Did I ever tell you the story behind
Trumpet Media? No, well pop the kettle on to discover how I went from a copywriter
to a trumpet-blowing copywriter – with no musical instrument required.
It started when I was working with
clients on their web content. We’d be sitting having a coffee and a good old
natter about their business. They’d be telling me lots of useful stuff to add
to their website. They’d be happy, enthusiastic, their eyes shiny and bright.
And then I’d ask them for information for their About page. They sat back in
their chair. They squirmed. They mumbled something about their CV. They did NOT
want to talk about themselves AT ALL.
But this is the bit where you can really
connect with the audience, I’d tell them. The bit where you highlight your
experience, your talent, your expertise, your passion, your ‘why’. Yeah, they’d
say, but it’s just sooooo icky. And then they’d suggest I looked at their LinkedIn
profile (I did – it was dire).
What they meant by ‘icky’ was that it
was embarrassing. And awkward. That good girls (and it’s mostly women, I’ve
found) don’t boast.
Well I’m not having this, I thought.
These people should be blowing their own trumpet. And if they REALLY can’t big
themselves up, then I will. So I changed my business name to Trumpet Media and
got busy with the trumpet blowing.
Don’t write in the third person
Helen is an amazing copywriter.
Yes, she is. I mean – yes, I am.
This is a GREAT example of
trumpet-blowing, right. Er, wrong. The purpose of your website is to connect
with your audience. And writing in the third person immediately puts a distance
between you and your potential customers and clients. It sounds like an agent
talking on your behalf and that you’re too busy/can’t be arsed to communicate
Don’t get me wrong. If you’re a large
organisation, you might want to talk about yourself differently (though I still
think you can loosen up a bit and drop the over-formality). But if you’re Kevin
the accountant, why put up a front? Be you, be real, be approachable. Be Kevin.
You’re gushing. Please stop!
Helen is a brilliant copywriter.
Yes, she is. I mean – yes, I am.
Some great trumpet-blowing going on
here, yes? Um, no. Helen/I may well be one of the best copywriters you’ve ever
come across – but it’s not for Helen/me to say so. Not like that, anyway.
Brilliant. Amazing. Fantastic. These are adjectives that mean nothing. Honestly, would you hire me if I told you I was an awesome copywriter? Doubtful. What about if my About page explained I had over 30 years experience as a writer? More likely. And how about if there was some evidence to back that up? Very possible.
Trumpet-blowing isn’t about telling
people you’re great – it’s about showing
it. For a psychotherapist, that may mean adding your qualifications. For a
florist, forget the diplomas and tell people what inspires you to create
There’s no formula for your About
page. The most important thing is to think about who you want to attract – and
what they’d want to know about you.
* Squirming over your About page? Me and my trumpet are ready to help you
What have the January sales got to do with bad websites? I’ll tell you. They both leave me confused, irritated and frustrated – and that means I walk away without making a purchase.
Here’s an example. This month I wanted to buy a new dress – a kind of smart-casual number for business meetings. Maybe in orange. Maybe not. I go into a department store confident that they’ll have what I’m looking for. But as soon as I’m in the door, I start to feel stressed. There’s a lot going on – ‘Sale’ signs, ‘Pay here’ signs, sales assistants trying to lure me over to their counter. Frankly, it’s all a bit too in my face and I’m tempted to leave.
Why your Home page is a headache
I often get the same feeling when I land on a Home page. There’s so much going on I’m like a rabbit in headlights. There are sliding banners, gazillions of links, more CTAs than you can shake a stick at plus testimonials that whizz past before you’ve had chance to read them. Just thinking about it is bringing on a headache.
TIP Get focused on your Home page
What you want in a Home page is order and calm. First up, I want to be reassured that I’ve come to the right place – and that means setting out your store. Who are you, what does your business do, how can you help me? A good copywriter will come up with clear and concise content to get those messages across.
Once I’m confident you’ve got what I need, I’d like some help getting to the next stage. Women’s clothes? First floor, madam! I don’t want to be sent on a wild good chase via the ‘Sports’ section and ‘Home appliances’ (no, I’m not going to buy a toaster!). You need to lead your customers to where they want to go quickly and seamlessly too. Otherwise, like me, they’ll be on the elevator heading for the Exit.
Service pages that suck
So I’ve arrived in the department for women’s clothes. But what’s this? Well, I’ll tell you what this is – this is a mess! Clothes crammed so tightly on the rails I can’t see the wood for the trees – or in this case the dresses from the skirts. Shoving everything under the ‘£50 or less’ sale banner isn’t helping. I want a dress. In my size. Maybe in orange but I’m open to options. I’m getting another headache. Is this how your Service pages make people feel?
TIP Sort out your Service pages
Like a department store, you might
have a lot of different offerings. Squash them all into one page and you make
it hard for people to find exactly what they need – not to mention buggering up
the SEO value of using separate key words for separate services.
Say you’re a roofing company. Rather than shoving all your content under ‘Roofing’ you could break it down into ‘flat roofing, ‘pitched roofing’ and ‘green roofing’. Think about what your customers are searching for – then signpost the way there. Once they’re in the right section, THEN you can do a bit of re-routing/cross-selling. As in – ‘Want some guttering with that? Click here.’
De-clutter before your competitors pounce
Did I get that orange dress? No. With
all the clutter and confusion, January sales do my head in. I’ll wait until
calm is restored in February. I might even end up buying a bag and shoes at the
same time (probably not in orange – I mean, I don’t want to look like a giant,
That’s OK for me. But can your business
afford to wait for customers to come back? And what if they DON’T come back?
What if they clicked on your competitor and discovered a much more
I’ve never been a fan of the Submit
button on websites.
I mean, check it out in your
thesaurus. ‘Submit’ means capitulate; defer; give in; put up with; yield;
surrender. Jeez! Hardly the warm, fuzzy Call to Action (CTA) you’re going for,
When I see the word ‘submit’ I always
think of wrestling. I grew up in the days of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks –
yeah, yeah, I’m old, look them up – and they did their fair share of submitting
during their career. For a laugh, on rainy Saturdays me and my two sisters used
to recreate their wrestling bouts at home. Well, it started off as a laugh but
usually turned pretty vicious – unless it was your turn to be referee.
But it’s not childhood trauma that
makes me dislike the ‘submit’ button. The word is so damned cold, harsh,
unfriendly and unengaging. Everything you DON’T want your CTA button to
It also doesn’t give you a clue what
you’re letting yourself in for. Thing is, you know where you are with online buttons
that ask you to ‘Sign up for free monthly tips’ or ‘Register now’ or ‘Join our
community’. And doesn’t that sound more friendly and inviting? You can even be
a bit playful with your CTA buttons to reflect your brand personality –
something I’m personally all for.
Still not convinced? Well check out this Hubspot study that showed people who used ‘submit’ buttons on their website landing page got lower conversion rates than those who had CTA buttons with alternative wording.
Still want your potential clients and
customers to submit?
* Want help with some friendly words for your website? Get in touch
I get asked this question all the time – so I’m going to darned well answer it. And a few other web content questions while I’m at it…
Content or design – what needs doing first?
I’ve worked with many lovely web designers. One of their biggest gripes? Twiddling their fingers waiting for the words. Sure, they can make a start on ideas, but until they get the content they can’t really get cracking. And my own gripe? Having my words shoehorned into a design that doesn’t fit. I mean, it’s not the designer’s fault – how were they to know it wasn’t going to work when they didn’t have the words! For the perfect pairing of content and design, chat to your copywriter first.
How long’s the content going to take?
Good question – and one you should definitely ask because the web designer’s going to need to know too so they can organise their schedule. I usually say around 2-4 weeks. Four weeks? Yep, maybe a month, maybe less. Here’s the thing – do you want it fast or do you want it fabulous? Because I don’t do quickies, I do quality. And any decent copywriter will say the same.
What exactly are you doing in that time?
OK – so here’s how it’s going to go down. First off, I’m going to do a shed load of research. I’ll be checking out your current website, if you have one, your blogs and your social media stuff so I can start building up a picture of your business. I’ll also be getting clued-up on your industry and poking around to see what your competitors are doing. Then I’ll put together my questions so you can fill in the blanks at our meeting.
Meeting? Now we’re talking!
Yes, well, it’ll be you doing most of the talking. The more you talk, the more I’ll find out about you and your business. I love it when clients are chatty. Once they start nattering, they really open up about their business and end up spilling the kind of interesting detail that sets them apart from the competition.
You mentioned questions…
Yep, I’m really, REALLY big on questions. But don’t worry – it’s not like it’s a test or anything. Most of what I want to know is in your head. If you need to check any facts and figures, you can always email me later. And if you’re a control freak – that’s fine, me too! – I can pop you over the questions before we meet.
That’s useful. And how can I help you?
You’re sweet – thanks for asking. Best thing you can do is keep me in the loop. I once spent AGES on research only to be told by the client at our meeting that, actually, he’d dropped four of his services and was introducing two different ones. Oh, and remember you said you’d get back to me with those last little details? If you could pop them over, ta.
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