Hideous home page,
valuable lesson

The sad part? I worked on this for a long time. At least five drafts, rounds of feedback, and hair-pulling sessions. I tweaked and chiseled and buffed it. And yet now, a few years later, I don’t even want to admit it was mine. Take a few minutes if you will and absorb:

So what makes this so facepalm-worthy now ? Have I developed that much as a writer? (Afraid not.) Did I find a litter of typos and grammatical errors? (Over my dead body!) Is it too wordy? (Yes: one could trash-compact the whole piece of puffery into one sentence). But what’s the real problem? Why is it such a personal-branding plane crash? It’s simple:

“Here’s what I’m going to tell you”
“What do you want to hear?”

Writing on behalf of a company is no different than talking to a friend. Are you the most interesting man in the world? No? Then nobody wants to hear you talk all about yourself! People want a dialogue, a listening ear, a sign of validation.

My old home page does none of that. Instead, it blathers on about my industry, my feelings, my hand-wringing, my needless neologisms. It should address potential customers’ and partners’ likely questions. But instead? It’s the full-page equivalent of Narcissus staring in the mirror and massaging his shaven chest with baby oil. BLECCCCHHH!

So fellow copywriters, content marketers, and corporate storytellers: don’t be a self-absorbed twat like I was! Get to know your customers. Learn their needs, address their concerns, and then? Shut up.

P.S. My apologies to any potential clients or employers who endured this reeking pile of online windbaggery. For a much better online me, please see my new mobile-friendly summary on LinkedIn.

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