Your boss just walked in to say that you have to write copy for the company’s website. It must be compelling and convincing while triggering the customer to respond. The problem: you’re a Dutch technical expert, not a writer. And the technical product copy must be in English.
Technical product expert, novice writer
Your first reaction is ‘huh?’ You were hired for your knowledge and skills in an entirely different field. You know the English ‘jargon’ used in your field of work. Your emails in English do get the message across but are flawed with grammatical errors.
Should you protest? Probably not the right approach; you’re up for promotion and you want to keep your job. Although you work for a mid-sized (SME) company, the company always seems short-handed.
Your voice quivers while you answer: ‘Yes, I’ll do it. When’s the deadline?’
Deadlines keep getting shorter
It’s now Wednesday, 10 a.m., and your boss explains: ‘We need it by Thursday afternoon; and no later than 5 p.m. We want to translate your copy into 5 other languages. The piece should be published by Tuesday.’
You eye your sticky-note ‘to-do’ list. The short deadlines are circled in red. You open your mouth to ask for an extension, but your boss interjects: ‘This has priority because we just decided to launch the product next week, earlier than planned.’
Technical product copy within 24 hours
Seeing your dejected face, your boss offers help. His multilingual secretary will do the editing. Unfortunately, the secretary has a full schedule and asks you to hand in the copy for her review by Thursday morning 10 a.m. ‘So, I’ll only have time to make some changes, no rewriting.’
You take in a deep breath. Tell yourself: ‘stay calm.’ Not one written word and approximately 24 hours to go.
What to do?
One way to solve this dilemma is to pretend you’re having a conversion with one of your English-speaking customers. What would you tell the customer sitting across from you about the product? Write down that conversation in your own words.
For further tips, read this blog post now.
Call a copywriting buddy
Should your boss approach you regularly to write technical product copy for the website, you might want more copywriting advice. Have your boss hire an expert copywriter to teach you the tricks of the trade.
Your copywriting buddy,