On the back wall of Webfor’s Main Street office in downtown Vancouver, Washington, there’s a simple motto painted in big gray letters: “We treat your business like it’s our own.” It’s one of the first things I see when I enter the office in the morning.
As a content writer, what does that motto mean to me, and how do I put it into action?
“We treat your business like it’s our own.”
Actually, it’s more than just a motto. It truly informs my approach to content writing each and every day — and for each and every client.
Treating Your Business Like It’s Our Own
At Webfor, we’re fortunate to be able to partner with a fantastically diverse group of businesses and business owners — attorneys, plumbers, electricians, auto body repair specialists, and arborists (just to name a few). Think of the tools used by these professionals: the law, pipe wrenches, wire strippers, stud welders, and harnesses for scaling enormous Pacific Northwest trees in order to shear giant branches off with sharp instruments.
How do I — a writer whose tools are a journalism degree (with a history minor!) and a laptop — treat all these different businesses like my own?
Short answer: I talk to our clients.
Long(er) answer: I use “the Google,” conduct interviews, study previous client content in order to internalize voice and style, and rely heavily on my knack for research to quickly familiarize myself with unfamiliar topics. Over time, as I interact more and more with our clients, the content I produce for them becomes more natural. I learn about their specific business specialties and the type of content that drives organic search traffic to their sites.
The goal is to write compelling, actionable content that reads as if it were written by the business owners themselves.
On a recent rainy fall day, I spoke with a client about revamping their homepage content. This particular client had purchased an existing business and wanted the company’s web content to be rebranded in order to better reflect the new owners’ vision.
Easy enough, I said. What are you looking for, specifically?
For the next few minutes, we brainstormed ideas, and I asked a lot of questions. What struck me most about the conversation is how we were both searching for ways to best express the changes this client wanted to bring to their website. It was wonderfully collaborative.
When I work with clients, I become a colleague — far more than just a hired hand. And in this case, we were both novices; the client was at the helm of a new business venture, and I was, too, since, as we’ve learned, Webfor treats our clients’ businesses like they’re our own.
That’s typically how it goes when I sit down to write content. By the time I start typing, I’ve already done a lot of research and — in most cases — spoken with the business owners themselves. I may not be able to replace the plumbing in your charming, mid-century modern, but I can write great content about replacing the plumbing in your charming, mid-century modern. And most importantly, with the help of the SEO and data experts on the Webfor team, I get readers to engage with that content and schedule some plumbing work!
One reason I enjoy working for Webfor: It kinda/sorta reminds me of my days as a reporter. As every journalist knows, one must excel at research and at simplifying concepts in order to write for a broad audience. I bring those same skills to Webfor: I research, talk to clients, and then figure out a way to tell that business’ story — which is now my business’ story. So content writing is a bit like being a reporter, an SEO expert, and a salesperson.
When I was studying at the University of Florida, one of my journalism professors said determining the newsworthiness of a story is often as simple as asking three questions:
- What happened?
- Why does it matter to readers?
- What can they do about it?
I sometimes ask modified versions of those three questions when I produce content for Webfor clients:
- What’s the product/service?
- What does it offer potential customers?
- How can they (buy it, order it, learn more about it, etc.)?
There’s much more to it than that, of course, but those are the basics. At Webfor, we truly strive to make our clients’ businesses our own. Hopefully, this little article gives you an idea of how we create quality content by keeping that important Webfor motto in mind.