You’re writing the copy for your new site. That’s marvellous news. But maybe you’re not quite convinced by what you’ve produced up till now, and you think it needs a little added pizzazz.
When you’re writing about yourself and your business, it can easily end up being a bit bland because you’re a bit reluctant to put yourself out there. Reluctant to put your heart and soul into it. Or because you just don’t have the first clue how to communicate your wonderfulness to the world.
Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of things you can do to add a sprinkling of interest and show those potential clients why they’d be mad to work with anyone else.
1. Focus on why you’re different
Before you can write a word of your DIY website copy, you need to be clear on what your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is. That’s what sets your business apart from the other options out there.
I won’t go into how to pin that down here, as you can find plenty of guidance elsewhere on the big wide web.
(In fact, the Digital Home Toolkit for Translators course, which I created alongside some other wonderful women in the translation industry, might be a great investment for you if you need help nailing down things like your USP and could use some clarity. You’ll even get some feedback on your DIY copy from yours truly.)
But whatever it is that makes your services special, and will benefit your clients, pepper references to it throughout your texts. Don’t shove it down their throats, but gently remind interested readers why you’re their best bet.
2. Make it fun
Don’t be afraid to inject a little humour or allude to references that’ll resonate with your target audience. If your reader cracks a smile or nods knowingly at a clever reference, it’ll make you more relatable and help build that all-important trust.
Wordplay is one great way to have fun with your copy, provided it makes sense for your target audience and isn’t too obscure or overly clever.
Some people hate puns, but I’m a firm believer that using the odd one here and there can transform the feel of your text. Say your business name is related to an animal. Well, there’s a whole world of wordplay available to you right there that will make your copy far more memorable.
If you think your copy needs livening up, wait until you’re in a good, creative mood and then go back over it with fresh eyes and go to town, giving it a little sparkle.
3. Throw in a spot of jargon
Before you add in any technical terms, make very sure that your target audience will know them well, as the last thing you want to do is alienate or confuse them.
But if it fits with your target market, then throwing in relevant terms will show clients you really know what you’re talking about.
If you have a specific translation niche, for example, using those terms accurately will prove to them you’re a true specialist in their industry as well as a professional linguist. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking using technical terms means the rest of your copy has to be all dry and formal, whoever your audience is made up of.
Extra points for using any in-jokes you know they’ll get.
4. Steer clear of clichés
Clichés can be tempting as they’re familiar and comfortable, but relying on them can make your copy oh-so generic and forgettable.
Focusing on the fact that your translations don’t sound like translations, for example, has been done so many times that, at this point, there’s no better way to camouflage yourself amongst the crowd.
Yes, it’s still an important selling point for clients who don’t know the industry, and is still something that sets good human translations apart from machine translations. But everyone says it (even if they don’t deliver it), so try being a bit more imaginative in the way you communicate it.
It’s easier said than done, I know, but find fresh and creative ways to convey your unique selling points that will make your copy jump out at your clients. If your copy is starting to sound a little bit too much like the copy on all your fellow translators’ websites, it’s time to mix it up.
5. But don’t be too clever
All that being said, venturing too far outside the box can confuse your readers, especially if they’re likely to be non-native speakers of the language(s) your website is in.
When it comes to website navigation, for instance, always stick with clear, one-word titles for your main menu like “About,” “Contact,” or “Home.” This isn’t the time or place for creativity, as you want to make sure people can find the information they need easily.
If you’re not sure if you’ve crossed the line between memorable and confusing with a certain piece of copy, ask a colleague or even a trusted client for a second opinion.
And, of course, make sure you’re not moving away from your real tone of voice or what your business is really about in your efforts to be quirky or memorable. The version of you that comes across on your site needs to reflect the version of you your clients will get when you’re working together.
That’s all I’ve got for you today, so now it’s time to go away and let your creativity out to play.
Remember, if you can enjoy the process of writing your copy the results will speak for themselves.