ (see this post for more information) – do you prefer to say “have not” instead of “haven’t”, for example? These points are important for building consistency in your communications, so that when people contact you (as they invariably will after they’ve read your amazing copy!) they will meet the person reflected in your communications.
If all this sounds daunting, don’t worry! I can usually get to the bottom of everything needed in just a half-hour, coffee-soaked conversation. I’ve also got plenty of handy one-page templates, so if you want to talk blogging, or profiles, or maybe some copy for your new website, the process will be quick and painless.
Interested? Then why not get in touch?
I'm a friendly and professional writer, reviewer and editor who works with warmth, humour and flexibility.
Nothing and nobody is boring, once we’re able to understand them properly.Read more
Strategies to beat your writing monster into submissionRead more
Nobody else can tell a story in quite the same way you can.Read more
In these unprecedented times, words count.Read more
Don't write for search engines, write for people.Read more
Learn how to live happily ever after through the power of storytellingRead more
Standing up and presenting to a group of people is something that strikes fear into the hearts of even the most confident people - so if you're an introvert like me, it can really be the stuff of nightmares! Here's how I tackle my nerves head-on, with some careful preparation and relatable content.Read more
I'm a 'Success Story'! My career change journey was featured on Careershifters' website this week, and I'm incredibly proud of it. But I wouldn't want anybody to think changing my career has been easy. And so this is a reflection of sorts, on where I was when I began, and how I've ended up where I am now.Read more
Are you reading this over coffee, or maybe as you wait for a late train? Blogging for business is a handy way to keep in regular contact with your followers and show them the human side of your company, but it can be difficult to keep it going once you've started. It's worth it, though - so here are a few tips to keep your blog posts consistent and entertaining.Read more
There's a new trend sweeping Silicon Valley - giving honest and direct feedback to your colleagues. Before you go rushing in, focus your message by writing it down first...your colleagues and your career will thank you for it!Read more
All those celebrated business gurus had to start somewhere...and the most successful ones know how to tell their stories in a relatable way that inspires others to act on their dreams and ideas. By writing a business book, you can do just that yourself!Read more
Writing a recruitment ad is often a rushed activity, with the words used ones you've read many times before ("dynamic" anyone?) Here's how the Banks children managed to recruit their ideal candidate - Mary Poppins! - by using clear and creative words that stood out.Read more
If you're stuck in a job you don't particularly like, mindlessly searching job boards for something else, it can be hard to dredge up any enthusiasm to make a change. But that little bit of rest time between Christmas and a brand new year beginning is perfect for considering exactly what you want, and how to take the very first step towards making 2017 your happy work year!Read more
Is time getting the better of you? With a growing business, several passion projects on the go, books to read and friends I'd quite like to see, I was starting to feel overwhelmed...until I decided to take a closer look at planning my time more effectively. Here's how you can do the same.Read more
Looking for ways to sound consistent and authentic in your written communications? Here are a few tried, tested and original ways to do just that.Read more
Going it alone, releasing yourself from the shackles of a traditional nine-to-five, is exhilarating. It's also incredibly scary! To celebrate my first quarter-year in business, here are some of the most important lessons I've learned from the front line.Read more