The only ones who should wear pajamas outside are these guys.
This topic may cause you to dislike me. It might make me appear judgmental, snobbish, and holier-than-thou. I'm willing to take the risk because it's important.
"Who does she think she is," you might snarl as you wave your fist in the air, "to tell ME how my business looks? And anyway, these aren't pajamas~they're yoga pants!"
Let's Start with a Story...
I was enjoying an unexpected dinner out with my husband recently. As we sat in the steamy dining room of our favorite local Chinese restaurant, I watched the customers coming in. Upon arriving, they either nabbed an empty table or picked up paper sacks of food to take with them.
Even though I live in a rural area, I was surprised by how casually most were dressed. Jeans, yes. But sweatpants, yoga pants, plenty of flannel (not all of it clean looking) and more "relaxed" attire was the norm.
Call me old-school ('cause I am) but I was taught that when you leave the house, you get judged by how you look. In other words, holey, ripped clothes weren't allowed.
My mother and I once had a huge blowout fight about a pair of ripped jeans I wanted to wear to a concert as a teenager. I refused to take them off. She refused to take me while wearing them. Guess who won?
I spent the night writing angrily in my journal and blasting grunge music.
How We Write Matters to Our Business
As I watched people coming into the restaurant, it struck me: the way we dress is a form of communication. It tells the people around us something about us. Most of my fellow diners that night were saying, "comfort is more important to me than appearance". A couple were saying, "Stay away from me," and one was definitely shouting, "I love my pajamas and refuse to be constrained by public opinion!".
Have you ever considered how your business appears to others by the quality of its written content? As business owners, we wouldn't consider showing up at a meeting dressed in our Saturday-morning sweats. Why do the same thing with our website text, blog posts, newsletters or case studies?
The Case for an Expert Copywriter
"Oh, I don't need a writer." Many people over the past 12 years I've been writing professionally have told me this. "I'm working on a novel in my free time and I really like to write."
That may be. But writing is more than just getting words on paper (or a screen). It's about communicating efficiently and effectively with your audience. It takes more than the mechanical skill of being able to type. More than the practice of penning a novel or poetry in your free time.
Writing requires organization and the ability to curate and cull words and ideas. Very often it means doing a lot of research, then taking that research and creating a compelling narrative that draws readers in. Just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should. I can clean and bandage my son's finger after he stabs himself with a fondue skewer (which he did on Christmas--he's fine, thanks). Doesn't mean I'm a doctor or nurse.
Writing--like dress--communicates so much more about a business than many of us realize.
I've written before about writing effective content and whether it resembles more of a Snickers bar or a big pouf of cotton candy. I'm not here to tell you how to write or how to dress--it's a free country.
I would like to remind you though, of the importance of written communication in your business. If you're not saying the right thing at the right time, are you growing your business the way you want? Are you attracting the high-quality talent that you want?
Just like I don't trust myself to prepare my own income taxes, not everyone who can write, should.
This is why I love working with clients who "get it": those who already know the value that a professional copywriter offers and are ready to get started on the project--whether that's writing new website content, well-researched, SEO-rich blog posts, or sparkling clean newsletters to entice their clients.
I still don't leave the house without double-checking my appearance. For that I have my mother--and my mirror--to be grateful for.
What do you think? Am I putting too much emphasis on appearance? Do you believe that dressing--and writing--aren't as important as I believe? Please let me know in the comments.
Joy Choquette has been writing professionally from her home office in northwestern Vermont for more than a decade. She helps small business owners to cut through the clutter online by creating shareable stories and memorable messages that motivate customers to action. She specializes in the areas of business, environmental and health and wellness issues.