Entrepreneurs wear many hats – inventor, salesperson, accountant, business manager – but one often overlooked hat is that of storyteller.
It is a monumental task to chronical the history of a company, the development of its products, and the evolution of a brand. Growing a business is an ongoing endeavor and many owners spend a significant portion of their careers attempting to get the story just right.
While most are perfectly capable of producing quality content, copywriting is much more time-intensive and low-priority than other business functions and often gets pushed to the back burner. However, the importance of good copy cannot be overstated; optimized product descriptions get more traction on Amazon, regular blog updates provide backlinking opportunities to improve engagement, and well-written evergreen content can improve search engine rankings.
Great writing can also encourage prospective customers to spend more time on your website and boost conversions. Advertising dollars are more effective if the target audience has incentive to stay on your landing page once they click through. The more time they spend engaged with your copy and your product pages, the more likely they are to complete a purchase.
Copywriting is well worth the investment and can even be outsourced to a contractor or a dedicated in-house employee. Whichever path you chose, here are a few tips to help shape your company’s narrative.
GO WITH THE FLOW
When asked about writing, American novelist Elmore Leonard once said “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
Economy of language is a tool many writers use to bend grammatical conventions to suit the story. For instance, you might use a dash in place of a comma because it connotes a decidedly more abrupt break in the flow of the sentence – or you might switch from third-person omniscient to a second-person point of view as needed.
Massage the words, play with them until they fit in a way that feels natural. Provided you do not commit a serious infraction (omitting the Oxford comma, etc.) no one will give it a second’s thought.
WRITE WITH STYLE
Great writing is interesting. Consider publishing content that is timely and relevant to your audience. Develop a narrative voice that is consistent with your brand and adopt that voice any time you are creating new copy or communicating with your customers online.
Wendy’s social media marketing team is notorious for “roasting” customers as well as other fast food brands. Brookstone uses a more professional tone when answering questions or publishing company updates. Each style has its place and purpose; you must decide which approach is right for you.
If you have more than one employee writing content for your website and social media, it is a good idea to establish a company style guide. This is an excellent opportunity to communicate your goals regarding tone, voice, post length, and level of feedback. Your team can also decide which grammar rules to heed and which rules are okay to bend.
A Houston-based Taekwondo instructor drilled his students with a mantra that would remain with them for the duration of their time spent under his tutelage. “If you practice something a hundred times, you get better at it!”
You may not be the best writer and it may take considerable effort to hit your stride. The key is consistency. Try to establish a schedule early on so that you and your team are accountable. Aim to publish regular content to create a lived-in atmosphere. With time, the content will continually improve, and your brand identity will become even stronger.
Periodically refresh your website content, post new blogs, and start sharing to social media. Launch a content strategy and stick with it!
Good copy is a fantastic tool to communicate with your customers and build your brand’s identity. With the right content strategy, you can improve conversions and add value to your business. Consider the role of storytelling in the coming year; it may just be the next step in growing your company.
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