I recently wrote about the importance of not publishing duplicate copy/content on your website. This is all fine and well to advise on what not to populate your site pages with, but what about the content you should be publishing? As a writer, the process does come fairly naturally. However, it is extremely common and understandable that the prospect of writing thousands of words for your website, that are all different and valuable pieces of content, is daunting. I’ve personally seen the fear in clients’ faces even when writing their own About page. Typically, all the knowledge and words are there, floating in their head; when I ask questions about their business and values, it all comes flowing out. But, getting ‘pen on paper’ makes it feel like a much more epic task than it actually is. So, here are my suggestions on how to help take the fear out of content writing.
Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and just start writing, typing or even voice recording your initial thoughts about what you’d like to promote on your website. It doesn’t need to be a perfectly worded piece of content right away. You can simply begin with ideas, and slowly formulate them into sentences and paragraphs, and eventually you’ll have something tangible to share. Especially if you’re on the road to a new website, or are moving in a new direction from your existing website, just let the ideas flow as you think of them, and try not to feel pressure to know what to write immediately.
Don’t feel like it’s all on your shoulders, either. Ask for help from your team, any other stakeholders in your business or a professional copywriter to help bring your thoughts to life. The help can either be contributing more ideas, working with you to write these down, helping to curate your thoughts across your pages, or editing work to ensure accurate grammar, spelling and general value are present.
If you’re going to include your team’s input, it’s a good idea to host a workshop that can bring their ideas to the table, and then start to delineate where the priority messages are. This will help guide the purpose of your website’s messaging and content, and help form the whole picture more clearly.
If you opt for a professional copywriter, you’ll have an incredible resource to lean on for help in finding the core values, messaging and services you want to tell people about, as well as how to curate that message into a great UX content rollout. Copywriters know how to use the website design (new or existing) to walk your customers and clients through your website positively, while also greatly considering their time by offering valuable content along the way.
If you’re struggling to know what you want to say, a good place to start is knowing what you don’t want to say, or what is not working for you. There are multiple ways to audit your website (from analytics and data, to simply exploring with UX - user experience - lens, on your own). If you’re struggling to come to your current website with fresh eyes, ask someone else to pretend they are looking for your service or product and ask them for feedback on how the navigation and content value felt to them. If the relationships with your customers and clients exist, you can also ask them for their feedback.
Note what you like, what you don’t like and, if you can, think about why. Is it difficult to find information? Is the information confusing or vague? Is it too much of a sales-driven message to feel valuable? Are you CTA (call to action) buttons compelling? All of these questions will help navigate you to the type of content that will work best for you.
The first step is the first step. There’s no way of getting around it. Whether that first step is sitting down and actually starting writing, or reaching out for help to get you going, the only way to take the fear out of content writing is to rip the bandaid off. I promise, it’s not nearly as scary as you might think.