I need a small business copywriter…

We work with loads of small businesses to help them grow and develop. Want to know the key to small business copywriting? It’s thinking big…

Napoleon may have had a point when the pint-sized dictator called us a nation of shopkeepers. Today, there are over 5.9 million small businesses in the UK. That’s almost one business for every 10 people in the UK.

From copywriting agencies to cleaners there are businesses everywhere you look. What unifies the majority of businesses – aside from a desire to make money – is that most are doing their business online.

Those businesses without a website could be missing out massively. A (quite frankly preposterous) piece of research from 2017 estimates that small businesses could be losing out on billions every year by not having a website. While we consider those figures to be more about as honest as a Jimmy Carr tax return, having a website means needing content.

Here are five tips to improve your small business copywriting.

  1. Work with a professional

We would say this, wouldn’t we? But an experienced copywriter will be able to package your market proposition quickly, easily and professionally.

Try to find one who understands your business and your sector. Ask questions, get references and *always* get a quote. (Did we say we list our costs online?)

2. Tell a story

People like a story. Something with a beginning, a middle and an end. Or to think about it in a different way, a problem, a solution and an outcome.

Whatever business or sector you are in, think about the solution you’re selling and an outcome.

Hardware stores don’t sell screws. They sell the joy of a a picture hung on a wall. The smooth running of a kitchen cabinet. A door that opens and closes, but never sticks.

Copywriting should be imaginative, vivid and tell a story. But…

3. Keep it simple

The average reader is, well, average. George Carlin, the US comedian had it right when he said: “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

It’s funny, because it’s true. The advice here is to never over-estimate the intelligence of your reader. You do so at your peril.

Start from first principles and work up. Keep content clear, accurate, straightforward and simple. It’s the basis of success.

4. Create a message hierarchy

Your site should have consistent messaging that propels visitors to think what you want them to think, and do what you want them to do.

A message hierarchy is a fancy description for a list of key messages that you want to convey to your customers. You start with the single most important message (we’re the best, we’re the cheapest etc.) and then list the supporting messages underneath.

Big brands spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and pounds creating detailed playbooks full of information on customers, audiences, wants and desires. You don’t need to do this, but sitting down with a pen and a paper to craft messages will help you think about all aspects of your business.

Once you’ve established your message hierarchy, use this to guide your content and website copy.

5. Respect the pyramid

The Pyramid Principle is an old book, but like the pyramids themselves, has endured. The concept is that in writing, you organise your thoughts into pyramids with a single point at the top, and an explanation underneath.

The idea is to focus your effort on creating copy that is logical and clear, not jumbled and confusing. Each section should have a clear purpose, point and outcome.

Need a Bristol copywriter?

If you’ve read this far, then you’ll probably have a good idea whether you want to have a crack at creating small business content yourself or working with a professional. We always encourage small business owners to write their own copy first, because you’re the experts in your field, not us.

If you find the results aren’t as good as you expected, then get in touch with us. You’ll find our words and our work embody everything we’ve outlined above. Whether you’re a start-up or SME, our content professionals are here to help.

See more posts