This is less of a blog, and more of a thank you note.
I’ve been known to say that ‘I like a challenge’, but some would say that launching a new business in the midst of a pandemic and a financial downturn bordered closer to insanity than bravery!
As has been repeatedly said over the last few months, 2020 is a year like no other. Whilst there are some parts of it that I will be glad to forget, setting up WordPlay Creative won’t be one of them. I have been truly humbled by the support of friends, family and former colleagues for my new venture, and really touched by the feedback I have received from the incredible businesses who have become my clients.
So, in this brief note before taking a giant leap into the limited festivities that this year has to offer, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who has provided practical and moral support; thank you to everyone who has put their trust in me to promote and support their businesses; and thank you to everyone who has championed the need for effective communications at a time when we have been physically more out of touch than ever before.
I will be raising a glass to each and every one of you wonderful people this Christmas, and am looking forward to the exciting opportunities that next year has in store.
Have a fantastic Christmas, spend quality time with your loved ones (if only virtually), and here’s hoping that happier and healthier times lie ahead in 2021.
See you on 4th January!
Are you singing from the same hymn sheet (or Christmas carol book) as your customers?
If your messages are going unanswered, the chances are that you’re not. Never fear – I’m here to help.
A festive faux-pas
Let me start with a little anecdote.
Since Lockdown 2.0 lifted, I’ve been making an effort to support the independent shops and businesses near me. Walking into one shop earlier this week, I overheard the manager telling a colleague about a range of Christmas cards that had been withdrawn from sale. It turns out that the cards, which featured festive greetings in multiple languages, also featured a number of spelling mistakes. They had stopped selling the cards in case they caused offence to any native speakers of the misspelt languages.
I’m not bilingual or multilingual, and so I probably wouldn’t have noticed the spelling mistakes in other languages, but I would have noticed if ‘Merry Christmas’ was spelt incorrectly. That’s because, as an English-speaker, the words written in English are there for my benefit.
If you don’t speak the same language as your customers, supporters or clients, there are difficult times ahead. The wrong words can miss their target altogether, cause misunderstandings or, worse still, cause offence. If you want your audience to listen and respond positively to you and your business, you need to be speaking the same language.
Learn the lingo
Different words mean different things to different people, and words that can make perfect sense to one person can mean nothing at all to someone else.
Language barriers exist everywhere, even when you are speaking the same native language. Industry jargon, regional dialects, slang, accents and phrasing can all affect whether or not your message is received and understood. If you’ve ever struggled to understand someone with a completely different accent to your own – even though the words they are using are familiar to you – you’ll know what I mean.
Understanding your audience, and using the same version of the language that they do, is crucial. Otherwise, it’s just not going to work.
Show that you understand
By putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, you can begin to understand what is important to them, and what they are looking for from your products and services.
An easy way of doing this is to look at your customers’ ‘pain’ and ‘gain’ points.
Let’s say you run a business selling coats. One of your customers may have learnt the hard way that their existing coat isn’t waterproof, and so is looking to you to provide them with a solution that will keep them dry on wet days – your waterproof coat is addressing their ‘pain’ of getting soaked through in the rain.
Another customer may have a perfectly serviceable waterproof coat, but has seen that you sell a waterproof coat in their favourite colour that has a detachable lining to make it adaptable for both warmer and cooler weather. In this case, your coat is giving the customer additional benefits, meaning that they ‘gain’ by purchasing it.
Understanding and communicating the ‘why’ of your customers’ purchases as well as the ‘what’ puts you in a strong position to get your message heard. If your customers value staying dry, being colourful and being neither too hot not too cold, then make sure you tell them that your coat can provide all of those things.
Message received and understood
To sum up, there are two things you need to do to get your message heard and understood:
- Use the language of your customers, so that they can easily understand you;
- Show that you understand what they are looking for, and why.
By communicating the right things to your audience, using the right words, you are on to a winner.
What do the right words cost?
Some of my new clients are surprised when I tell them that I don’t charge by the hour or by the word. But there is a reason for that.
The beauty of bespoke
I don’t offer a ‘one size fits all’ service, so I don’t charge a ‘one size fits all’ price. I work with my clients to deliver exactly what works for them and their business, and charge them accordingly. I deliver bespoke work for a bespoke price.
One of the best things about working with different businesses is that they are all unique, meaning that the words they need will be unique too. That’s why you won’t find me offering set price packages on other sites – I’m a perfectionist on your behalf, and won’t compromise on the quality of work that I deliver for you in order to compartmentalise it into a format or number of words that someone else has decided is a good idea. I will write what works for you.
Only the right words will do
My passion is putting the right words in front of the right people – not the right number of words, or words that are as right as I can get them within a set number of hours.
If the most effective thing for your business would be to have one more or one less word, wouldn’t you rather have that than an exact number of words? And if it takes me slightly longer to craft the perfect copy than expected, I don’t want to have to charge you for that. You’re paying me to do a job, not a set number of hours.
Don’t get me wrong – some jobs have word or character limits for a reason, perhaps because of where the words are to be used, and of course that’s fine. I’ll also always factor in time for any revisions and, most importantly, when I agree to a deadline, I will stick to it.
A journey of discovery
When, in the past, I have worked in-house for businesses who outsourced work to agencies and freelancers, my biggest frustration was when those third parties didn’t take the time to understand the business they were writing about. This often led to wasted time and money spent re-writing copy, piling on pressure to meet tight deadlines and causing irritation all round.
I don’t want my clients to have that experience, which I why I invite them to partake in a free discovery call before I even quote for the work. I want to understand what is important to that business – what their objectives are, what key messages they want to get across, and the words that they do or don’t want to use to describe their products and services, and which set them apart from their competitors.
I want to get things right for my clients, and that means taking the time to get to know them. This avoids the potential confusion and embarrassment of either party getting the wrong end of the stick, and reduces the risk of needing costly and time-consuming rewrites.
Curious about how I could help?
If you’d like to find out how I could put the right words in front of the right people for your business – and how much that will cost – then please get in touch. I don’t charge for discovery calls or quotes, and there’s no obligation to go ahead if we’re not the right fit for each other. Simply tell me what you’re looking for, ask any questions you might have, and I’ll let you know if I can help.
Perhaps we’ll speak soon!