I’m sure there are a few things we can agree on …
Just because you can drive your car 150 miles per hour doesn’t mean you should. (Have you seen what can happen at a Nascar race?)
Just because you can eat McDonald’s every single day doesn’t mean you should. (Have you seen Super Size Me?)
And finally … just because you can write your own content doesn’t mean you should. (Have you seen all the horribly written websites out there?)
Unfortunately, this is the reality.
Literally, anyone can create and publish content online. There are zero barriers to entry, so it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security and skill. As a result, the Web is awash with safe, boring text. Bland, overwritten, self-centered stuff that leaves you scratching your head and wondering what it is they are trying to say.
Like a Nascar driver advising about safe driving, or Martin Spurlock warning about the side effects of McDonald’s, I am an expert on the subject of web content. And here’s why you shouldn’t write it yourself:
You write about your business as you talk about your children. In other words, you’re biased. You’re supposed to be. After all, you’re talking about your baby. It is practically impossible for you to be objective, so how can you realistically expect yourself to be able to step back from your baby and see it as your prospects do: with a great deal of distraction and skepticism.
Cut and Paste = Click and Leave
You might be tempted to simply cut and paste the content that already exists in your company’s literature. It’s easy to fall prey to this mistake; after all, it’s copy that already exists. But that sales letter that worked so well for you in direct mail? It won’t do the trick if you repackage it on your website.
Here’s why: people read your web content in an entirely different way than they read your sales letter. Online, they skim and scan; they’re a massively skeptical and impatient bunch. They expect your website to quickly answer their questions and effectively solve their problem. Your readers catch even a whiff of traditional marketing speak on your website or get the sense that you’re talking about yourself and not to them, they’ll hit the back button, never to return again.
You’re Not Saving, You’re Losing
Think writing your own content means you’re saving money? Sure, your initial invoice might be a bit lower, but what about those visitors who come to the website you wrote yourself, don’t find what they are looking for, and leave?
What about online readers who leave your website but keep a negative impression of your company? Or how about all that search engine traffic that never even finds your site because you don’t know how to write content for both people and Google?
Instead of saving money, you’re losing. Losing things you can’t get back: first impressions, credibility, trust, and the opportunity to communicate and connect.
You waste words, you waste an opportunity.
You Aren’t Supposed To
Unless you’re a freelance writer, the focus of your business isn’t writing. The focus of your business is whatever it is you are good at, but being good at something doesn’t guarantee you can write about the topic. An accountant is good at accounting, not writing about accounting.
It’s not that you don’t want to deliver useful, usable, persuasive web content. It’s that you lack the skill and resources to get the content right.
Why You Should Hand Over the Keys …
Yes, I know, you’re accustomed to being in the driver’s seat. However, when it comes to creating the words for your website, it truly is best to take your sticky fingers off the wheel and hand the keys over to an expert.
That one decision can easily make the difference on whether or not you see a return on your website investment.
Done right, content educates and informs while it entertains and engages. It gets your prospect’s heads nodding and encourages return visits. Fail to listen to your visitor’s needs or deliver on their expectations and you risk not only losing that opportunity but tarnishing your brand as well.
Let Me Do My Thing
I know your business is your baby. And I am not going to tell you how to raise your children. That’s not my place or my area of expertise. However, working with words and understanding how to fit them into the conventions of web writing, is my expertise. By letting me do what I am good at – writing your web content – you’re doing what you’re good at – making decisions in the best interest of your business.