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7 Tips for crafting the perfect about us page with examples

Crafting the perfect about us page

Crafting the perfect about us page

Why do you have an “About Us” web page on your website?

In this blog post I’m going to cover 7 tips for crafting the best possible about us page for your company website.

After the homepage your “About us” section is one of the most visited sections on your website.

Your about us page contains

  • An introduction to your company.
  • The story about how your company came to be.
  • A few sentences on why you should be considered for buying products and services.
  • Your mission, vision, philosophy, and values.

Your about us page gives you an opportunity to tell your visitors who you are, what you stand for, and what people stand to gain when they do business with you.

What exactly is an “About Us” page?

While other pages on your website talk about your products and services, the about us section is an opportunity to talk about your company.

Some about us pages have the profile of the CEO, the founding members, or people at the helm.

An about us page having CEO profile

An about us page having CEO profile

They talk about some or all employees.

An about us page showing employees

An about us page showing employees

It answers the most pressing questions your new and existing customers and clients may have about your business such as what your business does, how it does it, who owns the business, and what type of people run it.

Your about us page is the perfect place to tell your story.

It can be a great marketing tool.

It allows you to add a human element to the information that you want to impart.

You often find the “about us” link in the footer of the website or in the top navigation.

This section allows you to show off your personality as a company or an organization.

Ever since I have started writing content for websites there has never been a single instance when the client didn’t want an about us page.

It is always an integral part of the website site map.

Do you always check out the about us page?

Do you remember checking the Amazon.com about us page before shopping over there?

Highly unlikely.

In fact, when I checked the About us section of amazon.in, they are mostly promoting their latest offers although, when you scroll down, they talk about the various community initiatives.

Amazon India about us page

Amazon India about us page

Even on Amazon.com, they seem to promote their latest The Lord of the Rings (it is being broadcast on Prime video at the time of writing this) series aside from some press releases.

The about us section on some websites also appears as “Our company”.

For example, Coca-Cola.com has an “Our company” section.

On their our company section instead of telling the story of their origin they talk about their employees or the top management, they talk about the various “human” and “environmental” initiatives they are taking.

They talk about how they manage waste during production.

Coca-Cola about us page

Coca-Cola about us page

They talk about creating a sustainable future.

They also showcase how they encourage diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunities at their workplace.

Does this matter? Definitely.

According to a Salesforce study, 86% customers believe that businesses must be more proactive in their roles towards societies, especially after the pandemic.

62% customers stop doing business with companies whose values are not aligned with their values.

Your about us page is the perfect place to share your core beliefs, philosophies, and values with your visitors and let them know where you stand on important issues.

What are the basic elements of your about us page?

What to cover on your about us page?

You can talk about your office environment – how comforting and inclusive it is.

You can list your team members along with the photographs and small statements from them. If you are a large company, then of course it won’t be possible to list everyone, but you can showcase your top management.

You can explain processes – how you execute projects. What are the various processes you follow to optimize your performance? How do you ensure your customers are easily able to buy from you and derive maximum satisfaction?

As written above, most of the about us pages talk about the core values of the business, the philosophy, and the mission statement. These don’t have to be long. Even a single sentence would suffice as long as it fully represents what you want to convey.

What about the history of the company? Is it relevant to customer and client satisfaction? If yes, then definitely tell the story of your company – how it came to be and what makes it what it is right now.

About us page our story example

About us page our story example

Doing some social good within your community? Don’t forget to mention that. Making donations? Definitely mention that. Are your employees involved in social welfare activities? Showcase their work, possibly with videos and photographs. Have a social media presence? You can embed the most successful updates on your about us page.

Listed below are the key elements of a perfect about us page:

Headline: Hook your readers immediately.

You can capture the main essence of the product or service that you provide in the headline. For example, is an SEO company your headline can be

“We achieve for you higher search engine rankings for toughest keywords”

What is the biggest benefit of working with you?

How does your business change people’s lives?

Is your about us page really about your company?

Let’s be frank: those visiting your about us section are not your acolytes.

They are least worried about your accomplishments unless those accomplishments have something to do with what you intend to deliver.

Whereas the accolades you have accumulated over the years can certainly be reassuring (that you are a company of repute and performance), what people want to know is

  • How you’re going to serve their needs.
  • Whether your values align with their values.
  • How you have served your present and past customers and clients.
  • What is your company culture.
  • What is the attitude of your top management as well as your employees.
  • What sort of atmosphere you maintain (you are inclusive or not)?

This Search Engine Journal blog post says that you shouldn’t spend much time on rambling on about your back story when writing your about us page.

They want to know less about your past and more about your present and future.

Take your own example: when you find an Amazon link while looking for a mobile phone you don’t want to know how Jeff Bezos started Amazon (maybe another day) – you want to know how the website is going to help you find the best model for your need, how the model is going to be delivered to you, and how it is going to be replaced in case you don’t like it.

Is an e-commerce about us page different from the about us pages on other websites?

There are about 20 million e-commerce websites worldwide. The valuation of the e-commerce industry is $ 5.5 trillion.

With so many websites to compete with, how do you create a contrast so that people can recognize your e-commerce website, and not just recognize, but agree to do business with you?

Want to distinguish yourself from other e-commerce websites? Your about us page can help you with that.

For an e-commerce website, your potential customers will visit your about us page to know why you are passionate about the products you are listing on your website.

To make people spend on your website, you must sound authentic and build trust and loyalty among your customers.

When they buy from your e-commerce website, they should be convinced that they will receive the item in impeccable condition and if they need to return it, they will be able to do so without much hassle and without spending money.

You can cover this on your e-commerce about us page.

What makes your about us page awesome?

7 tips for crafting a perfect about us page for your website

There are some standard elements that exist on every about us page. In fact, these attributes and elements are so common that even unconsciously, people are looking for them when they visit your about us page. Nonetheless, you can also make your about us page unique to include an element of surprise. Listed below are 7 tips that can help you craft the perfect about us page for your website.

1. Avoid the sales pitch

The purpose of your about us page is to give a glimpse about your company, your employees, and other aspects of your business.

Of course, every web page on your website exists to help you generate more leads and business opportunities and the underlying purpose of your about us page is also to help you sell more, but this should be achieved through engaging information instead of directly asking people to buy from you or do business with you.

Therefore, avoid sales pitch on your about us page. It can have CTA but it should naturally flow with the context of your about us page.

2. Make sure your about us page stands out

You can use engaging visuals. You can create a layout that is different from other about us pages.

Don’t make an about us page unique simply for the heck of it – it should represent the ethos and the personality of your overall website and business philosophy.

An increasing number of organizations these days showcase the various activities happening at their premises instead of simply talking about the history or the values of the company. They show their employees indulging in fun activities and learning engagements. They publish photographs of workshops and orientation programs. If they participate in social welfare activities, they publish videos and images about those.

Publishing testimonials can also help your about us page stand out but quite often, websites have dedicated testimonials web page. If you don’t have it, you can publish some stellar testimonials on your about us page.

3. Tell your brand story

Tell your visitors why your company exists. How it came to be. What are the events that led to the formation of your company – you solved a problem for yourself and based on that you created a solution that you could offer to the others.

Stories are always engaging. Weave a narrative.

4. Update your about us page regularly

There are multiple benefits of updating your about us page regularly. New things are constantly happening in your office and people would like to know about them and the about us page is the perfect place to talk about that.

When you regularly update your about us page it gives a reason to your visitors to check it out regularly. Awaiting your about us page is also good for your search engine rankings.

5. Make it about customers and clients

Although above I have mentioned that avoid using sales pitch on your about us page, ultimately, every page on your website is about customers and clients, and your about us page shouldn’t be an exception.

What would your customers and clients want to know on your about us page? What information would enrich them in such a manner that they would like to do business with you? What can help you establish a relationship with them? How do you convince that your corporate values match with the values of your customers and clients? How do your business practices benefit your customers and clients?

6. Include your values, mission statement, and vision

On almost every web page you come across these three sections: values, mission statement, and vision.

Take the opportunity to tell your visitors what you stand for through your values. You believe in an inclusive environment. You stand for the environment. You value peace and prosperity for everyone in the world.

Your mission statement tells your visitors what you intend to achieve for them through your business.

Vision is normally long-term – how do you see your business after five years? It represents your long-term goals.

7. Include a strong CTA

The CTA doesn’t always have to be “Buy from us”. You can prompt people to download your e-book. You can ask them to subscribe to your email updates. You can send them to another web page with more information about your company. Ask them to do something so that they stick around.

Examples of awesome about us pages

Let’s have a look at some great about us pages from different businesses and companies. I will also tell you why these about us pages rock.

Intel

Intel about us page

Intel about us page

In case they haven’t changed it, you can view the complete about us page on the Intel website.

I like this about us page because it gives all the necessary information in plain language. Look at the headline that says:

Delivering World-Changing Technology

Then in a short paragraph it describes how Intel has been an industry leader in creating world-changing technologies since 1968.

When you scroll down, you come across the financial status of Intel.

Throughout the page they explain different technologies they are influencing, and they even talk about their products.

In a separate tab, you can read about their management team.

This is a very straightforward about us page. In different sections it explains different aspects of the company. It talks about innovation, it talks about leadership, it talks about technologies, and even evolving culture. They don’t try to be brief. At the same time, the page doesn’t seem cramped. It is a professionally designed corporate about us web page.

Interestingly, I had to search for “Intel about” to find Intel’s about us page. I couldn’t find it in their official navigation.

The same is the case for the next about us page.

Mailchimp

MailChimp about us page

MailChimp about us page

You can see the complete about us page on the MailChimp website.

I have chosen this about us page from MailChimp because it is a quintessential page. There is nothing outstanding about the page. It’s quite straightforward. It talks about employees. It tells you the founder story – how MailChimp came to be.

Since serving small businesses is their primary forte, they talk about how they are streamlining their operations to better serve small businesses in multiple domains including creating product pages, landing pages, social media updates, and of course, email marketing.

They also talk about the investments they are making helping small businesses grow. The about us page talks less about their products and features, and more about the motivation that drives them. This is the kind of about us page I would like to write.

Zoho

Zoho about us page

Zoho about us page

Here you can view the complete Zoho about us page.

Zoho has a very straightforward, but comprehensive about us page and that’s why I have chosen to showcase it here.

I like the headline:

Serious Software, Friendly Company

Then they explain how they create beautiful software to solve business problems. While talking about their work culture and the quality of their software engineers, they also talk about how great their products are.

As you scroll down, you read that they spend more on product development and customer support and less on sales and marketing. This tells you about their business approach. They don’t believe in up-selling. They don’t even force their customers to sign a multi-year contract. They are assured: since they are constantly beating their competition, they know that their model works.

This is a nice mix of promoting their products and talking about their company culture.

They also talk about one of their biggest strengths: they have kept the company private despite all the pressures. They have their own Zoho Schools of Learning, and 15% of their engineers come from this program.

They talk about customer privacy. They talk about their campus. They explain how their products meet almost every business need.

In the bottom of their about us page they have a complete chronology right from 1996 up till 2022 telling the entire story. As you click different years, you can read about related phases of the company’s development.

Zoho chronological history

Zoho chronological history

WordPrefistsss

WordPress about us page

WordPress about us page

The WordPress about us page begins with their mission statement, appropriately because it is a free source-open source software company with a mission to “democratize publishing”.

It’s a very unimpressive page so why have I chosen it? Being WordPress, they could have chosen the fanciest of layouts and could have gone on and on – after all, they have been providing publishing software for almost 2 decades now – but still, they stay to the point because that’s what the audience wants.

They have kept their about us page minimalistic. Instead of having lots of information on the same page, they have linked to features, history, philosophy, testimonials, accessibility policy, and other details. Everything you want to know about WordPress, without beating around the bush, is on this web page. Easy navigation. Lots of white space. No extra graphic.

Band

Band about us page

Band about us page

As they say on the web page, Band is a creative design studio. Like any other creative design agency, they are majorly focused on showcasing their works. The web page loads quite fast, but it is full of graphics.

Sticking to the contemporary design ethos, they have used lots of white space to make it a relaxing browsing.

What I like about the Band about us page is that they have balanced visual and textual information proportionately. They aren’t solely relying on the visual presentation of their portfolio.

They use very simple language. In the headline they say

Band is a multidisciplinary creative studio.

If you’re not sure what “multidisciplinary” means in this context, you can read further. It sparks curiosity and in a way, prompts you to read.

The language is quite simple and yet professional. Without using fluff, they tell you that they “design, create and produce work” they are proud of. They also let you know that they take on only those projects they believe in, which shows conviction and sincerity. They work in a “wide range of creative disciplines”.

When you scroll down you can read about company history. There are no specifics. Just about how the founders met and then how they got together to form the creative studio.

Very little info, but enough to give you a sufficient idea of what the company is about and how they approach individual projects (projects they feel about).

Buffer

Buffer about us page

Buffer about us page

You can scroll through the complete Buffer about us page here. They have a very simple, linear about us page with no earth-shattering headings. They display no unique “attitude” – they have simply explained what Buffer does, in which countries they have their employees and how they help their customers manage social media accounts.

The unique thing about their employees’ profiles is that they also tell you how much each employee is making.

When you scroll through their about us page you will notice that the format of their about us page is like a typical home page. They talk about their work. They have a ticker the way many homepages have these days. They display the logos and names of the companies using Buffer.

Their Our values section is quite comprehensive with subheadings like transparency, positivity, gratitude, reflection, consistency, and stretching themselves beyond their limits. They openly claim that their salaries and salary formula are publicly available. You can also get a glimpse of their product roadmap – where they’re heading.

A wholesome about us page.

Why have I chosen these about us pages? They may not seem unique.

As a content writer my primary focus is communicating the message. I don’t believe in bells and whistles although, I’m not averse to the idea of creating fancy and “unique” about us pages. Somehow you must be sure of what you want to put on your about us page. As long as the surety is there, it is up to you what type of about us page you want to publish.

 

How do you transition from being a content writer to being a copywriter?

Becoming a copywriter from being a content writer

Becoming a copywriter from being a content writer

Usually, the line between being a content writer and copywriter is constantly being blurred when you are writing for blogs and websites.

Whereas content writing mostly involves writing informational and educational material, copywriting is more about convincing and persuading people into becoming paid customers and clients.

As a copywriter you write for

  • The main sections of a website such as the homepage, the services page/pages, company profile, and product descriptions.
  • Landing pages.
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Brochures and other marketing materials.

As a content writer you write

  • SEO content.
  • Blog posts.
  • Instructional articles.
  • Generic content on the website.
  • Social media posts (non-commercial).
  • Case studies.
  • White papers.
  • Every other piece of content that aims to inform and engage the audience.

I have been writing content for more than 17 years now.

My writing style is quite flexible.

Whether clients need an SEO content, blog posts, main website content, landing pages, case studies, or email marketing campaigns, I have been writing relentlessly, but just as a content writer.

I have been performing tasks of a copywriter as a content writer.

The disadvantages of working as a content writer while being a copywriter

Working as a content writer or a copywriter?

Working as a content writer or a copywriter?

The disadvantages are multipronged.

There is of course, the financial aspect.

Whereas I should be paid as a copywriter, I am being paid as a content writer.

This way I’m not realising my actual earning potential.

This gets me trapped in a rut and prevents me from taking on assignments that can actually help my clients grow their businesses.

I’m mostly doing grunt work whereas I can do some really creative work.

Without knowing, even clients suffer.

Over the years I have noticed that they don’t take a content writer as seriously as they would take a copywriter.

This is obvious.

Since I’m not educating my clients (about me working as a copywriter and not a content writer), when I try to charge them more, they balk at my rates.

“Other content writers are not charging this much,” they often say.

When I tell them that I’m not writing like other content writers, they find it difficult to understand because they have hired me as a content writer and all I’m doing is, writing content for them, just like any other content writer.

It’s not their fault. It’s my fault.

Even while working as a copywriter, I have been promoting myself as a content writer.

Hence, when they find me on the Internet, they find me for my content writing services, and not for my copywriting services.

I’m changing that.

From being a content writer, I’m transitioning to being a copywriter.

Why copywriting costs more than content writing

Copywriting costs more than content writing

Copywriting costs more than content writing

First of all, I don’t mean to say that if you are a content writer you are less of a writer than a copywriter.

I’m just saying that copywriting requires more expertise than being a content writer.

I have realized this more when I started hiring other content writers for my business.

I’m working with 15 content writers right now.

Although they can write blog posts, articles, and social media posts, none of them have been able to write content for business websites of my clients.

Even if I try to assign them some work for writing for a landing page, an email campaign, or even the main website, ultimately, I need to rewrite most of the text.

Educating as a content writer is easier.

Making people pay for products and services is harder as a copywriter.

The When you are writing for the main web pages you need to convince people.

You need to persuade.

For example, if I write for your app development company, after reading your text, your visitors must hire you as an app developer.

All your main website pages are intended to generate business for you.

What does generating business mean?

It means you are able to influence people in such a manner that they are ready to spend money on you.

This is a difficult job to achieve.

Without being convinced, people don’t even spend a single dollar.

Copywriting does the job of convincing people into spending money on your business.

It’s not a mean achievement.

There is no such compulsion for a content writer.

The job of a content writer is to increase your visibility and draw people into your sales funnel.

There is no commitment.

There is no stake.

As a content writer you’re not asking people to spend money after reading your text.

This is why copywriting costs more than content writing.

Can you transition into being a copywriter from being a content writer?

Possible being a copywriter from being a content writer

Possible being a copywriter from being a content writer

Depends on your writing abilities.

Content writing is about informing and educating.

Copywriting is about selling and converting.

You may like to read: Difference between copywriting on content writing: explained

As I have mentioned above, currently I’m working with 15 content writers and none of them can write for main business websites, landing pages and email marketing campaigns.

The success of your copywriting job is scrutinised with greater degree than your content writing job.

In content writing, your job is to deliver a well written piece of content that is easier to read and digest.

You don’t ask people to spend money.

You don’t ask them to make a commitment.

In copywriting you tell people to spend money on a product or a service.

You convince them into taking an action.

This Forbes article on the difference between copywriting and content writing explains in the following manner:

As a content writer you educate or entertain readers by creating high quality and valuable content.

Your content may drive sales in the long term, but that’s not its primary purpose.

Copywriting involves the creation of text content to persuade readers to take some type of action related to your business’s sale process.

You need to convince prospective customers that the product you are writing about is worth buying.

Or your business is worth calling.

Copywriting is the art of persuading readers to take a sales-related action.

When you work as a copywriter your language needs to change.

Your writing style must be conversational.

You should know how to use psychological triggers to convince and persuade your readers into taking an action.

Your writing should be able to hook your readers.

Some people have a natural flair for copywriting.

Some writers have gained enough writing experience (like yours truly) and just need to fine tune certain aspects of convincing and persuading.

Some writers need to learn from scratch.

They need to have basic writing skills.

To writers who have the basic writing skills and inclination but would like to become copywriters, I would suggest start following some established copywriters on LinkedIn.

There are many useful videos on YouTube where people share their copywriting tips and tricks.

In my personal experience, LinkedIn is the best source.

On blogs and YouTube videos, it’s mostly regurgitated stuff and people simply repeat themselves.

On LinkedIn on the other hand, people share their hands-on experiences and also give real-world examples of how certain pieces of copywriting perform well.

Additionally, copywriting depends a lot on your experience as an entrepreneur, a motivator, a learner, a listener, and an observer.

You can develop these qualities.

As a copywriter, when you are writing for a landing page or an email campaign you need to have a deep understanding of

  • What the business needs to achieve (for which you are copywriting).
  • What the product or the service you’re writing about delivers – what are its biggest capabilities.
  • What are the expectations of the target audience – what problems people are facing and what solutions they’re looking for.

Learn about power words.

Learn how to write compelling headlines.

Read books and LinkedIn threads on copywriting.

Follow influential copywriters on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Start practicing a conversational writing style.

Develop a habit of understanding your audience and then writing in their language.

Learn to love writing instead of doing it just to earn money.

Start building a swipe file to save good examples of high conversion copywriting.

Can content writing help your business stand out from the noise?

Your content writing voice helps your business stand out

Your content writing voice helps your business stand out

Do you know there are 600 million blogs on the Internet?

7.5 million blog posts are published every day.

500 hours of video is uploaded on YouTube every minute.

With so many platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Medium, hundreds of terabytes of data are being injected into the Internet every minute.

At various levels, all these platforms have their highly evolved algorithms to help you find the content that you’re looking for (for example Google or YouTube), still, with every search bringing up hundreds of thousands of results, you need to be able to stand out for people to take note of you.

There is too much noise on the Internet.

What is voice and what is noise?

Your car engine gives out noise.

Your fan gives out noise.

The droning sound of a machine running nearby is noise.

When you sit in a busy restaurant or café, lots of people are talking at the same time; unless someone is sitting at your table, you cannot make out who is saying what.

Therefore, noise is a sound that you can hear but it does not contain words.

Voice is normally referred to as the sound that comes from human mouth.

Voice contains words and sentences.

It is distinguishable.

It contains familiar intonations and vocal ups and downs.

Voice can be a speech or even a song.

You should be able to understand what is being conveyed for it to be voice.

You don’t say, “She is an influential noise in the profession.”

You say, “She is an influential voice in the profession.”

The biggest difference between noise and voice is that you cannot make sense of noise (except for basic things like what is the noise like and where it might be coming from) but you can make sense of voice.

Your friend has a voice. Your colleague has a voice. Your child has a voice.

You understand the meaning of voice.

The Internet is full of noise though.

Not everything is meaningless, but most of it is.

The Internet is like a busy café.

With so much content out there, it becomes an indecipherable chatter.

If you become a part of the usual chatter, your message too turns into noise.

Content writing helps you turn your noise into voice

Your content writing helps you make an impact so that your audience pays attention to your message.

Quality content writing services can help you elevate your brand voice to a level that it rises above the noise and becomes distinguishable.

Why is it important to be distinguishable?

If there is nothing to distinguish you from your competitors, how do you expect people to not just find you but also decide to buy your product or subscribe to your service?

One needs to identify a business to be able to buy something from it.

Your prospective customers and clients should be able to identify your business to single you out and prefer you over other businesses.

You see, the Internet is not your normal marketplace.

There are practically unlimited choices for your customers and clients.

They can decide to go to any website.

It’s all a matter of doing a search on Google or coming across a website’s name on one of the social media websites.

People can also purchase from mobile apps these days.

Hence, you need to stand out.

This can be achieved with quality content writing with a personal touch.

People should be able to identify you for your content.

It can be your unique writing style.

It can be the unencumbered quality that you provide.

It can be your authority over a subject.

Two things are very important:

  1. A strong sense of identity and uniqueness.
  2. Uncompromising relevance.

What are the benefits of developing your own content writing voice?

The basic purpose is to sound unique.

The words, the expressions, even the slight liberties that you take with grammar and spelling, make you stand out.

Your copywriting voice helps you reinforce your first impression that you make on your customers and clients.

It helps you make an emotional connection with your readers.

You establish a personality for your brand and you stand out from the crowd.

Developing your voice gives you the following benefits:

  • Your business is memorable: It is essential for every business to make a memorable impression. People are more likely to remember you if they can recognize your writing voice.
  • It’s easier to identify you: This is very important for highlighting your brand. People should be able to differentiate you from your competitors. They should clearly know what your values are, what you stand for and what your opinions are.
  • You build trust: Your customers and clients trust you more if they become familiar with your voice and relate your presence with the values and opinions they hold dear.

Some good examples of good brand voice through content writing

Your content writing voice or your brand voice is a consistent way of communicating your message to your audience.

Language is important. Words are important. They can shape the way people think of your brand.

Many brands carefully craft messages using their own writing style and choice of words. I’m mentioning some of them below:

LetsShave

It’s an Indian company selling shaving and grooming products for men and women (and people in between).

I have been buying razors and shaving foam from them ever since they actively started promoting in India.

In all their promotions they have a very casual, conversational language.

It’s as if they’re talking to you.

They don’t sound like a company or an organization.

Even when they are promoting their products, they are recommending them in such a manner that it is in your best interest to buy them.

Their messaging is unique to them.

They are the perfect example of having a consistent voice when talking to target customers.

They never sound salesy.

Their conversational style made me switch from Gillette to LetsShave, maybe within 10 minutes.

LetsShave content voice

LetsShave content voice

Starbucks

Starbucks takes its content voice so seriously that it has a special guidelines section for the company’s brand voice.

The company insists that its messaging is functional and expressive.

Its copywriters anticipate the audience needs and then create an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

The company takes strong political stands without hurting someone and it uses expressive copy for this.

They also believe in telling “passionate coffee stories”.

Starbucks branding voice

Starbucks branding voice

Mailchimp

I’ve used the MailChimp service on and off, but I have always found their branding voice quite fascinating.

In the beginning they used to have a chimp cartoon on its home page with various funny captions (due to them being MailChimp).

These days they mostly showcase their customers who have used the email marketing service to create their businesses.

MailChimp has a separate section on “voice and tone” where they explain how empowering content can be written by being aware of one’s voice and tone.

They use a conversational voice to convey their messages.

They use plain language.

They also copiously use humor.

MailChimp writing voice

MailChimp writing voice

Content writing tips to turn your noise into voice

“It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.”

If you are a seasoned reader of literature, you can identify writing styles of Hemingway, Charles Dickens, or a famous copywriter like David Ogilvy.

There is a certain texture.

There is a distinguishable tone.

There is a certain rhythm in words and sentences.

Read a few paragraphs and you can recognize the voice of your favorite writer.

Can you develop a similar writing style that is unique?

Yes, you can.

It is not as difficult as it may seem.

Also, whether you are writing content for your own website or for your client, it is important to sound unique to stand out.

If you just sound like the others, your voice becomes the usual chatter and then why should people pay attention to you?

Just like you’re sitting in a restaurant, what the others are talking about becomes “white noise”.

You either need to raise your voice, or you need to say something people really need to pay attention to.

Here are a few things you can do to change your noise into voice when writing content.

Develop a strong opinion

Have you noticed, when you have a strong opinion, the way you speak changes.

You speak with conviction.

There is confidence in your voice.

Even the words that you choose to express yourself are quite forceful.

People around you pay attention to you.

Since you speak with confidence, your sentiments rub onto your listeners, and they easily believe you.

The same happens when you are writing content or copy with a strong opinion.

Your opinion must be informed.

You should form an opinion after thorough research and reading.

When copywriting for a company, do thorough research.

Find out about their product or service as much as you can.

Not just features and specifications, but also the benefits that they can deliver.

How can their product or service change people’s lives?

Gather information about the target audience.

Read about competitors, watch the videos.

The more you know, the stronger will be your opinion.

Without knowledge, without information, without research, your opinion will sound hollow and unconvincing.

Empathise with your readers

Whom are you writing content for?

The simple answer is that you may be writing content for your own website (hence, for yourself), or for one of your clients.

You are writing content for customers or clients – whether your own, or of your client.

You write content to increase engagement level.

You write content to inform and educate people so that they turn into paying customers and clients.

Hence, no matter what you write as a content writer or copywriter, your ultimate readers are the prospective customers and clients.

How do you empathise with them?

Understand their concerns.

What questions and doubts do they have about your product or service?

What problems are they are facing right now?

How pressing are those problems?

What is the biggest benefit your product or service delivers to them?

How can this benefit transform their lives?

Understand their language.

Try to find out the words and expressions they use when they talk about their problems and probable solutions.

Then write your content using those words and expressions.

This will help you speak to them in their own language and consequently, help you find your content writing and copywriting voice.

Do some research and pick their dialect and accent.

Start compiling a list of words and expressions you want to use in your writing

The words and expressions that you use in your writing can have a lasting impact on your voice.

Take for example Nike.

They are targeting sports persons and athletes and people who intend to use lots of physical activity to keep themselves fit.

Their motto is “Just do it”.

Most of the marketing messages from Nike are inspirational and motivational.

They use lots of words like “believe”, “inspire”, “sacrifice”, and “hardwork”.

You find these words repeatedly appearing in their ads.

These words are a big part of their content voice.

Nike branding voice

Nike branding voice

You can have a similar list of words and expressions that truly represent the voice of your business.

There are many other ways you can develop your own content writing voice including

  • Practice writing every day.
  • Write mostly in the first person.
  • Write in active voice.
  • Write as if you are having a conversation with your readers.
  • Avoid using unnecessary words and sentences.
  • Establish a rhythm – use a mix of varying sentence length.
  • Don’t try to impress; write to inform and educate.

 

Content writing: why is it important to know your audience?

Finding the right audience for content writing

Finding the right audience for content writing

Why must you know your audience when writing content?

To give an answer to this question, you need to first understand why in the first place you are writing a particular blog post, web page, or landing page.

You are writing to serve the need of someone.

Whom are you talking to?

Why should they listen to you?

What words and search terms do they use when talking about or searching for your business?

What common questions do they have?

Successful content writing takes an audience-centric approach

It may be difficult to do extensive research on your audience before every content writing project, but you can do a little bit of study or questioning to at least find out for whom you are writing.

I will give you the example of this blog post.

I’m writing this for people who are looking for the importance of defining an audience when writing content.

I am also writing for people who are simply researching for their own blog post, or would like to link to my blog post when referring to information present here.

Am I targeting people who need to hire a content writer?

Maybe indirectly, but not directly.

People looking for a content writer may not search for how to write content for a carefully selected audience, unless their awareness level of content writing is an entirely at a different height.

This University of Maryland article makes very nice suggestions about selecting your audience and then modifying your communication accordingly.

Suppose you have a car accident. It was a minor accident, but an accident, nonetheless.

You tell your parents about the accident – you may tell them differently.

You may tell your friends about the same incident a bit differently.

What about the insurance company?

What details are you going to skip or include?

Will you tell these different categories of people your story in the same order or different order?

Obviously, the narration will be different.

Email can be another example.

The season’s greetings that you send to your customers and clients are completely different from the greetings that you send to your cousins and siblings.

The point is, whenever you are communicating, you are communicating to a certain audience.

The same is true for content writing.

When you are writing content, you need to modify it based on your audience.

When you are writing content, you cannot please everyone.

If you try to please everyone, you please no one.

Therefore, you need to narrow down your audience.

Select that one person for whom you are going to write.

In content writing terminology it is called “defining persona”.

How to target the right audience for writing content?

There can be different types of audience based on

  • Occupation
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Social background
  • Hobbies
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Location
  • Health status
  • Income
  • Professional background

Understandably, you can just imagine the traits of your audience.

You may need to check out different data sources such as

  • User feedback
  • Customer surveys
  • Internal customer database
  • Third-party analytics tools
  • Onboarding and exit interviews
  • Surveys
  • Your own research.

Suppose you have designed a health app.

You want to write lots of blog posts and articles about the benefits of using the mobile app.

But you want to target only those people who stopped going to the gym in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak.

Even when things are back to normal, they don’t seem to be able to catch up with their old habit.

You want to make them health-conscious again.

They are lacking the motivation.

They need a psychological and emotional push.

You may have to write your blog posts differently for this set of people.

On the other hand, there are people who are motivated, but are not getting enough time.

They don’t need to be encouraged.

They are simply looking for a solution that would allow them to maintain a good health despite their busy schedule.

For them, your blog posts will sound differently.

The better you can target your audience, the more effective will be your content writing.

How to prevent self-criticism from sabotaging your content writing process

Self-criticism sabotaging your content writing process

Self-criticism sabotaging your content writing process

Self-criticism isn’t just toxic, sometimes it can be devastating.

Different toppings and subtopics discussed in this blog:

Do you want to become a successful content writer?

Unconsciously, self-criticism might be one of the biggest roadblocks that you don’t even know you face.

It creeps up on you slowly and gnaws at your content writing process unbeknownst to you.

You think that other content writers are better than you?

You are unable to negotiate prices because you begin to believe you don’t deserve to be paid much.

You assume you don’t understand the topic.

You worry that you won’t be able to meet the deadline.

I have written professional content for more than 17 years.

Even now, whenever I am about to begin a new content writing project, I’m filled with self-doubt and besieged by a wave of self-criticism.

Whenever I receive a new query, I wonder whether I will be able to deliver what the client needs.

I suffer from the imposter syndrome.

The inner voice tells me: you are not good.

You are deceiving your client.

You are pretending to be a good content writer.

Though, over the years, I have developed some techniques to beat the demons of self-criticism.

Why does self-criticism raise its head when writing content?

Self-criticism is natural.

It is good in small, manageable doses.

It keeps you on your toes.

It pushes you to improve and better yourself.

Hence, a little of it doesn’t harm you much and in fact, does you good.

In fact, I often come across content writers who definitely need some self-criticism.

Their writing is really bad.

Still, they act as if they are writing for the New York Times on a regular basis.

Even that level of confidence can be toxic.

Self-criticism on the other hand exists in the form of wanting to better yourself.

At a fundamental level I know I write better than many people.

I write good sentences.

I am confident of my writing style.

I can express any complicated idea simply.

My self-criticism originates from the fact that I may not have enough information to write what I’m supposed to write.

I may not have the appropriate vocabulary to work on a specific project.

I’m not good enough to get published in reputed publications.

My self-doubt doesn’t originate from the inability to express myself.

In different people, different types of self-doubt and self-criticism exist.

The problem with content writers is that they need to get paid for their writing per document or per assignment.

The client is instantly going to judge how the content writer has written.

There is always a fear of rejection.

There is always a chance that the client may think that the writing is not worth paying for.

Most of the content writers are underpaid so there is always this financial insecurity looming large at the horizon.

Gradually, self-criticism attains such a proportion that it begins to sabotage your entire content writing process.

Content writing and confidence go hand-in-hand

Remember that when you are writing content, you are writing for businesses and individuals who are running businesses.

Your content writing must instill confidence among your readers.

If your content writing lacks confidence, it will show through your words and sentences.

You will sound stiff and unsure.

You will convey the same feeling to your readers.

Your words have a magical way of communicating your true feelings.

Hence, to write with conviction, you must build your confidence.

Confidence comes with knowledge.

It comes with experience.

It comes with a core set of beliefs within you.

The best way to build your confidence as a writer is to write.

Write when you get work.

Write even when you don’t have paid assignments.

If you write only when you are paid, your writing becomes stilted.

Think like any other performing art.

Does a singer sing only when he or she is performing in front of an audience?

No.

He or she practices every day.

Do athletes perform athletic fetes only during sporting events?

No.

They practice for hours every day.

Practice writing every day.

In fact, write for 2-3 hours every day, whether you have professional content writing assignments or not.

Techniques for subduing self-criticism as a content writer

As I have written above, little bit of self-criticism can be used constructively.

It prompts you to excel.

It encourages you to better yourself.

But lots of self-criticism can be harmful.

When it stops you from writing, when it begins to meddle with your content writing process, you need to take some measures to control it.

Here are a few things you can do:

Distinguish between being critical and being self-critical

Sometimes we are critical of ourselves.

This is different from being critical about your work.

You certainly need to review your work.

Sometimes I revise documents multiple times.

I edit sentences.

I change words.

Complete rewrites are needed sometimes.

This shouldn’t be confused with self-criticism.

Even writers who have sold millions of books have editors.

Their books are revised multiple times.

So, each time you find an error, or you need to revise a sentence, don’t self-criticise yourself.

This is integral part of content writing.

Acquire knowledge of content writing

As I have written above, knowledge is empowering.

The more you know, the better you write.

Read books on content writing and copywriting.

Join LinkedIn forums on writing, content writing and copywriting.

Interact with other content writers and copywriters.

Follow blogs on the same topics.

Learn the latest about SEO copywriting.

I’m working with multiple writers these days.

Many writers write like content writers who used to write 10-15 years ago.

They haven’t updated their styles.

They haven’t upgraded their language skills.

Although they write well, they can do much better if they keep an eye on the latest trends in content writing and online copywriting.

Never shy away from learning and acquiring knowledge.

People in every profession are constantly learning.

The same is true in the field of content writing.

Start a personal blog

Starting a personal blog means updating it, not if every day, but at least a couple of times in a week.

I have found that blogging is one of the best ways to beat self-criticism.

Choose a topic that is close to your heart.

It doesn’t have to be a professional topic.

This is my blog on content writing and copywriting, but I also have a personal blog where I share my passion on books, religion, politics, and other topics.

On a personal blog I can write in whichever manner I feel like.

Even if people judge me, I don’t really care because my livelihood does not depend on my personal blog.

I get to express myself.

I get to practice my art of writing.

I have a small fan following that raises my confidence.

I get to build my own writing style.

But, it requires work.

You need to update your personal blog on regular basis.

Don’t constantly compare yourself with other content writers

Comparing yourself with other content writers can be positive or negative.

When you compare to learn, it is positive.

When you compare to discourage yourself, it is negative.

It is fine if another content writer writes better than you.

It is fine if his or her range of vocabulary is vast.

It is all about learning.

It is all about regularly practising your art.

It is all about acquiring knowledge.

If that particular content writer can write so well, so can you.

You are not there yet, but soon you will be.

You are already writing.

You have already reached a certain level.

Now you need to improve.

As you gain more experience, your writing will improve.

It has improved till now, it will improve further.

Learn to do research

A lot of times you are hit by a deluge of self-criticism when you cannot find the right information that you need to write content.

For every content writing project you need to research.

You need to find information.

Google may be your best friend.

It has advanced search features that can help you filter out unnecessary information.

You may need to use different queries to find exactly the information you are looking.

Sometimes, a seemingly impossible topic becomes crystal clear once you have done some research.

Also develop a system of storing information when you’re researching so that the next time when you need to find the same data, you already have it.

I use note-taking apps like OneNote and Google Keep to preserve important bits of information.

Work with a mentor

These days I’m working with around 15 content writers and I am mentoring some of them.

It is not like teaching.

A mentor can help you fine tune your writing without being extra critical.

An experienced person becomes your mentor only when he or she thinks you have the ability to excel.

This in itself is an endorsement and proves that you are capable of becoming a successful content writer.

Interact with experienced content writers on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Regularly engage with them.

Respond to their updates.

Ask them if you could work for them.

Then once you have been working with an experienced content writer, politely ask if you can seek some guidance.

Revisit examples of exceptional writing that you have done

Even those content writers who have been working for a few years suffer from bouts of self-criticism.

I have been preserving the testimonials that my clients have sent me.

Sometimes a client recommends my work and CCs me the email.

Sometimes he or she sends me high praises.

I save such messages separately.

I go through them when I’m self-doubting myself.

I have worked on some very difficult content writing assignments, but I forget about them when I’m going through self-criticism.

I have created a separate folder where I have saved all the challenging content writing assignments, I have worked all these years.

After opening the document, I start reading and soon, I experience self-criticism melting away.

Self-criticism is a state of mind.

A state of mind can be quickly altered.

You just need to hack your way out.

One step at a time.

Don’t be impatient with yourself.

Accept the problem, and then work towards a solution.

Recognize different aspects of your writing abilities that need improvement.

Then improve, one writing ability by one.