Offering professional writing services is fraught with potential dilemmas, especially when it comes to expertise. No one can claim to be an expert in all fields that potential customers could want content written about but you can claim to be an expert in the actual writing process. Equipped with the skills to produce great quality text, the subject matter shouldn’t be an issue as writing about unfamiliar and unknown topics is all part and parcel of the fun and excitement of working in the industry. From my point of view an unfamiliar topic is often more exciting than what I’m regularly used to as it gives me a chance to research a new area, work on a whole new tone of voice and produce copy which is tailored to a subject I would never have expected to cover.
Over time, I have built up a few specialist areas which are mainly due to my main client base but I am in no means limited by these few areas and even more interestingly they are not areas I ever imagined myself specialising in. There is great satisfaction in the research process involved in a brand new topic area and I thrive on the pressure to deliver in an area which is completely new to me. Whether it’s a professional profile for a firm of actuaries or writing copy for a newsletter for a new crèche in my local area, the importance of research cannot be underestimated.
Approaching the Unknown: Copywriting about unfamiliar topics
When I am approached to start a new project or contract in an area I haven’t experienced before, after the initial rush of excitement, I make sure I have time dedicated to planning. It can easy to jump on Google and just search their specific keywords or terms and look for similar sites out there but that’s doing a disservice to your client. I believe if someone contacts me directly it’s because they want the personal service I offer and they don’t want me rehashing somebody else’s words and fitting them into their brief. The research and planning process of course involves looking into competitors’ sites and related searches but essentially, you should be able to get all the information you require from your client, even in the most basic terms, to ensure they are provided with a new website, weekly blog feature or newsletter which suits their needs, matches their company ethos and fits with the personality they present for their business. Whether you’re talking about fishing or pharmaceuticals should be irrelevant as it’s the person and their preferences that matter, to ensure their website or required copy represents them and their needs.
Acquainting yourself with the ins and outs of the business in question is of course necessary, you can’t get away with no research at all but you don’t need a PHD in a specific area to provide them with competent, well written copy which both gets their point across and carries the tone that they were looking for.
I adore writing the unknown, it adds a little variety to the day and shakes things up a little.