These days one of my major projects is trying to re-write all of our divisional and product based information for a refresh of our corporate website. The current website is an embarrassment and makes us weep and moan and gnash our teeth. Fortunately, a Content Management System is being put in place, the website is being moved off of its 10-year-old .asp technology, and we’ll have a bit more control over what shows up there.
But the writing. Wow. It’s a lot of writing. Between my co-worker and me, and any other contributors we sucker in along the way, we’ll need to produce copy for some 50-75 webpages as part of the rewrite. It’ll probably grow to over a hundred by the time we identify all the extra things that we didn’t realize deserved their own webpage. For instance, a page talking about what standards we support may be added to the list.
We have tons of old whitepapers, datasheets, and other collateral that we can draw from. But you know what? They suck. Oh, I’m sure they’re perfectly adequate — heck, I wrote many of them — but the real problem is that many of them don’t actually say anything someone would want to read. It’s like the presentation I saw from another company the other day, whose subtitle was “Driving Value for our Clients.” That’s the best you could come up with? Or another slide I saw recently that claimed a product “utilizes leading edge technology to enable your company’s future.” Shoot me now.
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of lazy marketing writing. And it breeds upon itself. Use becomes utilize, suddenly you’re leveraging all of your best practices and your robust, scalable technology. Double-u, tee, eff, my friends. No one wants to read that!
So I’m determined not to let that happen to our stuff. Let me show you my first crack at making that happen. I started with this, pulled from a whitepaper I wrote years ago:
Nuance Recognizer is the network speech recognition software that increases the efficiency of self-service solutions to help companies deliver a consistently excellent customer experience.
Built upon the combined expertise, research, and code bases of the two market-leading speech engine providers, it delivers the industry’s highest recognition accuracy and enables natural, human-like conversations that drive more satisfying self-service interactions. Built-in load balancing, multitenancy, and centralized logging support more efficient use of computing resources. Centralized server management—with Operations, Administration and Management (OA&M) capabilities, reporting, and other analytical functions—simplifies deployment and maintenance of self-service solutions. Together these capabilities add up to unparalleled levels of accuracy, reliability, and ease of use that transform the way companies care for key constituents: customers, business partners, and even employees.
So, were you snoring after the first sentence? Why? It’s accurate, it’s communicating our positioning statement properly, it’s identifying a category for the product and promising a benefit, then backing it up with relevant features and claims. Any engineer and most marketers would marvel at how I’ve taken a very complex piece of software and boiled it down to a key message with a short summary of the most important features.
Well, how does it compare to my rewrite?
If you’re going to consistently deliver a great customer service experience, and you’re using speech to raise your containment rates, then you’ll need Nuance Recognizer. Nuance Recognizer is the software at the core of our contact center automation solutions. Built upon years of experience across six different product lines, this ninth-generation Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) engine is used around the world in over 54 different languages. It delivers the industry’s highest recognition accuracy even as it encourages natural, human-like conversations – the conversations that create more satisfying self-service interactions with your customers.
Do you like it better? I sure do. What makes it better, for me? Well, I’ve made it feel more relevant — I’m talking to you, not to “companies” or “organizations.” I get to the point faster — it’s cut down from 125 words to 91 words. I skip over some of the technical mumble jumble about OA&M, load balancing, and multitenancy — those can show up in the more detailed breakout sections later — and get right to the point. I make all three rhetorical arguments — logos, ethos, and pathos. And along the way I managed to use enough important keywords that SEO will be able to benefit. Oh, and I got rid of do-nothing words like enable, efficient, simplifies, and unparalleled.
Now, can we build the rest of the website like this? Maybe… if we enable our flexible value proposition and leverage our core assets with best practices. Sigh.