Be Red in a Sea of Gray Content

Stand out in the digital sea of gray with clear, engaging copy.

I’m guessing you, like countless others, saw Schindler’s List, the heart-wrenching cinematic journey into the holocaust. I’m also guessing you were were just as moved as I was by the little girl in the red dress. It was a brilliant visual that pierced our hearts and souls.

Now I’m not going to dive into the symbolism, the meaning, the message of that scene in Schindler’s List but it it is a perfect backdrop to the current state of online affairs for most solopreneurs —especially individuals in service oriented businesses.

Why do I say this?

Because most of these websites are nothing but a sea of gray. Filled with nothing copy and or complete self-absorption.

Truth is, many of the websites I see online could just as easily fill their pages with the “words” of Charlie Brown’s teacher. And in case you missed out on Charlie Brown growing up, Charlie’s teacher – whatever she thought she was saying – wasn’t what Charlie and his friends heard; all they heard was meaningless chatter!

A picture of Charlie Brown in class with his teacher saying meaningless words.  Exactly what you don't want to do the content on your website.

So let’s explore some ways you can ensure your content isn’t just meaningless chatter but instead cuts through the noise and speaks to your audience in a meaningful way.

Be read in a sea of monotony

You’re in business to succeed, to connect with people who will benefit from what you have to offer. So here’s how not to create more meaningless online chatter and fade into the sea of gray:

Don’t be self-absorbed

It’s easy to think your audience needs to know all about you before they choose to work with you.

Wrong; they don’t care about you. At least not until they know you care about them.

Don’t believe me? Then just consider your own experience. How do you feel when you land on a website and everything you see and read is about them? Does the beautiful imagery and flowery language describing their life journey, their accomplishments, pull you in and make you want to book a session or buy their latest course?

I’m betting not.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”

– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

TAKEAWAY: To stand out in the sea of gray (meaningless chatter), make all your marketing and content about the reader, the potential client or customer.

Make them the central part of story.

Don’t write long, flowery, wordy text

It’s easy to think the more words you use, the more poetic and descriptive they are, the more likely folks will engage.

We like to imagine our users sitting at their computers, with a hot cup of tea, reading our websites word for word. No distractions, nothing but whale music in the background with their focus completely on us.

But what’s really happening when someone lands on your website? They’re either at work, at home or somewhere in between. Things going on around them and they’ll most likely be multitasking, whether that’s watching TV, looking out for their bus— or their boss.

They don’t have time to engage in much less enjoy your long, flowery, wordy text. They want to know what’s in it for them — can you help them. If they can’t figure that out within the first few seconds, they’re gone!

So make sure when you’re writing the content for your website, you’re making it ridiculously clear who it’s for and why they should care.

TAKEAWAY: The goal of your website isn’t to toot your own horn or to wow your readers with poetic, flowery words. It’s to solve some kind of problem or need for someone else.

Don’t give too much too soon

Especially on your home page. The goal of your homepage is to let people know they’re at the right place, set the tone and expectations, and guide people to their destination.

It is not the place to expound on the mysteries of the universe (the work you do) or to write long lengthy pieces of text.

That means the copy on your homepage needs to do all of the following:

  1. Explain what your business does and why customers should care (key value proposition or hero statement)
  2. Show off your personality in design and tone of voice
  3. Share high level points of connection: credibility markers, introduce yourself and your values.
  4. Help visitors navigate to other pages with clear calls to action

TAKEAWAY: To test if your homepage copywriting has achieved everything it should, ask: if visitors go to no other page on my website, can they can a sense of what my business is and what it’s like.

To Recap

The goal of your website is to help you easily and effectively grow your business, and you do this by creating meaning and connection for the visitor who lands on your website.

How?

By lovingly crafting easily consumed copy that speaks directly to your readers – their struggles, challenges, and concerns – and helps them quickly self-select as to whether your website and what you offer is for them.

Posted in Branding and Marketing, Content Creation

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