Revamping the copy on my website to better explain our story/'why'. Hiring a copywriter, should I know this or can the copywriter help us discover it?

Essentially, I want to know if the copywriter can or should help us craft our 'why'.


This sort of depends on how established or large your company is, and what you want as your messaging. A good copywriter can certainly help you find *a* "why", though it might not be *the* "why" you actually began with. For example, if a web hosting company got started because two college roommates needed money to pay for tuition, that's a very important story, but it doesn't really sell as a "why". A good copywriter would come in and put some spin on it like "Steve and Dave knew starting their own business together would be hard, so they wanted to create something that would make entrepreneurship easier for others. At ACME web hosting, we make this our mission every day". It's now a great story, and sounds like a caring company... and it can even be true... but it's not actually the real reason the company started.

A good strategy is to cast your mind back to the feelings you had when you started your company. Just write them down as one word emotions, and then on a separate page, write down the emotions you feel about your company *now*. A good copywriter should be able to find a story in there, and help you position your company in the best possible light, even if through rose-tinted lenses.

Answered 11 years ago

I think the best answer is that it's a team effort. You know the facts of your story, but a good copywriter will transform the facts into something compelling, emotionally resonant and meaningful for the reader.

Answered 11 years ago

Without a doubt the copywriter should be helping you to discover the 'why'. One of the greatest copywriters to ever live was Gary Halbert. Not only did Gary write great copy, he spent his life helping clients reshape their questions to find the real answer. I have also been doing this for 20 years. You must ask good questions and the why questions are the most important questions of all. If there is a big enough, compelling 'why', people will find a way to buy.
Michael Irvin - Marketing Expert

Answered 11 years ago

A good copywriter can often see your business with a "fresh pair of eyes" and a new perspective, and offer some insight that maybe you overlooked.

I used to spend HOURS trying to find my USP... or my "why".

I'd try to think what was most unique about me, my business, my products,

But here's how I do it now.

First, I find out what the BIGGEST, most overwhelming problem is in my market... the one thing people want to solve/achieve OVER everything else.

Once I find that... I simply CREATE my USP to solve that.

Of course, I also think of what is currently being done in the market... and I really try to make myself stand out and be different.

But I no longer think about what I've DONE in order to find my USP... I think about what my market wants to DO.

Then, I create my USP based around that.

In other words... I try to position my business, and my "why" in order to help solve my target market's biggest problems or concerns.

Most marketers, when trying to find their USP... simply think about what they've DONE... as in "past tense"

But there's no reason you can't CREATE a NEW USP based on what you WANT to do in the FUTURE.

In other words, think of what you WANT to do and how you WANT to be unique... and CREATE your USP.

Invent it, based on what the market wants.

Think of the single biggest problem your market has and then invent your USP that makes you the solution to that problem.

So... your USP, or your "why" can be something you're not even doing right now... but COULD do better than anyone else.

Your USP is what makes you unique... why someone should choose you over the competition.

so if you can't think of something... create one. Invent it based on what the market wants solved.

It's nothing more than finding what the market wants... and positioning yourself as the solution... and also tying in something unique about you.

Bottom line.

What's the biggest problem in your market... and once you find it, create a unique solution that you and only you can offer...

This has worked well for me.

Answered 11 years ago

There's a lot of really good stuff here already, so I'll do my best to be brief:

The most successful brands figure out why they're in business and then they look for an intersection: the sweet spot where what they believe and value overlaps with what their target audience(s) believe and value.

Gary Halbert used a great thought exercise with his marketing students: "What advantages would you want to have to sell more hamburgers than your competitors?" He'd let them throw out answers like "high-quality beef" and "a great location" before he'd interject and say that the only one that he needed was a hungry crowd. In other words, you can totally nail your USP and still go broke trying to sell hamburgers in a vegetarian neighborhood.

So you start with the why (a la Sinek), then move to your audiences (your hungry crowds), and then move to that intersection of beliefs and values.

Then you craft a story and develop high-level brand messaging around that sweet spot.

This process works best as a, well, process, that happens with a cross-functional team at your organization—typically 2 4-hour sessions in-person. But you can also do an abbreviated version and get it 90% right (that is, good enough).

Hope this helps,
Austin Church

Answered 11 years ago

Just because a person can speak well doesn't mean they can sell a car. The same goes for writing.

Feel free to set up a call if you'd like a Forbes-Listed marketer to help you effectively craft your message.

Answered 11 years ago

The "how and why" is not something even the best copywriter can help you clarify. If you feel that the crux of your value proposition and reason for being is not connecting, that's likely because you are still either unsure of who your customer is, not sure of which features or benefits to emphasize, or other more core issues to your business.

I have a history of helping translate very complex ideas into simple to understand terms. Starting with how this thing called the "internet" (in 1995) was going to change the music business to how "social media" (in 2004) was going to change how fundraising works via many people giving small amounts of money.

I'd be happy to do a call with you to hear your "why" and see if I could help you get some added clarity.

Answered 11 years ago

It does sound like you need to get back to your USP - who do you help, why you help them and why they should pick you. There are many different types of copywriters and the first question they should ask you is "What do you want your website to achieve"? Any copywriter worth their fee would want to know about this before starting the work.

Answered 11 years ago

Quite simply, no. A copywriter cannot do this for you. In addition, your use of the words "us" and "our" is a red flag for me. The entire team together ALSO cannot craft this story.

It may feel good to use we/us language to signal that you are a team, but the stories that emerge that way are typically "design by committee" exercises in business vision/strategy. One person -- a founder, preferably the CEO -- needs to dictatorially define the vision and the why and persuade others to his/her way of thinking. Maybe not in long-form copy. Maybe in the form of a keynote address with slides. But the person offering the why has to truly own the story.

A copywriter can help you cast the story into a form suitable for an About page, but that's secondary. If you don't have a single dictatorial visionary who can tell the story, you have far bigger problems than a website About page.

Answered 11 years ago

Generally, a marketing consultant or strategist is the person who can help you define your brand, discover your unique selling proposition, understand your target audience(s), define your positioning, etc. The strategist can help you decide which story you want to tell, and why you should tell it. The strategist can work on the "whys" (why we were founded, why we do things this way, why you should hire us instead of the other guy, etc.)

The copywriter can take that story, and those "why" statements, and wordsmith them in a way that supports your brand identity and marketing strategy.

It's not unheard of to find both a crafty marketing strategist and a compelling copywriter inside the same body, but it's relatively rare. You will likely pay more for this breadth of service than you would for just a copywriter.

Answered 10 years ago

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