No problem, we say. Why don’t you answer a couple of questions for us about who you really are, and we’ll use that information to make your web copy sound more like you? Because we’re sure you’re a really awesome person with an interesting take on your industry and lots of good reasons your business is way better than the competition’s.
We say to our clients knowing very well that they have trouble writing this down. They don’t know the reasons, or they don’t have the ability we have to work them into their own web copy. We know clients struggle with writing fantastic web copy – that’s why they came to us. Stands to reason.
So we’re not expecting killer answers when we ask clients these questions. We’re just hoping for a nice, real person telling us about themselves.
What we get often sounds more like this:
Question: What kind of person are you? Easygoing, professional, casual, authoritative, fun, devoted, covered in bees?
Answer: I am someone who gives 110% to every project. I always go above and beyond the call to make sure my client is satisfied. I am a professional with excellent communication skills. I work well in teams and independently. I am goals-oriented and have great attention to detail.
It Isn’t an Interview
You’re all savvy readers, so I’m sure you recognize the problem here. This sounds like the generic stuff you put on your resume when you’re just out of college and don’t realize that your resume shouldn’t sound like everyone else’s, and also that everyone in the world is lying when they say they are “goals-oriented.”
No one is goals-oriented. Everyone is chocolate-and-sex-oriented. Make a note.
So what the hell do you do when your client gives you answers that makes him sound so boring that you fear committing fraud by writing web copy implying this is a person you would enjoy having a cup of coffee with, much less to whom you should be willing to trust with your money?
You have a couple of options.
Fun Gets Real Answers
Write your client back and explain that this isn’t an audition or a job interview. You aren’t a scary HR person. You’re just a very nice copywriter who wants to make a great human being sound human. You can explain that a few of the things they tell you will wind up in their actual web copy, so you’d love their help to create tone and a realistic voice.
You can then tweak your questions in a way that emphasizes on this point. Instead of asking, “How would you describe your business?” you can say something like, “If your business were a puppy, what kind of puppy would it be?” Except James would never let me ask that. But you get the idea.
Make it fun. Make it obviously not business-oriented. Make it something practically impossible to turn into corporate-speak.
Want a Voice? Hear a Voice
The other option is to call up your client and ask that they talk to you like a human being. It’s almost impossible to talk on the telephone in boring corporate-speak because no one in the history of the world has ever said the following when chatting as two regular people:
“I integrate positive solutions into every customer concern, resulting in an increase in general satisfaction and business productivity.”
No one. Has ever said it.
Why they think they should say things like this to other business folk is beyond me, but there you are. Crack a few jokes right off the bat with your client and the next thing you know, he’ll be chatting away with you like a normal person.
You’ll have a great idea of who this person is and what his business is all about.
Then you can go put that voice into the web copy. See how it works?
If you want your business to have a voice that sounds real, human and jazzed up, contact us today. We know how to give your web copy a voice that reaches readers.