Have you ever visited a website and been really turned-off by the content? It happens more often than you might think! There are many reasons why content can suck – but one of the major contributing factors is lack of authenticity.
“It just sounds fake”
There’s a good psychological reason why companies use fakery in their online content. In order to stand out in a competitive online world, you need to impress, dazzle and delight. So it makes sense to exaggerate a little, right?
In some cases, there’s nothing wrong with creating a bit of hype. However, if it doesn’t ring true, it’s likely to put customers off. After all, if they can’t trust your content, why should they trust your business?
What Makes Content Authentic?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule to how you should write your copy. Every business is different, and requires a different style. But as a general rule, here’s some things you should keep in mind.
- Don’t lie. There’s no point whatsoever, as you’ll only get found out in the long run. The same applies for deliberately misleading your customers. For example, if you’re concerned that clients will be put off by the fact that you’re a one-man band – don’t make up a story about having a huge team. Don’t trick them with artful wording, implying you’ve got a crew of hundreds working for you. In fact, just don’t draw attention to it at all.
- Don’t use an artificial voice. The best content tends to have a strong, authentic voice. If you’re writing in a style that feels ‘wrong’ to you, chances are it’ll sound wrong when it’s read too. As Shakespeare so famously wrote – ‘to thine own self be true’. It’s good advice, and it still rings true to this day.
- Don’t omit important information. In order to impress your audience (and convince them to buy) it’s tempting to leave out information that might not be so appealing. For example, if your product is expensive, you might choose to simply put ‘price on request’ or gloss over its cost. However, we’d personally recommend against this approach. Be honest and upfront with your customers. They’ll respect you more for it.
- Don’t go over the top. Hyperboles, exaggeration and false flattery all smack of inauthenticity. By all means, tell your customers why your products and services rock. But please, please, please don’t hype them up so much that it becomes unbelievable. And remember, no-one likes a braggart (so even if you are the greatest, keep it under your hat).
- Don’t copy others. They say copying is the sincerest form of flattery. It also shows readers that you’re unoriginal and even worse, not above stealing content from your competitors. You might admire another company’s style – and there’s nothing wrong with using their tone for inspiration. But don’t rip it off totally – it’s unethical and it won’t do your business any good.
Copywriting in Devon