WORDS TO BUILD BUSINESS BY

Tips for Starting and Growing Business

Communicating with Communicators

Published on March 14, 2013 by Eric Weld

Copywriters are creative people, and the good ones can take a vague, scattered directive from a client and spin it into a coherent, focused piece of communication. It can be an invaluable service to clients.

However, even the greatest copywriters in the world are not mind readers. When hiring a copywriter, make sure the assignments and projects are well-defined before setting him or her to work.

Professional communicators should be able to derive important points, flesh out and smooth the information they are given into copy that is interesting and functional, engaging and inspiring. But the efficacy of their copy depends on the focus and clarity of the material they are given to work with.

The process will be immeasurably more successful and satisfying when the copywriter has a clear idea of:

  • the function of the copy he or she will produce. What is it intended to do? Sell a product? Attract attention? Generate leads? Build brand?
  • what type of format the copy will appear in (e.g. press release, catalog description, web page, brochure panel)
  • how long the piece will be, in approximate word count
  • the main point and sub-points the copy has to cover

The job of copywriters is to translate what their clients want to say into engaging, inspiring prose that moves readers (the clients’ prospects and customers) to take action (contact the client or buy the clients’ products or services).
The best way to communicate with a copywriter is via email, providing a written record that the copywriter can refer to when working on the assignment; with bullet points of topics to cover in the copy. The copywriter will flesh out the narrative, then send it back to the client to make sure all the pertinent points were covered.

When communicating with a communicator, be as clear and defined as possible in your directives to ensure the most successful and effective relationship and end product.

Who Are You, Virtually?

Published on March 7, 2013 by Eric Weld

Do you ever play that game in your mind in which you imagine what other people say about you when you’re not around? You think about different friends or acquaintances, or maybe you just met someone whom you hope becomes a friend. You think back on your interactions, and wonder: What impression did I give that person? What did he or she think about me? How did I come across? Was I friendly enough? Too much?

It can be a fun activity, though sometimes it can be a disturbing.

What you’re doing is trying to see yourself in other people’s eyes. You’re trying to get to know yourself from someone else’s perspective.

Now, play that same game, except rather than imaging yourself as others see you, this time apply it to your online persona. How do people who come across your web site and other aspects of your online presence view you?

How do you come across, virtually? And how would people describe you to their friends?

  • She’s really nice but very shy, you’d barely even notice her.
  • He’s got a great sense of style and flair, but I don’t really understand what effect he’s trying for.
  • Oh my god, he’s so boring, I can’t stand to spend more than a few seconds around him.

Whether we like it or not in today’s age of Internet ubiquity, our online personality is, for many, the way most people come to know us. Our web site, or social media profiles, or blog posts, are the first impressions most people have of us. Far more people see us online than in person. We often begin and carry on relationships with people whom we only know virtually, by their words and images representing them online.

It’s worth considering what kind of persona you’re projecting, especially if you’re in business with a heavy online component (which should apply to almost all businesses). When people repeatedly visit your web site, for example, does it change at all? Does it give them a reason to come back once they’ve seen it for the first time?

Of course, we all want our virtual visitors to come away with positive impressions of us. Ideally, people who visit you online should want to meet you in person, or buy what you’re selling. That’s the goal.

So play the game. Pretend you’re not you, and scan your online presentation. Do you like what you see? Do you want to know more? How would you describe this person?