I constantly discuss the importance of making sure that your copy speaks to your audience. But what do you do when you have a messaging disconnect? How do you fix it?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: writing your own messaging is HARD.
It’s actually not much of a secret. In fact, we’ve ALL experienced this. Even me, and words are what I do! It’s insanely hard to see your messaging from a mile-high perspective. And, in fact, that’s when it’s really beneficial to reach out to a lifeline.
A Small Tweak Can Lead to a BIG Messaging Disconnect
If you don’t reach out to a lifeline, and you try to tackle this a little at a time, the results can be disastrous.
It really doesn’t work (and I know this first-hand, both from helping people with their own messaging, and from my own mistakes). It’s tough not to do, especially when you’re struck by inspiration.
Now, I’m not telling you not to make corrections, or not to make small tweaks at all. Because our websites, like our businesses, should be organic. The hard truth, though, is that you really need to take the big picture into consideration.
Especially if you’re a creative person, it’s really, really hard to not keep tweaking small things. But three slight turns can turn into a big one.
Think about driving. A road might make small veers or turns. But before you know it, instead of heading more or less north, pretty soon you find yourself heading east, or (gulp) south. So a word of caution if you choose to take this path.
Revisit Your Messaging with Every Shift
Pivoting is smart business. As you get better at what you do and learn new skills that you enjoy or are valuable, it’s natural to follow the path that is most enjoyable and most profitable. Sometimes this is skills-based, and sometimes, it’s audience-based.
With every big, conscious shift you make, you need to sit down with your messaging as a whole and ask yourself if it still speaks to your audience and their problems. I want you to really dig deep here. If you haven’t yet downloaded my free website checklist, then grab it here. I think you’ll find it really helps!
Similarly, this is something you should do every 1-2 years. Because you might have made several small shifts without realizing it.
If it’s a resounding yes, then you’re all set. CONGRATULATIONS!
But, if you aren’t sure, then that’s almost definitely a no.
So what do you do next?
Consider Your Client
The first thing you need to do is lookreally carefully at who your customer is, what their pain points are, and how you solve their problems.
If you’re not sure who your customer is, then think carefully about who you like working with, and what some really positive experiences have been.
Similarly, if you don’t know what their big problems are, ask them! Or find out where they hang out and go to them there. There are lots of great networking groups (virtual and in-person), and people are often happy to help you understand their problem. Sometimes it takes a little digging.
Now, compare what you’ve learned about your clients with your own messaging.
If you’re not sure how to go about this, I do offer web audits to help clients identify what their site is doing well, and what it could be doing better.
You may find that a few tweaks, done well, and done consistently, are all you need to get the job done.
Or you may find that your disconnect is a little bigger and you need to do more work. If this is the case, I highly recommend you get a second opinion from an unbiased person. (Don’t ask your family or friends, unless you can trust them to be 100% honest and not pull any punches – you want the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable.)
The Big Picture
If you are finding that big changes are needed, make sure you have plenty of time to sit down and really think about things. Here are a few things to consider:
- Pull together all of your copy. Analyze what is working and what isn’t. Is your messaging consistent?
- Size matters. Seriously. Is your copy short, sweet, and to the point? Or is it long, wordy, and boring?
- Put yourself in your client’s shoes. Does your copy jump out and grab you? Or would you find yourself clicking away?
- Relationships matter. Would you be intrigued by this person on the other side of the web page? Does your personality shine through?
Next, I want you to check out your competitors’ sites. What are other people in your industry doing? How does your site stack up? That’s one of the biggest indicators of how you could be better. Now, don’t plagiarize, but look at common threads.
Finally, I want you to brainstorm a list of ideas and keep adding to it. Then, I want you to walk away. For at least a few hours, and maybe a few days (or longer).
When you come back, you may be struck by inspiration. And you may be fueled by something that surprises you, and is absolutely brilliant. (I was struck by inspiration when I was hangry beyond belief, and what’s coming soon will knock your socks off. But I’m taking my time to do it right.)
Regardless, never run with your first draft. It’s never perfect. And it can always be better. However, knowing the difference between “great” and “100% perfect” is important. There is such a thing as good enough.
Please let me know how this exercise goes for you! I hope it results in web copy that you’ll absolutely love, and that solves your messaging disconnect.