Letter to a Client: Honest Feedback on Website Content
Here’s a copy of an email response I recently sent to one of our clients with regard to content on their website.
For reference, they are re-branding their organization. They’re producing about 20 new web pages on a redesigned website with quite a lot of written content about the services they provide. Our mission is to create compelling text that delivers value up front, rather than falling into old habits of talking about ourselves (like most other companies seem to do)
I believe that if something is poorly executed, good leaders want to know it.
Poor leaders tend to surround themselves with “yes men”.
My reason for sharing is to highlight where I believe a healthy business relationship should become. Rather than being reduced to taking orders blindly, I feel that I am able to deliver most value as a participant in the conversation.
When you hire a pilot to fly the plane, you don’t sit in the cockpit and tell them how to do their job.
If you’d like my honest opinion, I’d like to see a lot more detail and more insight in these texts. It’s hard work I know…and I get that everyone is super busy.
Writing good stuff requires some research, and quite a lot of time to do it right. Maybe some of these thoughts will help us as we move forward.
So, I’m glad to run with whatever you guys want to publish…it’s certainly not my place in the food chain right now to give orders…these are only suggestions to help you win some biz. By the way, learning as we go along is 100% normal. That’s why we’re committing to a process of continuous refinement. We put something out there, then review, and improve it as needed.
In my opinion, here’s the best litmus test for all content:
Consider one of our buyer personas (prospects). When they discover the content/text, will they be impressed, interested in learning more, entertained, or enlightened? Are we telling them something they didn’t know, or is it a waste of their time? Would you say the same words to them in person?
Before a meeting or presentation, wouldn’t you do some advance research, and info gathering? Online “touches” are the same thing, except harder. In person, you’re able to read their expressions and add context where needed. Online, you don’t get this opportunity…they just go away quietly.
Some texts we have so far are really good, but I think you’ll all agree that others are just filling space with fluff.
If we’re saying we’re experts in these service areas, try to demonstrate expertise rather than telling them we’re experts.
This probably means taking some time to do a little research to find useful info to share. We want to deliver some anecdotes, a story, accurate data, impactful statistics to support a case, and insights that help them understand that you know what you’re talking about. They should get value out of reading the text.
I understand it’s not easy…there’s a whole industry around strategic copywriting alone.
Here’s a Solid Social Media Service Example. It’s targeting agencies rather than end users. Section (1.) about Channel-specific social media Services is a good example I think. Notice how there are some real world stats, some statements of fact, advice, benefits in terms of achieving upside – or downside avoidance, and a set of logic that might lead a user to agreement and starting on the road to building authority.
It’s not written off the top of someone’s head.
Sections of this document can stand alone and bring value to readers. I’m sure various sections of this page and infographics are amplified on social media, included in long form articles, morphed into micro content and posts, and curated into emails, white papers or premium content guides, etc.
Also here’s an article I wrote with some basic Tips for Writing Stuff that Doesn’t Suck. There’s a disclaimer about copywriting as well as some tips for you.
Hope this helps, and I hope everyone knows my intentions are only to help you best I can. I know everyone’s really busy.