Don’t “we” on your copy

It's about YouIf you’re visiting a website is it
a) to read the history of the company, who designed its premises, and the number of widgets it can churn out on any given day? or
b) to solve a problem, find information or buy something?

Forgive my jumping to conclusions, but I would bet it’s b).  Simply because it is for most people.  Including your readers, O Wise Business Person.

Therefore there is a saying in the copywriting business: “Don’t ‘we’ on your copy”. In other words, don’t write about us, we, our, I, me, my… except on the About Us page. That’s what it’s there for. (At least I hope it’s there – it’s very useful for people researching who to send communications to, if it’s properly thought out.)

The same goes for any other business communication: speak to your reader as a person who needs a solution that you can supply, whatever that solution is.

Don’t bother them with unimportant facts – they probably don’t care when your factory was built, unless they’re industrial archaeologists or potential landlords. They definitely won’t care whose grandfather founded the business, unless he was really famous (in which case you can write about it in your blog). They want to know if you can get your widgets to them by yesterday for less than your competitors charge.

So use you, your, yours (yourser, yoursest – sorry, getting a bit carried away here) – no-one will mind if you ‘you’ all over the page.

Oh yes, and write to just one reader (“you” singular), because that’s typically who’ll be reading: one reader per screen, though potentially millions of screens at once.

If you follow this advice you’ll set yourself above the nine-tenths of businesses who navel-gaze. Solve one person’s problem, scratch an individual itch, and those ones will become millions.

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