Creative ways to write about your practice
23 March, 2021
This is a new series about writing for the web. It’s a vast subject so I’m going to break it down, beginning with how to write that short piece of blurb or slogan that practices usually bury in the About section.
Start by thinking of this sentence as your ‘why’. What are the benefits of a client choosing you over someone else? Yes, you might be ‘award-winning’ and your architecture ‘sustainable’ but try and avoid jargon because these words say nothing about your personality or why someone should hire you.
As well as letting potential clients know what you do and why you do it, this short statement will also define your tone of voice. For example, if you describe yourself using formal and corporate language (which I don’t advise), then this needs to apply to all your content and communication with your online audience.
So how you do go about writing this?
One way is to hire someone to guide you. More and more practices are hiring consultants to help them with their written content, which is a good idea, and actually having someone who is not part of the practice to steer the conversation can be very productive.
But if this is not an option, set aside a Friday afternoon and get people who want to be involved around a table and start trying to answer the following questions:
- What’s your stand-out quality?
- Why should clients come to you rather than the competition?
- Who are you talking to?
- How do you want to be perceived?
Try not to get sidetracked by talking about specific buildings or projects. Also, try not to look at what your rivals are saying about themselves. Just think back to what your last client said when they hired you. After a few hours you should have some words that start to resonate – so write them down.
Next comes the tricky part of crafting this into a short sentence that begins to answer some of the questions above.
Then test the message and gauge the reactions. Do they work across all channels and do they work verbally as well as on paper? If you’ve ended up with two sentences instead of one, shorten it by removing the words that are just air – like ‘multidisciplinary’ and ‘innovative’.
And once you’re happy with the message, don’t bury it away in the About section. Treat it in the same way as your brand identity and have these words on your homepage so it’s always visible to first-time visitors.
Here’s some examples I really like (and are all on their homepages).
We make memorable places that inspire and delight
Ten out of ten for length while making clear its focus is wider than simply buildings. Using ‘we’ rather than ‘the practice’ is informal and inclusive.
Lifting everyday places out of the ordinary
Again, some real thought has gone into expressing the practice’s commitment to regeneration and housing while saying it has expertise in this area – all in just seven words.
This sounds more like a consumer slogan rather than for a practice and it’s not very informative but the words immediately grab your attention and sound like the start of a story.
How to describe what you do in one sentence is harder than it looks. But it’s also a basic first step to differentiating yourself from the competition and in a crowded market this has to be time well spent.
The Archiboo Awards will launch in June 2021