Reason #2: No skills to write a web site

Continuing the three reasons why corporate web sites struggle:

2. Skills

Writing is a skill in the same way as sales, customer service or business development.  Sometimes there’s a misunderstanding in companies who see the web as ‘free’ so they presume that because anyone CAN do it, then they SHOULD.

I regularly run workshops in the corporate sector, for Universities and government.  95% of the people who attend are responsible for the content of their web site.  15% of them have been trained in writing.

(I’ve said before that I’m staggered a company will sweat blood over producing an annual report which will go to maybe 1000 people but pay almost zero attention to the wording on their web site, with a potential audience in the billions.)

Those people leaving my workshop now have an idea of the skills they need to write.  They often report back to me that they’ve had to educate people within their company of the benefit of those skills … and how hard it is to get them to ‘see the light’.

It’s a slow process, but it needs to happen.

So what do you need to know about writing in order to be a slick writer?

  • An understanding of audience and what makes them tick. You need to know what triggers your audience to respond, as this will form your key messaging, not your company line or slogan or key marketing messages.
  • An ability to translate “inside” language to “outside” language. You need to know more than just what triggers your audience, you need to know how they articulate it. Their language should hang from your toolbelt, not sales pitches.
  • How to structure writing. This is the one takeaway from my workshops that people respond to the most. How you structure content is directly relative to how much is read. Opening with a benefit rather than the start of a narrative ensures readability beyond the first line.
  • Where your writing sits in the sales process. Good business writing isn’t about impressing readers through information. It’s about taking your reader a step further along the business transaction route.

These skills give you a higher foundation for the content on your corporate web site. But there’s one more reason why corporate web site struggle … and that’s the subject of the next blog post.

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