Blog — July 25, 2012 9:47 — 2 Comments
Three things you shouldn’t try to write yourself
Have you found yourself scrunching up the virtual paper when you try to write your LinkedIn profile? You’re not alone.
I’ve been working as a professional writer since 1995, but everyone – myself included – struggles when sitting down to write clearly and succinctly about themselves. At ENNclick, when brought in as professional copywriters to help refresh an organisation’s website or tidy up their LinkedIn profiles, I usually get the sense that the customer is struggling: it’s extremely difficult to assume the dispassionate, objective viewpoint needed for good writing when the subject is so close to your heart. Here are three types of writing I recommend using a professional copywriter for:
CEO level bio
If you are a senior executive, especially if you’ve already had a long and successful career, it’s difficult to write about your accomplishments in a way that strikes the right balance. What you should be aiming for is the kind of world-class bio of a keynote speaker or other thought leader. Your track record of accomplishments, including the areas of expertise where you are a recognised authority, should be stated truthfully and confidently, but not arrogantly. You may also want to gloss over certain details – commercial ventures that didn’t work out or academic studies that went unfinished – while still giving enough specifics to make your calibre clear. An outside writer can also act as an editor, helping decide what should stay and what should end up on the cutting room floor.
‘About us’ page for a corporate website
Can you accurately describe the impact your services have had on your clients? Do you have a true picture of why your customers value you? When we help companies on their messaging, we always insist on conducting customer interviews: these are usually a golden key that unlocks the real story about a company’s value. In my experience, happy customers never decline to be interviewed: even if they would prefer that their company name not be used, they can provide tremendous value by describing what you’re like to work with and how they’ve benefited from the relationship. Always use a professional writer, ideally someone with a journalist’s background, to conduct this kind of customer interview. At the very least you’ll come away with true statements you can use as the basis for your marketing messages; in the best case scenario, you’ll end up with a named case study, including on-the-record testimonials you can use as a powerful (and truthful) part of your marketing collateral.
An elevator pitch is never meant to be written down – it’s the spoken answer to the question, “what do you do?” Your answer to that question is your elevator pitch, a concise and down-to-earth description of what you’re good at and why your customers like you. All the elevator pitches we’ve written at ENNclick are short enough to be spoken during a quick trip on an elevator. If your elevator pitch has over-blown words like “leverage” and “synergy”, please call me now on +44 207 993 4563. It’s critical that your elevator pitch use simple language and speak plainly; your listener must be able to remember it later this month, when they run into someone who needs your services.
If you’re struggling to describe what you do, an outside writer who’s an experienced interviewer and a good listener can help. If you’d like to know more, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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