I've talked about the importance of making sure your small biz writing is customer-focused. But it's on my mind now (even more than usual) because I'm working on the module of my course that will dive deep into this topic.
I've got a simple gem of a tip in there that I wanted to share with you right now - because it's a beautifully simple way to gauge whether your messaging is on-track in the customer-focus department.
And here it is: Include twice as many 'YOU's as 'I's in your copy*.
This isn't something I want you to obsess over when you write your first draft. (If you're curious about why, it's all in that link.) Instead, think about it during the editing process, and adjust if necessary. If you're at (or above) a 2:1 ratio of 'YOU's vs 'I's, you're in good shape.
(Tip: If you're using Word, an easy way to tally the YOUs (which also captures the YOURs and YOURSELFs, which absolutely count) is to search your doc for the word 'YOU'. It will highlight every one, so you can easily count 'em up.
You'll have to count the Is manually though, because searching the same way will bring up every single letter I in your doc.)
Why is this important? Because your copy needs to do more than simply inform. Good small biz copy should also engage and create a connection with your readers. And you can't achieve that if all you do is talk about yourself (no matter how great you are - sorry!)
You definitely do want to tell them about you, but first - and most importantly - you want to demonstrate that you understand them and their need/challenge/concern. And talking less about YOU and more about THEM is a great way to do this.
One little word of caution: avoid telling people how they feel. This can backfire and send people packing - the opposite of your intended effect. Instead, use words like 'may' and 'probably', or phrases like 'I'm willing to bet... '.
Hope this trick works for you!
*Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but if you'd be more inclined to say 'we' as opposed to 'I', when referring to your business, search for that instead. Bonus: you CAN use the Word search tip to find 'em!
In case you missed it, I recently shared a doozy of a post outlining all the steps in my writing process, which works because it eliminates the barrier that makes for slow, stressful, and not-great writing. It even includes a completely free downloadable cheat sheet. Check it out here.
I'd also love it if you'd like to sign up for my emails - I send 'em occasionally, and always full of useful advice. Bonus: when you register, I'll send you a downloadable PDF with 6 (5 plus a bonus!) super common website mistakes (that you're proooobably making) and how to fix em.
Janet Nielsen is a communicator with a passion for helping small businesses succeed.