I think it’s possible that the recession might be coming to an end. I can’t base this view on hardcore economic research, but I can base it on the fact that there’s been an upswing in people looking for my business writing services. I’ve written lots of web content in the last couple of months, and just today, I met another client to get a feel for what they were looking for on their website.
When I’m writing web content, I draw on my journalism training and my creative writing skills. I use the journalism to help me gather the content and the creative writing to come up with words that will create the right impact. The overall aim is to tell the story of a business in the way that makes it stand out.
Why It’s Important to Get the Story
I like to meet the people before I start writing their content, so I can capture the commitment and passion they have for their business. Words like story and passion sound a bit wishy washy to most business people. They just want to get the job done. Besides, they figure that the content they already have will tell me what I need to know.
Yet they also want their business to stand out in the marketplace, and a storytelling approach is one of the best ways to do that. I explain that to them, and depending on who I’m talking to, I explain that talking to them about their business will help me to understand their business better and will help me create content that’s individual to them.
People find the idea of gathering their thoughts together intimidating, so I gather the information from them in a way that causes them the least hassle. They’re not supposed to spend hours answering my questions – that’s why they’ve hired a writer. Some people are happy to answer questions by return of email, some will chat through them on the phone, and others like to do it face to face.
The list of questions I draw up are based on four central questions.
Why – I always start by asking them why they set up their business. It connects them to the passion that led them to start the business, and it gives them a chance to show how innovative they are, as they may have spotted a need that no-one else was fulfilling. I also ask them why their customers should choose them over their competitors, which gives them a chance to boast.
What – This is the question that comes down to brass tacks, but what a business actually sells can get lost in the rush to sell yourself. People go onto your website because they want to know what you do, and search engines also want to know what you do, so you tell them.
Who – Of course, businesses want to sell to everyone, but there are certain people who are more likely to buy from them than others. It can be helpful to define who they are, so you can use the language that will appeal most to them and show them how you can meet their needs.
How – People don’t want to be bored by a lot of technical detail, but I always ask the businesses how they create their products or deliver their services. It gives them the chance to show that they’re experts, and also demonstrate that they go the extra mile for their customers.
How do you tell the story of your business, or the story behind your book, in your online content?