Earlier this week I saw a job posting for a company looking for a writer to help them with the About Us section of their website. The company found a description on a competitor’s website and they wanted to use the same description on their website. Thankfully the potential client knew enough not to copy-and-paste the content, but he still wanted to reuse someone else’s information.
The problem with this technique – other than the possibility of plagiarizing – is that you’re essentially taking someone else’s clothes and trying to make them fit you. Of course there will be some pieces you can get into, but they won’t fit well and they won’t reflect your unique traits.
How does that apply to content?
It’s highly unlikely that your company does the exact same thing as any other company. Even if you provide the same services and products as someone else, your background and education will be different. Your influences are different. The way you treat people and talk to your clients are different. When you copy someone else’s content (even if you rearrange the words so you’re not technically plagiarizing) you’re still telling someone else’s story. When you do that, you’re not showing people what makes you different – you aren’t highlighting your unique qualities.
So, how do you make your content your personal story? If you don’t have the time to learn how to write effective copy or the money to hire an editor, here are two tips you can use to help your content reflect you. (There are plenty of other techniques you can use, but these two will have the most impact.)
- Vocabulary. The words on your website should mimic the way you speak. Don’t use words from someone else’s site just because you like the way it sounds. If it’s more casual or more professional than you actually talk, it won’t take long for your customers to figure it out. Your website isn’t just promoting your business, it’s promoting you. Make sure the reflection is accurate.
- About you. Most plumbers do the same thing, so listing your services isn’t enough to set you apart from every other plumber online. If you want to stand out, let people see who you are. Spend some time on your biography (or About Me) page. Let people know who you are, why you do what you do, and what you love about your job. Tell them why you got into this business, how long you’ve been doing it, and why you stuck with it. Let them see why you are the person they should hire.
After all of the time and energy you’ve put into starting your business, don’t settle for someone else’s description of another person’s work. Take a little more time to make sure your site reflects you and no one else.