Sunday, 18 September 2011

Of Web Copy, Needles and Haystacks.

Too often I look at a web site and shudder at the blinding volume of visual noise that throws a smokescreen of confusion across a miss-match of magazine-style headline options. Behind this is an astonishing Pandora’s Box of pagination revealing layer after layer of promises but no real corporate ethos, personality and service. Well, it might be in the haystack somewhere.

Traditional services and professional practices tend to do one of two things – they brief a web designer and buy on price, or they syndicate to their professional body’s stock site, filling the gaps with their own images, messages and USP’s … but all too often not even that.

Financial Services is a case in point. But, Accountancy and Legal practices are not far behind in their decade of transition from ‘faceless necessity’ to ‘hip groovy friend of the people’ … “follow me on Facebook and we’ll tweet you the latest happenings”.

Slow down chaps.

I need advice in forming a partnership; dealing with probate; establishing a trust; acquiring a business; setting up a group pension scheme.

I want more traditional gravitas and less ‘I wanna be your best mate innit!’

There is nothing wrong (and everything right with) applying traditional writing skills to any communication platform befitting the business / client exchange. From web site to brochure; newsletter to blog; letter to e-mail. Your 140 character tweets can even be fine tuned to deliver the message appropriate to the nature of the business.

To return to the Financial Services business web site – by having us lend a commercially attuned ear to the practitioners’ explanation of their business and the type of person fitting their ‘ideal customer’ match, they’re now the proud owners of a fresh armoury of new business development materials:

They have long copy letters targeted by client segment that Drayton Bird (Mr long-copy guru) would be delighted with. They have corporate and personal bios on LinkedIn that reflect the personalities of the persons involved. They have follow up materials that rally the initial proposition, in style and tone as well as the content itself.

And, they have a web site. One different from stock IFA sites. A site carrying virtually oral qualities, written in digestible, relevant, informative prose. One of character, cadence and clarity.

Plain English, plain speaking, pure correspondence. Words that work.

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