Last weekend after a full day of blogging for clients I was catching up with a friend, and he asked me what my weekend had in store.
I casually explained that I was spending the weekend writing about employment repudiation, HR handbooks, separation agreements and the COVID-19 vaccine, Christian women's entrepreneurship, learning design, and pharmaceutical compliance.
Rather than express surprise (he knows my work well enough to know that it's never boring), he posed an interesting follow-up question: with such varied clients and topics, how do I keep all of the voices separate?
To be honest, it's something that I had never really given much thought before, but he took me on a bit of a deep dive.
Despite my own boxy feet, I tend to wind up wearing a number of different pairs of shoes when I’m writing.
First, I need to step into my client’s shoes. My time as a journalist taught me how important it is to know a little bit about everything, and as I jokingly add ‘a whole lot of nothing.’ The same applies with my clients - I will never know as much about your business as you do, but I need to understand it well enough to be able to convey it on the page. I need to step into your shoes so that I can understand who you are, why you do what you do, and what it is that makes you special. To be honest, that’s really about the extent of what your clients need to know at the outset.
That’s my other pair of shoes in the process - your client’s. Once I have a decent understanding of what your business is and how it works, I take another step back and think “okay, what do your clients need to know to get through the door?'“. They may understand the inner workings of your business if they’re familiar with your industry, but in many cases they may not. For my lawyer clients, many of their clients may be well-familiar with their work, but others may have never hired a lawyer before and may have no idea what to look for.
That is why whenever I write I try to be very careful with the language that I use. There may be common terms within your field, but remember - your client may not understand what they mean.
What’s more - they may be too shy or intimidated to admit that openly. It’s always better to take a few extra lines to explain a key concept than to have them nodding along trying to hide the fact that they do not understand what you’re saying. Your clients will notice that you’ve taken the time to help them understand, and it instantly makes your business more relatable than your competitors.
This is also why I tell stories. People understand them, they can relate to them, and they can help anyone make sense of a complicated situation. What’s more, they see themselves in stories, and those stories help them connect with your business.
I’d love to learn your story, and work with you to help tell it better.
Let's connect. Bring your shoes.