10 tips for making yourself look bigger (with your copy, I mean… you people are disgusting!)
June 12, 2015 • Glenn Murray
They’re not like me, a freelance copywriter. It’s fine for me to say I work alone, because that’s what people expect of a freelancer. Indeed, I celebrate it. My clients like to know it’s me doing all the writing. They don’t want their complex IT copywriting or sensitive financial copywriting farmed out to a junior.
But when you’re a software vendor, an e-commerce retailer, a recruitment consultancy or real estate agency, for instance, readers often expect a little more. They want to feel there’ll always be someone there to take their call. That if their main contact gets hit by a bus, someone will still be able to help them. That you’re not going to go out of business in 6 months. That you have all your insurances and data security completely tied up. That you have a proven track-record.
So if you’re starting up in a field like this, you’re in a bit of a catch 22. You really have to ‘fake it til you make it’, but at the same time, you can’t say anything untrue or directly misleading.
If you’re in this situation, the following 10 tips will help you make yourself look bigger than you actually are…
1) Say “we” and “us”, not “I” and “me”
This isn’t as obvious as it sounds. Many people feel compelled to tell it like it is. If they work alone, they feel they have to say “I”. But you don’t. You can easily get away with saying “we”, even if it’s just you doing most of the work. In fact, people expect it. You probably do, yourself; a “Contact Us” page is completely natural, right? But a “Contact Me” page sounds a little strange.
2) Don’t say “we have 12 years’ experience”
If it’s just you and you’ve just started up, conveying your experience is tricky. You may personally have 12 years’ industry experience, but your company has none. So instead of saying “we have 12 years’ experience”, say things like, “built on 12 years’ experience” or “boasting more than a decade of industry expertise”. Both of these statements are true because they don’t actually say your company has 12 years’ experience. But your readers will infer that, which is exactly what you want. Then expand with something like, “Our director has worked in the financial services industry since…” or “Our director is a well-known veteran of the financial services industry…”
3) Talk about “combined years of experience”
If there are 2 or more of you in the business, talk about your “35 years of combined experience” and “35 years’ industry experience across the company”. Same logic as above.
4) Say “established”
If you find yourself scratching for things to say on your About page, say, “ACME electronics was established by Joe Blow in 2015”. This serves 2 purposes. Firstly, “established” is a good, strong word (remember, readers want to know you’re an established company). Plus it implies that there was something to establish, and it separates you from the business entity.
5) Change the subject
The above 3 points are particularly pertinent to your About Us page. That’s where readers will usually expect you to talk about your company history, your years of experience, your team, your locations, your offices, etc. Obviously you can’t do that, because you work from your garage and in your PJs. So after being a little creative as per the above, just change the subject. Go on to talk about talk about your values, your commitment to community and charity, your agility and responsiveness… Even your products or services. Anything you want, really, to pad the page out. (Sadly, the About page sometimes does need a bit of padding. Minimalism isn’t usually an option.) By the time the reader gets to this point, they’re not going to question why you’ve changed the subject. Plenty of About Us pages go a bit off-topic, so they won’t even notice.
6) Discuss “key personnel”
If you have to have an ‘Our Team’ page, make it about your ‘key personnel’. Most readers don’t really want to know about every single individual who works at your company anyway. Just the main people. So if it’s just you and your business partner, include a bio for each of you, but use a page heading like, “Key Personnel” or “Our Directors” or “Our Leadership Team” or “Management Team”. If your company is really just you, I’d avoid this page altogether, if you can. Unless you work with sub-contractors who are happy to appear on your website. Then see point 7 below…
7) Be vague about relationships
If you work with contractors and freelancers, include them on your ‘Our Team’ page. You don’t have to say they’re contractors or freelancers. Nor do you have to lie and say they’re employees. Just don’t specify the exact relationship. Include their photo, their job title, their experience, their job role, what value they offer clients, what their hobbies are, etc. People won’t even think to question whether they’re actually part of your company.
8) Talk about who you’ve personally worked with
If you’ve worked with some big brands as an employee, but your company hasn’t, you have to tread carefully. Particularly if your previous employer is a bit touchy. But in many cases, you’ll be able to get away with saying things like, “Our director has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including…” I wouldn’t say “we’ve worked with”, because “we” means the company.
9) Say it’s a family business
When people see “family business”, they think tradition and history. They think it’s been handed down through the generations. And in reality, any home-business is a family business. So you’re definitely not lying by saying this.
10) Say it’s Australian-owned and operated
When you state this outright, people infer that you have a reason for it. That you’re actually big enough and global enough to have to explain it. Let them think that.
How do you make yourself look bigger?
I’d love to hear how you make yourself (or your clients) look bigger and more established. Please share your tips and tricks by adding a comment below.