Companies develop a lot of content, and creative services teams want to make the content readable, accurate, and engaging. There’s just one problem: it’s really difficult! Many customers are not shy when they give feedback–especially if a manual, web page, or video is confusing and inaccurate. Creative services departments have a choice: develop the content in-house or seek a freelancer. Fortunately for me (and my colleagues), businesses trust freelance copywriters and content strategists to create accurate and readable content.
I’ve been a freelance consultant for businesses of all sizes, but my most recent project was a bellwether for how I balance accuracy and readability.
I recently helped rewrite Blount International’s Oregon Products e-commerce website content. Fortunately, I’ve worked with Oregon’s creative team for several years. The website rewrite was led by detail-oriented global brand manager superheroes Laurie Barton and Jason Williamson, and ably supported by collaborative rock stars like Matile Weddel and Pam Dowell.
Oregon makes several different types of chainsaw chain. Each chain has several chain “types” and each chain has different applications, depending on the type of woodcutting you need to do. The goal was to help guide the buyer’s journey through heading, category, and product pages. I had to keep SEO and UX practices in mind, as well.
The first set of pages I worked on is for one of their core customer groups: professional woodcutters who use Oregon PowerCut chainsaw chain and chainsaw bars.
Tossing in a few bullets about how well chain cuts would wouldn’t, uh, cut it. Going into exhaustive detail about kickback, gauge, and whether the chain is a “skip” or not also wouldn’t work.
I needed to translate the pitch/gauge/sequence options (accuracy) while still engaging the professional target audience (readability). I paid close attention to character count limitations. Finally, I wanted the page to be as “buyer friendly” as possible.*
This is how I did it:
I wasn’t constrained by character counts for all of the pages, and I was encouraged to create content that would highlight benefits and features. Here’s two examples (from Oregon’s 40V consumer outdoor power equipment line):
This project took about two months to complete, with an intense sprint at the end (that’s a topic for another blog post). Jason Williamson told me that, “everyone was complimentary of your work on the website.” Laurie Barton said, “Thanks for all of your help on the copy. We really appreciate it.”
“Everyone was complimentary of your work on the website.” –Jason Williamson, Creative Services Manager
“Thanks for all of your help on the copy. We really appreciate it.” –Laurie Barton, Global Director of Marketing
*The website content went through quality assurance reviews by multiple teams. This includes rigorous reviews by product managers who know everything about chain pitch, gauge, sequence, and many other details you or I would never consider.