Using a professional writer to develop content for your website
Posted by erikaraia
It is always interesting to me that people spend so much time looking for the right designer and developer to create their new website and often overlook hiring a professional writer to develop their messaging or content for the website. It is like building a home without considering the furniture or outdoor garden that will surely make an impression on guests that arrive.
Have you ever been to someone’s home that looked beautiful as you came down the driveway and then once the door opened you were disappointed that the inside was messy, poorly furnished and just not what you were expecting to find? Or, what about a song that has a great beat but the lyrics are wretched? Websites are the same way. Certainly visual components such as logos, images or videos can attract and even keep visitors on your home page but what happens when a visitor looks inside? Do visitors even get past the home page? Does your content on your home page engage users to explore further? Do people know what your site is about by looking at your home page? A professional writer can help you take a visitor and make them a customer with content cues that invite people in.
Writing is not like talking. And, although you may know more about your product or service than anyone on the planet, it doesn’t make you an expert in content development and marketing so you should leave that to the professionals. I have had clients that fail at messaging because they want to control all aspects of their site including content and it just doesn’t work. At a minimum, you need a professional to edit and polish your existing content or translate your words into “web speak”.
Here are three things you should look at when considering a professional writer:
1. Talent First. Review samples of their professional work preferably in the last 2-3 years and on different subjects and in multiple formats, if possible. How does this writer address content for a website, internet tv channel, mobile site, blog, social media platform, video script or print material? Does the writer have favorite pieces that they’ve written? Or, do they have content that they knew little about until they researched and wrote the article for? It is easy for writers to write about things they love but their strengths really shine when someone is asked to write about subjects they are unfamiliar with. The ability to do so shows range and flexibility.
2. Connection Second to none. Ask them about their interest or knowledge in writing about the subject you need them to write about. It seems simple enough but experience in your subject shouldn’t be a requirement. I think it is equally important that you connect with the writer and that they share your value in your product or service. I may love animals and dream of writing for an organization that protects humane treatment of animals but I have no experience writing about this subject. Can I do it? Yes, because I have a passion for animals. Great writers can write about anything they are given a task on but truly great writers stick to subjects that they enjoy and understand or have a passion for. And, that passion shows in their writing and visitors that go to your site will feel that energy.
3. Show and Tell third. Tell them the 5 key elements of your messaging and ask them to prepare a letter or paragraph of original content using those elements to sell/market your product (for your eyes only). This piece should be very telling about the writer and if he/she gets what your goals are and what your products/services are about. Don’t judge it for perfection but rather how quickly they are able to create the piece and if their interpretation of your key elements is evident in it.
Hiring a professional takes some time but the benefits of finding someone that can take your messaging and branding to the next level is priceless. Remember, talent, connection and show is all it takes to test potential writers. The value in having a professional write your web content may be the difference your customer is looking for.
As always, good luck creating your new web site. It should be one of the most exciting and creative processes you go through as a new business owner.
Thank you for following,
Erika Raia, Right Brain Media