Web Writing for Your Own Site — How to Toot Your Horn, Not Blare It
Writing your own website content can be tough. Your copy needs to be as strong as your skill or knowledge. Web writing for your own site needs to convey exactly how the unique solution you offer can benefit others. And you need to understand how to engage your potential clients, to grasp what they need to know about your expertise. But writing about yourself and your work can often be a struggle.
It’s like describing your face to someone you don’t know. You’re so close to who you are and what you do that you just can’t get the perspective you need. And because you’re so close, it’s hard to walk the fine line between boasting—which can be off-putting—and honestly stating how you can help. Objectivity can be a big problem, but it’s fairly easy to fix.
1. Assume the role of a satisfied client. Change your point of view. Write as though you’re an extremely satisfied customer describing the fabulous service you’ve received from yourself. This role reversal has worked for many of my clients, helping them to speak openly about the work they’re so passionate about. Once they nail the copy, we adjust the pronouns.
2. Interview yourself.With other clients who are stuck, we sit down and have a conversation, so that I can elicit the responses we need to put on the page. Once they start explaining why I should hire them or buy from them instead of one of their competitors, they’re excited and clear, and we capture that energy and information on the page.
You can do this yourself. Again, assume the role of the client, only this time, ask yourself some tough questions. You don’t have to grill yourself mercilessly, just be thorough. As a potential client, ask questions like:
- How can your product/service benefit me? How are you providing a solution to myproblem? Then, prepare examples detailing how you’ll solve those problems—and how you’ve solved similar problems in the past. Practice telling stories about specific results you’ve achieved.
- How is what you offer different from what I can get from your competition? Emphasize your skills to tell specific stories about our successes.
- How do you accomplish what you say you’re going to do? Be specific.
As you ask each question, delve deeper. Ask for explanations and examples. Think about questions that will elicit further explanation or require examples, questions that start with “Can you give an example?” “What if?” “Tell me about . . . .” If being interviewed is too daunting, pretend you’re a friend asking yourself about your business.
3. Know when enough is enough. Sometimes we’re too immersed in our fields of expertise to determine just how much detail potential clients need to know. It’s important to get to the point. If you’re a massage therapist, for example, and you’re creating your website, do your potential clients really need to know the name of each and every muscle in the body and how it works? Or do they just need to know that after you work on them, they’ll relax, release toxins, and feel more at home in their bodies? If you voted for number two, you’re dead on.
4. Put yourself back in your shoes. Finally, read your copy from your own point of view. Have you captured what you want the reader to know about you and the services/products you offer? Check it out with a few colleagues or friends. Let them read what you’ve written. Take their feedback, sit with it, and see what fits. In the end, you’ll have a better knowledge of yourself and your audience. By seeing yourself from the perspective of your audience, you speak to them, to their needs, rather than your own.
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No matter where you are with your writing, no matter what stage of the process, I offer services as a writing coach, editor, and ghostwriter to help you with your work. If you’d like to discuss your project, contact me to set up a free, 30-minute consultation.