- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 02/24/2009
Online marketing success depends on creating website copy that sounds authentic. Conversion rates increase because visitors will want to know you better. But business owners often don’t understand what “authentic copywriting” means. “I want clients to get a sense of who I am,” they say. “I want copy that sounds like me. So how can I hire a copywriter?” First, copywriting begins with research. Your copywriter spends a lot of time learning about your business. He or she will want a clear picture of where your copy fits into your overall strategy. So you answer a lot of questions. You might choose to complete a form or spend an hour or two on the phone with your copywriter. Your copywriter will understand your unique target market and why your approach is unique. She or he will capture the personality of you and your business. When a copywriter understands why your business is unique, you will get authentic copy: words that express what you really deliver, not a cookie-cutter sales pitch. Readers can tell whether you’re genuine by the metaphors, images and sentences in your copy.
Second, most people do not write the way they speak. If you don’t write every day, your writing style probably doesn’t co
mmunicate the way you actually relate to your clients and customers. A trained writer often captures your authentic voice more easily than someone who is not used to writing. You may even be doing yourself a disservice. Inexperienced and infrequent writers tend to sound stiffer and more formal than they in person. In fact, sometimes a copywriting client will ask, ‘Where did this sentence come from? It doesn’t sound like me.’ The copywriter turns to the client’s own emails and notes. Sure enough: the copywriter used the client’s own words. We don’t always recognize ourselves on paper. Finally, your own website visitors are skimming your words. They do not read slowly or carefully. They will be looking for benefits. They will be asking, “What’s in it for me?” Your challenge is to motivate them to call for an introductory appointment. Or you might offer an audio for clients to download, where you express your personality in an interview or even a sample consultation. That’s when you can speak in your own unique voice. Expect to be surprised at the reactions of your target market. One of my own clients was extremely uncomfortable with his copy at first. ‘Too much selling. Too pushy.’
But other professionals have commented, ‘How friendly! He sounds like a really nice guy ‘ very approachable.’