Do you remember the 1990’s Head & Shoulders commercials with the tagline, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?”
There were always two people hanging out and talking about some big event – a date, or an attractive suitor when one of the characters points out the others’ dandruff and tells them to use Head & Shoulders. The person with dandruff would exclaim in surprise,
“… but you don’t have dandruff?”
In which the advice-giver would say “EXACTLY” or “BINGO” … and queue the cheesy, baritone voiceover:
“Head & Shoulders … because you never get a second chance to make a first impression!”
Are you wondering what Head & Shoulders has to do with running your business? It’s more about the tagline:
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, could be more true when it comes to your business content.
The number one mistake you might be making in your business right now is NOT giving your content the priority it deserves. I want to share with you three reasons why CONTENT IS QUEEN in the business world and why it needs to be sitting on a throne at the top of your priority list.
1. Words = YOUR First Impression
Words and content that are written well with a purpose, a succinct point, the client in mind, and an amazing call to action can be magic. However, words written in haste with errors, no direction, and no structure can be distracting. They convey unprofessionalism and be a huge turn-off. What do you want your first impression to be? Are you rushing your content just to get it off your plate?
2. Words Do A Lot
Words do a lot – they sell, tell, connect and explain. They transport, captivate, connect, sell and convey. Too often we spend too much of our time getting the perfect picture for our page or post, and not enough time and effort into the words that accompany those images.
A picture hanging out by itself isn’t going to get someone to buy your product or service- how would the reader know where to buy it, how much it costs or what to do next?
3. A shared language with your client
Words are your shared language with your ideal client you are trying to reach. Use the wrong ones -bye bye sale, use the right ones and we’re moving in the right direction. You want to speak your client’s language right? Words can make or break your offer. Connect you or disconnect you. Make you relatable or miles away from your sale. Choose your words wisely.
(FYI to anyone trying to sell to me- use the word ‘tribe’ or ‘mama’ and you’ve probably lost me).
Thinking you might not be spending quite enough time on your content? Don’t worry, I’m not about to leave you high and dry.
Here are 5 quick ways to make sure your first impression doesn’t disappoint:
1. Always read things over again & Again
Nothing says ‘I don’t take my business seriously’ or ‘I didn’t spend much time on this’ like a glaring typo on the first page of your website or promotional piece. Spelling errors are bound to crop up now and then, especially because the pace at which content is being disseminated these days. Do yourself a favour, always read things over. On your signature items, products and website, be sure to triple check spelling. Have multiple people look things over because once you have read it a few times. It’s easy for your eyes to skip over things.
2. Write like you talk.
Too often as business owners as soon as we are asked to write something about our business – the boring corporate-speak comes out 😴. We definitely don’t want that! We want our readers to be excited, not exhausted, after reading something we have written. One trick I use is to read what I have written out loud. If you sound boring, are rushing through certain parts, or don’t have enough breath to finish the sentence, chances are you need some edits. Another approach: press record on your smartphone mic and just talk about what you want to write about. Sometimes when we talk, the words come out easier. Use your recording for inspiration and tweaks.
3. Subheadings, multiple paragraphs and bullet points
When people are reading online, they scan pages before they decide if they want to read them. If your business content is one long run-on paragraph, the reader will likely get bored and exit immediately. They have no idea what your page is about and will lose interest fast.
By using subheadings, multiple paragraphs and bullet points, you can break up your longer passages. Bring out or bold keywords and subjects – this makes it a lot easier for your readers to scan and absorb.
4. Limit your font use
The maximum number of fonts you should be using on a page is three. However, truthfully, you only need two. One font for your title. A second font for your body text. You should NEVER use a fancy or handwritten font for your body text or anything that you want your reader to absorb easily. Using handwritten fonts is much harder to read. Therefore, they should be used seldom – i.e. signing off your name on your blogs.
5. Always Include a call-to-action
Never leave your reader hanging at the end of your content. Tell the reader what you want them to do next. Do you want them to contact you? Go to a different page? Check out a product you have that connects with what they just read? Drop a comment? Remember, when you are writing content, you are talking to your potential customers. Be sure to leave them directions as to what they should do next (this also helps with traffic, time spent on your site and sales).
As you can see, content is a huge part of the impression you make on your audience.
You definitely want to make a good first impression. I know you won’t make this mistake in your business by neglecting your content! I hope you enjoyed these 5 tips to get you started … if you are looking for more content tips, check out my free download: Sales Copy Cheat Sheet to help you with your product and service descriptions or my 20 Awesome CTA Button Prompts.
From my kitchen table to yours,