On the face of it, that may seem like a really stupid statement – how can anyone know too much?  However, when it comes to writing commercial copy for your business, most of us know far too much to be able to present our offering effectively to a potential customer.

There are several issues that get in the way of a really good written commercial message when you’re writing your own copy:

  • You are passionate about what your business offers – and there’s a tendency to want to tell people everything!
  • There’s a tendency to write about what you do, rather than what your potential customer gets.
  • Most people present their content in the first person – ‘we’ or ‘I’.  It’s much more powerful presented in the second person ‘you’ – but much harder if you’re not familiar with this technique.

For these reasons when we do our own copy – most of us (yes, that includes me) tend to write too much and provide far too much detail.  It’s a tough discipline to stay focused and cut copy back to the essentials.  I once wrote a 13 page document outlining our new services and everyone agreed that what was on offer was great, but nobody wanted to read 13 pages!  Getting it back to a single page and a brief outline of the packages was a very painful process.

It’s difficult to stay objective about writing commercially when it’s your business.  There are many websites and brochures that provide the detail of how the business owner delivers their service – and little about the benefits to the recipient and how it will change their lives and make them feel good.  As a potential customer I’m not really interested in exactly how your processes work, or even how well-qualified your staff are – I just want to know what’s in it for me.

Why am I banging on about this?  Because I’m a tiny bit frustrated with the people who are happy to pay for an accountant to do their books, but are reluctant to pay for someone to write their copy – after all, everyone can write, can’t they?  I may be blowing my own trumpet (and those of other professional commercial copywriters), but I think writing copy to persuade people to take action is a skill that few people have, no matter how excited they are about their business.  What do you think?

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