5 Reasons Your Startup Needs Great Copywriting and Content
Something that I hear a lot before I start working with startups, is how the founders don't have any experience working with copywriters (or agencies, creatives and marketers generally.) It's not that they don't see the value of good copywriting, often, it's just that they don't know what their business needs. And if they do know, not being writers, sometimes they find it difficult to communicate the core values of what they make or sell. These aren't just my opinions, by the way, these are things real startups owners in food and drink, fitness, technology, biotech and healthcare have said.
It makes sense, though. Most independent startups (that I've worked with) are set up by people with a specific interest in what they make or sell. They're usually not 'business' people. What that means, is that they often have a great product that goes unnoticed for two main reasons:
- The benefits and true value of the product aren't communicated clearly
- Nobody can find them in the first place
It happens all the time. One startup I worked with recently, had an incredible product — an instant coffee with a controlled caffeine content (the only one in the world, in fact.) Their main problem, was that they couldn't communicate the product in a way which captured their passion for it, and attracted the right kind of customers. Which brings me to my first point.
Why your startup needs great copywriting and content
You're too close to it
Handing over your existing copy and content to a copywriter doesn't mean that you're going to lose your voice, or that the copywriter is going to take all the glory. That's the opposite of what a copywriter does. A copywriter's job is to help you figure out what's important to you and your customers, and to help you communicate that in the best way possible.
A great example that everyone can relate to, is Presidential speeches. Whenever you hear President Obama speak, it sounds natural, like he's moving through all of these crucial points, but doing it in a way that's understandable, that inspires thought and action. He's a naturally gifted speaker, for sure, but that speech has been written for him. Admittedly, by a speech writer not a copywriter, but the principle is exactly the same.
It's hard, as the busy and invested founder of a startup, to know exactly what matters to both you and your customers, and to communicate that eloquently, effectively.
Think of a copywriter as a second brain, one which knows your intention and passion, without the hang-up of being overly invested.
You're not a writer
You might have a knack for writing, but unless you're actually a copywriter, you're not a copywriter, and that's ok. I can use Photoshop and InDesign, but I'm not a designer. There are too many outstanding professionals in the world to be a jack of all trades. Pick something and be great at it.
If you're truly serious about your business, about making it look and sound its best, about having people find your products and buy them for the right reasons, you can't do the copy yourself. That sounds harsh, and if you are a successful startup who did their own copy, then this article isn't for you. If, however, you're wondering why nobody's finding you, or why they're leaving your website empty-handed despite you being confident that your product is good, look at your copywriting.
Great copy is good for SEO
Maybe the second most common thing people say to me when we talk about their copy, is something like, 'Do you have SEO experience? We want to increase our search profile.'
Even copywriters and marketers still think, deep down, that there's some way to magic yourself to the first page of Google. Truth is, there's not. Keywords, keyword phrases, appropriate tagging, meta-tagging, H1, H2, H3 headers, competitor analysis, all of that stuff matters a great deal for helping Google sift the wheat from the chaff. It also matters when you consider what potential customers will be searching for when they come across your website.
Someone looking for scented candles, might have other criteria which you need to consider when writing the copy for your website. Your candles might be delicious and yummy-smelling, but that's not how people search. They're more likely to be searching for phrases like 'Soy scented candles', 'Natural wax scented candles', 'Buy scented candles online.'
This needs to be reflected in your copy, but in the most natural way possible, for two reasons:
- You will not fool Google by keyword-stuffing your website. In fact, you'll be penalised
- Customers can spot bad copy and keyword-stuffing a mile off, and will leave
The most important consideration when it comes to SEO, is to account for your keywords and phrases, and to use them wisely and naturally. Write for people, not search engines.
Grammar and spelling matter
Of course they do, but you wouldn't know it to look at some supposedly professional websites. If your spelling is off, if you're punctuating in weird and wonderful ways, if you're starting sentences with lower case letters, or worse, ending every sentence with and exclamation mark (!) it kind of looks like you're not serious.
Remember, your website is a 24/7 representation of you. Don't let it embarrass you. Hire a copywriter.
Value for money
Some people balk at the rates charged by copywriters, thinking that what they can do can't possibly be much different to what the founder, or the founder's sister or niece can do.
Copywriting is a profession, like being a mechanic is a profession. If you fix up your car's engine with stuff you found in the garage or bought cheap online, and you do that every time it breaks down (which we're assuming is often) all you end up with is a car that doesn't work, plus a lot of wasted time and money. And you'll never get where you want to go.
When you put your business in the hands of a copywriter, you enter into a professional relationship in which you say, Here is what I'm passionate about, and this is why. Please treat it with respect, and help me tell people about it in a way that's effective, and true to my intention.
And that's all I ever try and do. So let's talk about it.