The way we write says a lot about us. Through words, we can convey our personality, our passion, our positivity. Getting those words right is important, especially when we are using those words to market ourselves. It’s a competitive world out there and words can give us the edge when it comes to catching a prospective client’s eye. And it’s not just about competing within the industry; CAM practitioners often have the extra challenge of competing with a free healthcare system.
So, how do you go about choosing the right words? First of all, it’s about identifying who you think your client will be. Educated/affluent people tend to choose CAM, so you need to ‘speak’ to them and answer some of the questions about your particular field which they might ask if you were speaking on the phone or meeting face-to-face. Then, you need to tell them why they should choose you – what makes you different. Keep it clear and concise. Often, when a client first comes to me, we talk about what sort of image they want their words to project and how we can use this to make them stand out from the crowd. Think about this too.
When you’ve written your copy, put it to one side for a day or two and then come back and read it again. You’ll probably be surprised by how many mistakes you find, even if you’re writing in a Word document. Spellchecker and Grammarchecker don’t pick up wrong words – for example, ‘even through’ and ‘even though’ both make perfect sense in the right context, but only one would be the right one for you. Often, when we write something ourselves, we are too close to it to see the mistakes. An expert pair of eyes can spot these and eliminate misunderstandings. For non-native English speakers, the need for a proofreader is greater as writing in a second language is hard to get right, even for those who are essentially bilingual. It can be word order. Or when to use ‘a’ or ‘the’ in front of a noun – for example, ‘we went to a/the cafe’ rather than ‘we went to cafe’. And I have a French travel-writing client, who, whenever he writes about going on a trip, ‘makes’ his suitcases rather than packs them – a direct translation of the French ‘faire des valises’. By now, he must have a houseful of handmade suitcases!
Well written text is like a business card. It introduces you and says a lot about you. If you take care with your communication, you are showing you pay attention to detail and this projects well to the client.
Rosemary Carr is a proofreader and editor at Exactus Solutions Ltd., with a special interest in CAM. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org