This past month I’ve been busy writing web copy for several local businesses. And when these clients come to me for help, they often say the same thing:
"I just can’t seem to write about my own business."
They find that they can write fluently and convincingly about any other topic. But when it comes to their own enterprise, they hit a writing wall.
Now, this seems counterintuitive. Who better to write about your business than you—the founder, owner, or CEO? Who else knows all of the details that make your business important, unique, and attractive to customers?
But that’s just the thing.
As entrepreneurs, we know our businesses too well.
Your mental image of your business includes so much history and daily rigamarole that it’s hard for you to identify the parts of your own story that are meaningful to outsiders. In fact, often the things my clients think are least important actually make for the most impactful content.
If you think about it, some professions are good at admitting their blind spots. Doctors and psychologists tend not to treat themselves or their family members because emotional involvement hampers objectivity. Business coaches often hire business coaches themselves because an outside perspective can better identify both problems and opportunities.
So how can you check your blind spots?
Of course, the best thing to do is hire an outsider. Whether it’s a copywriter like myself or a logo designer or a business coach, find professionals who know what questions to ask to bring out the true power and uniqueness of your brand.
The next best thing (which can be used in conjunction with those professionals) is to ask around. Ask your customers what they love most about your business. Ask your colleagues or friends what stories about your business they remember most clearly. Ask your Uncle Gary what it is he thinks you do and why it’s important.
In a nutshell, get outside of your business to understand your business better. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
P.S. Check out this "This American Life" episode for some funny and poignant riffs on this concept. Ira Glass interviewing Molly Ringwald? Yes, please!