As a website writer, I typically interview the client to gather information for a project. I’ve already posted about some of the data I collect to identify the unique value of a company (“Prove It: A Content Writer’s Recommendations”).
That usually comes later in our discussion, however. To kick off my web writer interview, I almost always start with a more general request: “Tell me about your business.”
Isn’t It Obvious?
Let’s back up a moment. Before I begin an interview, I usually know a lot about the client’s company. I’ve reviewed the existing website and promotional materials, and I’ve gotten to learn about the business through preliminary conversations before I’m hired as a web writer.
Also, if the client is a lawyer, a dentist, or a doctor, the work he / she does may seem pretty straightforward. Some clients are unsure of how to talk about themselves since–on the surface–their job seems so obvious.
So why do I make such a basic request?
Simplify. Identify. Emphasize.
Great websites make it clear what they offer, who they serve, and where the value is. In many cases, a client’s existing website never states this offering clearly.
Businesses often become so involved in their day-to-day work that they don’t have time to consider who they are, what their mission is, and how to state this in a compelling way for their site visitors.
That’s part of my job as a web writer. Often when I say, “Tell me about your business,” clients respond in different ways:
- Some describe their history and their company culture.
- Clients in medical, manufacturing, and technology may discuss their work using highly-technical terms.
- A few companies restate their job, location, and basic statistics: “We are a legal practice in Atlanta, Georgia with over a hundred attorneys.”
I’ll usually ask for additional details or reply with follow-up questions. As we work through the response together, I start identifying how the client sees the company: what makes it different, what makes it valuable, what its core mission is, and why customers should rely on it.
As a web writer, I take the client’s answers and develop them into a succinct statement about the business. I carry this theme through the website so that visitors always know why they should choose the company.
This request to describe one’s business, more than any other part of the interview, has yielded great insights into what distinguishes a client from others in the industry, what values are important to the business, and what the site should say to customers.
It may be a simple way to start… but it’s important to know who you are.
To learn more about my work as a web writer, get in touch.