Why Are You Doing What You’re Doing?

By | October 10, 2014

I do a lot of writing for printers’ blogs, white papers, and, increasingly, their websites. There is a trend that I’m noticing that I think is very telling.

When it comes to blogs, I am starting to hear printers ask the question, “Why are we doing this? Who are we writing for? Are they reading what we’re posting?” A number of companies I work with are updating their websites as well, and I’m starting to hear them ask the same questions. “Do I really want to put out an online capabilities brochure like I’ve had for years? Or do I want something different? Who are we writing for? Is our website going to attract the kinds of buyers I really want?”

There are lots of clean, informative printers’ websites out there now. They talk about marketing services, they talk about variable data and database management, they talk about the benefits of sheetfed and inkjet printing. But they all sound pretty much the same. If I were to pull the copy off a dozen printers’ sites, even the best ones, I would be hard pressed to tell one print shop from another.

I have been going through an interesting exercise with one of my clients lately. They are updating their website and they contacted me about writing copy. But I had a suggestion first. Before I start writing, why don’t I interview key people within the company about who they sell to, how they sell, and what makes them different? When prospects contact them, what department are they calling from and at what level? Once I know these things, I can write copy that speaks directly to the kind of buyer they are looking for.

The more interviews I do, the more I am discovering that this company does, in fact, have a very distinct personality. They also have a sweet spot that’s not the same as other printers. It’s been a fun exercise, not just for me, but for the company, as well. They knew they had a company personality, but they hadn’t attempted to define it before. Now that understanding is driving the content on the site.

How about you? When someone comes to your website, what are they going to see?A company that is as unique as the people who comprise it? Or a company that looks pretty much like every other great company out there?



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2 thoughts on “Why Are You Doing What You’re Doing?

  1. Mike Porter

    You are absolutely right, Heidi. Most of the print service provider web sites I’ve seen are pretty much the same. They talk about the services they offer or their facilities and there is seldom any content that differentiates them from the competition. Also lacking is a compelling call to action. What I see most often are “request a quote” or “contact us” pages.

    It seems to me that print service providers would benefit from offering some useful information potential customers can download to help them make a decision about where to send their next job. If they aren’t ready to talk to a salesperson yet, give prospects another way to stay engaged or learn more about the next company that could be doing their printing. Whitepapers, guides, checklists, or case studies could fill this void.

    I suppose we all question whether anyone is reading. But failing to provide the information potential buyers are seeking in the early stages of their purchase decision probably results in missed opportunities.

  2. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    I am going to offer a plug here. I sell a variety of pre-written content, including 10-page white papers that printers can brand and use as their own. It becomes customized the moment they flow it into their own layouts, add their logos, and they are free to tweak the content as much as they want — it’s theirs.

    But if they want something even more customized, I can do interviews with their marketing or production teams, replace generic examples with their own company examples, and then it reflects their own unique company perspective and experience, as well.

    I know it’s a shameless plug, but I often get printers chastizing me, asking why they had no idea that I offer content they can use this way. So, here it is — I offer prewritten content you can use on your website, and I’ll customize it if you need me to. There! Now ya can’t say I didn’t tell you! 🙂


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