Why Your Freelance Writer Website Makes You Sound Like an Idiot (And How to Get Your True Voice Back)
Today, I’m welcoming guest blogger Sophie Lizard to Write Your Revolution. Thanks Sophie for such a refreshing, insightful article!
Your dream client is visiting your freelance writer website right now, while you’re reading this.
They heard about you, they think you sound awesome, and their budget is huge.
But… what they read on your website puts them off the idea. They don’t pick up the phone. They hit backspace, and they go somewhere else.
Do you want that to happen to you?
Of course not.
But it happens more often than you’d ever like to think. So let’s do something about that, today.
Why Your Website Makes You Sound Like an Idiot
I’m sorry. But it’s true about 90% of the time, so I’m saying it.
Your business website makes you come across like a dork with a thesaurus. Or a stuffy suit. A cheesy sales pitch. An inexperienced teenager. Or, worse, all of the above.
That’s because it doesn’t let your voice shine through. You’ve made one of these classic mistakes:
- Being too formal. A stilted tone leaves people feeling like they don’t know you at all.
- Being too pally. No text-speak, LOLcats or oversharing on your professional site!
- Being too pretentious and sales-y. Hyperbole and pressure tactics repel potential clients.
- Varying your tone wildly because you’re trying to please everyone.
- Writing about yourself in the third person: “Sophie Lizard is a freelance blogger and writer…”.
- Writing about yourself in the first person plural: “Email us and we’ll get right back to you…”.
- Having your writer site copy written by another writer.
There are exceptions to these guidelines – perhaps your freelance writer website really needs that ultra-formal tone to appeal to your target market.
But if you don’t have a clear and simple rationale for your choice of voice on your site, then it’s probably time you gave it some thought. For most writers online or offline, your true voice is your best bet whenever you’re writing about yourself.
Why Your True Voice is the Right Voice
A potential client visiting your website wants to know more about you.
That includes your personality, so that they can decide if they think you’ll be a good fit for their team. It also includes your ability to write a message that rings true for the reader. A clear, genuine message goes a long way, both in writing and in business.
What’s the message of your freelance writer website?
It’s “Hire me, I’m not an idiot”.
You don’t have to state it so bluntly –though I’d be tempted to hire someone who did!—and you can add whatever extra reasons you like, but proving that you’re not an idiot is top priority.
Inexperience can be overcome with enthusiasm and learning skills.
Ignorance can be overcome with research.
Idiocy, though, is not a starting point your client ever wants to consider. If you’re making one of those classic errors of voice on your business website, you may be triggering your potential client’s idiot alert and scaring them off.
How to Get Your True Voice Back
Don’t worry, you can fix this.
The problem is that the tone you’ve used on your website isn’t your true voice.
Here are 4 simple ways to improve it:
- Ask a friend to interview you about your career, your background and the services you offer. Use the interview as the basis of your web copy, preserving your natural tone when you edit.
- Read your current website copy aloud to someone who knows you well. Ask them to raise their hand every time you don’t sound like yourself, and you’ll soon see which sections of your copy might benefit from an edit.
- Define your target markets so that you know who you’re writing to attract. You only need your website to appeal to your ideal clients, so imagine the copy as a conversation with them alone.
- Look over the websites of freelance writers you admire. Analyse how they’ve infused the copy with their own voice, and note the successful elements you can emulate.
When you use your natural voice, potential clients have a better understanding of who you are. You’ll attract projects that suit you, and avoid wasting time on ones that don’t.
For once, it’s true: all you have to do is be yourself.
That’s gotta be the simplest assignment ever, so let’s get started and give your site some personality!
If you have questions, fire away; you’ll find me hanging out in the comments section.
Sophie Lizard is a freelance blogger and writer on a mission to help you increase your income through blogging for hire. Check out her free resource, The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs: 45 Blogs That Will Pay You $50 or More, to get started!