There are very few companies that would argue about the importance of their website engaging clients. A potential new client will often have their first introduction to your brand or service by finding your site through a search engine, having a browse from a word of mouth recommendation or following up from a business card exchange. This initial interaction has the power to make or break the future success of this new connection.
Sell the product, sell the dream.
The visual appeal of your website obviously matters; the layout, how cool your pictures are and the whole UX impacts on your successes. Once you get past the visual ‘wow’, potential and current clients will need to read about who you are, what you do, what’s new in your business and most importantly, why they should choose you as their product or service provider.
What they read will shape their response- now that is all pretty obvious really, but, it is surprising how companies are representing themselves online with out of date, ineffective or poor content.
Once a business has realised this and begins to identify that a content strategy needs to be put in place the first big decision must be, ‘can we afford to bring this in house, do we use an agency or an independent freelancer?’
Here are a few pointers to help you make that choice in a completely unbiased way…
Freelancers are self-employed, so you do not have the additional cost of work place pension contributions, sick pay, holiday pay, NI contributions or time off for the personal crisis days that may crop up every now and then. All you pay for is the time spent on your business.
Even if you simply commission a one-off piece of work, you may revisit the agreement with the same freelancer further down the line as they will have got to know your brand, but as with any new staff, do give them an ‘induction’. Helping you to sell your brand should be a collaborative process, any input you give the freelancer in the early days will be rewarded with higher quality output further down the line, less edits means more for your money.
No one knows your brand quite like you, but sometimes it helps to be on the outside looking in- treat your freelancer’s views as you would a potential new client. What in their opinion is great about your site? what doesn’t quite work? what does?
Often during the early stages of commission negotiation, a writer will have a quick look at your existing site (if you have one), often just to see what is currently there- that initial view really counts. You would be surprised, unless you are a fellow writer, at how many typos and examples of poor syntax jump out. If your writer spots them, do take up the offer of correcting them- it’s not being picky, it is a genuine desire to ensure your site looks professional and polished. This also demonstrates they know what they are doing.
It is a good idea to work out what the average revenue is from one new customer, then using your known metrics predict how many new (potential) clients and customers will see the new content- and how many existing ones will stay engaged. Based on this research you should be able to realistically predict how many new or unique business leads you will gain from this campaign…yes it will pay for itself in no time.
One of the real benefits of freelancing for me is that I don’t get bored with writing about the same product or service day in, day out. A lot of my commissions are writing technical content. For me, the becoming immersed in a new concept or product is revitalising. Deep research leads to new knowledge and understanding; in-house staff may overlook the often taken for granted aspects of your brand; they may assume everyone knows it so there is no point mentioning it…wrong! True, any brand needs to appeal to clients and customers that know what they want and need, but don’t forget those you are yet to meet- become the ‘go-to’ authority on all things to do with your field of work.
If you would like to find out more about the ways a freelance copywriter can help develop your web content, please do get in touch.