Back in the halcyon days of SEO, Fathom’s slogan once was The power of words. And with good reason: Keywords on your website and in links pointing to it told Google what your business was about (and by extension, the people who searched for businesses like it). Yes, words were quite powerful in classic SEO… and presented relatively simple ways to manipulate Google.
Let’s fast-forward to today. Jill Konrath—sought-after sales speaker, author and educator—just launched a redesign of her website. Post-launch, she wrote on her blog about agonizing over choosing the right words to describe her business and its value proposition (for the record, she now wants to emphasize her speaking). She nails the point about understanding your audience and choosing words that carefully match its own language and worldview. As I’ve written many times before, knowing your audience and communicating on its terms are what separates ‘A’ marketers (and sales professionals) from the losers. Konrath gets it, and her message is loud and clear not just in this new blog post, but historically in her books and sales training materials: Be concise, or lose business.
Speaking of concise, that’s exactly what her new website is. The emphasis on speaking is undeniable, from the large background image on her homepage to the first top navigation option to her first bio header below the fold: “Keynote speaker.” Then again in the second sentence of her concise bio paragraph: “Jill is a frequent speaker at sales conferences and kick-off meetings.”
Again, note the concision of her homepage bio paragraph: 3 sentences. This allows users to keep scrolling to find other important information … in this case, her resources. At the same time, she offers a call-to-action link to learn more on a full bio page that succinctly categorizes her multiple identities of speaker (there’s that word again), author, and thought leader. Yet she’s still holding back! In order to keep this page clean, she has (and appropriately links to) a separate page about her professional background, where she goes deeper into her career path with the human touch of personal insights.
The fact that she splits her bio into two, even three, separate areas demonstrates Konrath’s concision not only in the words she chooses for each sentence and number of words per page, but also on the page level of the site’s actual information architecture. Form is truly following function. Designers will also notice the judicious use of white space throughout the site, cleanly (and yes, concisely) framing her carefully chosen words.
Finally, worth noting is the fact that she calls writing a “constant process of iteration” (just like website updates, I might add). Good writers—along with marketers and sales pros—revise because they always want to be mindful of the words they’re choosing:
“Whether it’s an email, a voicemail, a conversation or a website, we have to constantly be fine-tuning what we say and how we say it.”
To that I say, “Amen, Jill!”
Full disclosure: Jill Konrath has spoken at Fathom and been interviewed by our own Brad Miller (video). We cannot recommend her highly enough.
Download Fathom’s content brand voice questionnaire (Microsoft Word) to speak a unified message.