If you talk to any professional writer, they’ll probably tell you that the most difficult writing they do is for themselves. Their own website. Their own publicity.

So challenging is it, that I once had one of my websites written by someone else. And I know what I’m doing.

But, if you own or work for a small business, that’s precisely the challenge you’re facing. With a small or non-existent budget, you’ll find yourself writing your own content. After all, that’s what you spent a significant amount of your schooling learning – how much time did you spend learning design or php?

So what’s the problem?

Aside from lack of experience and knowledge of copywriting skills, there’s a more fundamental problem.

When writing you own copy, you only see things from the inside. And your customers look in from the outside. (It’s an issue that I touched on in an earlier post – The Single Most Important Question in Copywriting – and have been asked to talk about in more detail.)

Typically, you can see the details, the processes, the things you do, because you’re immersed in what you do.

Don’t lose sight of the big story

Don’t drop your readers right in the middle of the forest – they truly won’t be able to see the wood for the trees. Give them a clear overview of the benefits of your products, services or your company.

But, more than that, give them the benefits of your products, services or company in terms that make sense to them. That you’ve been in business for eight years, and you started on the seafront in Worthing may be very important to you, showing how you’ve grown and benchmarking your company’s success, but it’s unlikely to hook an outsider.

What can you do?

Six essential steps:

  1. Step outside your business and have a look in

  2. Talk to your customers – why do they buy your widgets, call you in when their washing machine goes wrong, or have you do their accounts?

  3. Write it down. And see what your selling points are

  4. Work out your strengths. You may well find that the way you see what you do is significantly different from how your customers do

  5. Follow what your customers say, not what you think is important

  6. Avoid talking about yourselves – ‘we’ is a word that should be avoided, unless you really do need to talk about yourselves. And that’s probably restricted to your ‘About us’ page and case studies.

How do you look from outside, looking in?

Image courtesy of Dave Morris.