Category Archives: Writing

Kindling More Business: Website for a Fire Protection Company

Advanced Fire Protection Systems (AFPS) wanted a website they could get fired up about. They didn’t want to settle for the lackluster, made-from-template kind of websites their competitors used. So they came to us for a distinct website that captured their unique services and experiences as life safety system experts. Our challenge was to demonstrate their complete range of services and attract the customers that would benefit from a one-stop shop.

Full-Service Company

Most of AFPS’ competitors are not full-service. For example, they might only focus on the electrical part of fire alarm installation. Or they subcontract a lot of the project. In contrast, AFPS performs most of the work themselves as general contractors. This distinctive enables them to offer customers higher quality work for less time, money, and administrative overhead than their competitors.

Services at a Glance

AFPS offers at least 8 different services as a single source company. To highlight the variety, we created a homepage slider with an illustration for each of the high profile services. This gives customers a quick glance at how AFPS can help.

AFPS slider

Hometown Pros

Unlike many of their competitors, AFPS has deep roots in the area. The founder is a well-established technician with over 30 years of experience. Their certified staff can handle large-scope projects without needing to outsource. We emphasized their expertise with local landmark projects featured on the homepage.

AFPS projects

Interesting and Informative

Installing life safety systems is serious work, but we also wanted to add in a little fun. A “Did You Know?” section adds some human interest to the website. And customers can even learn about different kinds of fire extinguishers. AFPS doesn’t just train their team—they also educate the public.

AFPS Fun facts 2

Let the Words Flow

When it comes to content development strategy, every client is unique. Some want to create a first draft themselves, and ask us to edit for publication. Others know what they want to say, but feel more comfortable talking than writing. For AFPS, we started with conversations about their work. Our probing questions prompted enough ideas for us to write a first draft—and it fueled the content that emerged on the website.

Fan the Business Flame

While AFPS works hard to prevent fires, their new website is stoking up their business. If you want innovative marketing solutions for your company, then discover what our creativity can spark.

Easy Content Development

help for business owners who need to develop website content

The biggest task in creating a website is not the strategy, design, or technology: it’s the content. Most business owners put it off and hate to do it because it demands focus, requires precision, and exercises a muscle that may not have been used in quite a while.

If you’re not a natural writer, here’s how to get it done faster with less frustration.

1. Get a Writer

Partner with a detail-oriented person who likes turning ideas into the right words.

When we create websites with clients, often we often play the role of writer for hire. It’s fun to bring clarity and focus to big ideas. But if a client already has an in-house writer, we act as the editor to make sure the content has a second or third pair of eyes before publishing.

Tip: Don’t stop here. You can’t just throw money at this and expect it to work. I remember working with a client who shopped around and found a cheap writer to do his content development for him. I checked back after several weeks to see how it was going. “She’s a good writer,” he said, “but she gets a lot of the facts wrong. I end up having to redo her work.” No wonder. The poor girl had no insight into the company, and little knowledge of the material. So…

2. Set the Vision

In a single meeting you can set the vision for what you are trying to accomplish with the content. Decide on the audience, the scope of the information (how detailed), and look at some references of what’s already out there.

We’ve found that this is what business owners do best. Spend your time in this space. Nobody else can do this better than you can, so dig in.

Tip: Don’t get caught up in the design. When checking websites or browsing brochures, it’s easy (and fun) to get distracted by the visual design, the technology, the images, etc. To avoid this, just copy the content into a text document and discuss it in that context. Remember, you’re after words here, not design. Separating the two makes your task much easier. Design comes later.

3. Generate Ideas

Your job is generating ideas, not selecting the right words. Make an outline and generate a bulleted list of ideas that need to go on each page.

Tip: We’ve created a worksheet to help clients with this. If you’d like a copy, email us and ask for the Web Content Worksheet.

4. Test It Out

Once the writer has a draft, read it as if you were a prospective customer. Show it around the office. How does it feel? Where is it too detailed? Where is it too vague? Where does it over-promise? Where does it make you want to roll your eyes? It is really you?

Tip: Most early drafts suffer from too many words about the obvious. Work with the writer to get right to the point so readers have less to wade through.

Stay Up High

The nice thing about running your business is that you can decide when to stay at the high level and when to dive into the details. If words are not your thing, no worries. Stay focused on the big picture and we’ll help you with the rest. You’ve got a business to run. Do the fun part and leave the rest to others you trust.

Trying to Write but Nothing Happens

Writer’s Corner

I Should Write More (insert guilt)

Trying to Write but Nothing Happens

If you are responsible for marketing, then you need to write. Website copy, blog entries, newsletters, email campaigns, brochures, articles for publication…the list goes on. But writing is hard work. It requires focus. It demands full attention. Frankly, it’s not a great fit for a multi-tasking, interruption prone, hyper-connected, go-go world like ours.

And if you are in a small business, you wear so many hats that the number of potential interruptions is huge. Every person, every event, every email, every phone call another interruption that breaks your flow. And breaking flow kills writing (just ask John Cleese at 4:05).

And if you manage to conquer all of that, you are still left with the mental chatter that goes in when you sit down to write. You go into explore mode, brainstorming and mind-mapping, only to discover that someone accidentally invited Editor and he shows up to “just check in” and ends up criticizing everything before you even have it half-baked.

Protected Space for Writing

That’s why we started Writer’s Corner, a simple way to protect the space for writers. It’s simple and cheap.

  • Gather with a few other folks in a quiet space.
  • Sit down.
  • Write.

Then if you want some feedback, fresh perspective, or coaching, you can get that too. Bonus.

Even if you don’t write for your company, but writing is something you need more time to do, this could give you some accountability (and overcome some of that guilt).

If the idea resonates with you, and you’re in the Baltimore area, contact me and we’ll talk details.