Three Copy Mistakes Translators Make with Their Website Content and What to Do About It

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We are word people, many of us through and through. We express ourselves best through the written word.

And while we do focus quite a bit on finding just the right term or phrase for a given concept, that doesn't mean that we write marketing copy as well as we translate.

Some would even argue that translators should stick to translation. I would argue that translators can (and should!) learn to write great marketing copy as well. After all, not all freelancers have a large enough marketing budget to hire a copywriter to create all of their marketing content. Since we often rely on our own ways with words, it’s important to first take a look at some of the ways we can easily miss the mark when it comes to the copy we write for our own businesses.

Here are three copy mistakes translators make in their web copy and what to do about it.

Mistake 1: Writing too much content

A lot of times we fall into the habit of wanting to give too many details. We think we need to tell those who land on our website everything about how we came to be translators. We think we need to write copy that reflects exactly what’s on our resumes.

Trust me. Having too much copy on your website means that clients will have to sift through it all to find what they need. Is that something you would want to do when you land on a website? Your clients don’t want to do that either! By writing too much content, you run the risk of losing potential clients.

Instead, focus on this solution.

Solution: In two words: write less. More concretely, keep the copy on your site to a minimum. You do not have to tell clients everyone everything about you as soon as they land on your website. A couple of my students in the T&I Website Blueprint Course said to me, “But I want to be honest and let them know why I’m qualified.” Well, of course! But you can still be honest and show your qualifications without writing a novel on your home page. As the saying goes, "Don't show all your cards." Save some of the information about your background and knowledge on a given topic for the conversations you’ll have with a potential client. Use this information to help create a business relationship over time.

Having white space on your website is a good thing. It guides the reader eyes to know where to look next. It is less overwhelming than having a lot of copy. And aesthetically, it’s much more pleasing to the reader’s eye.

Mistake 2: Writing about themselves instead of to their ideal clients

I see this mistake more often than I’d like to admit. Many translators (and other freelancers, for that matter) talk about themselves more than they talk to their ideal clients. Take a look at your website copy and find all the ways you write about yourself (using the pronoun “I”). Then, look at all the ways you write to your clients (using the pronoun “you”).

Does your copy read more like an autobiography than a friendly conversation? If so, it’s time to update that content!

Solution: If you are going to write to your clients, you have to know something about them. It is important to mentally gather this information and write your copy as if you are having a conversation with the reader. Show that you understand your ideal clients in your web copy and talk about how you can help them.

Again, this isn’t the time to tell your clients everything at once. They don't want to know the "how" about what you do. They want to know the "why" that helps them reach the results they wish to achieve.

Mistake 3: Not focusing on what their ideal clients want to know

This is another one of those mistakes I see quite often when browsing translators’ websites. There seems to be a disconnect between what a lot of translators tell their potential clients and what their potential clients are actually looking for. Yes, it’s important for a client to know you’re qualified. But no… they don’t necessarily need to know your life story and why you chose to study languages (unless it’s relevant, of course!).

Solution: This is somewhat similar to number 2 above, but a client you want to work with for the long-term is probably also looking for a long-term solution to a problem they currently have. That's why you have to make your words count! Think about who your clients are.

What do they struggle with? What are their goals? What do they get out of working with a professional translator beyond the translation itself? Maybe it’s the ability to tap into a new market. Maybe it’s the opportunity to close a deal with a new customer. Maybe it’s a way to market their programs to international students. Whatever your clients are looking to achieve by working with you is what creates your value to them.

Instead of focusing on what you think your clients want to know when they land on your website, take the time to ask them what they look for in hiring a professional translator. Talk to your clients about their challenges and goals. If you are an interpreter, you could even make your "About" page of your website a brief video of you talking to your clients instead of a series of paragraphs. This allows your clients to see how professional you are, to listen to the rhythm of your speech and to have a better sense of “knowing you” before they actually meet you.

These mistakes are definitely things one can work on and improve over time. And the best part is that nothing you put on your website is set in stone for the rest of time.

As your ideal clients might change, so should your copy in order to better relate to them and what they need. Remember to talk to your clients through your website copy and to always portray the value you bring to the business relationship.

If you want to learn more about copywriting for your business, as well as offering copywriting services to your translation clients, sign up for the wait list for this course (by writing to Corinne McKay at . This course is given as part of Corinne McKay's online course series.

How a Lead Magnet Can Boost Your Credibility and Market Your T&I Business

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Have you ever heard of a lead magnet? I know… it does sound almost a bit "scammy" at first, but I promise it's not. At least, it shouldn't be. A lead magnet is a piece of content you create for your potential clients (or "leads") that is valuable to them and helps them to solve a problem or learn more about a certain topic. Some examples of lead magnets you might find from businesses online these days are digital workbooks, e-books, checklists, cheat sheets, guides, etc. In exchange for the document or file, you give your email address to the provider and join their email list. Lead magnets are usually given in exchange for one's information. This is why you will often see a Call to Action (CTA) with a lead magnet on a website. However, this is not the only way you can use a lead magnet. In fact, I'd argue that it's important to use them a bit differently than everyone else as yet another way to stand out to clients.

As a translator or interpreter you could use a lead magnet in several ways

  • In exchange for someone signing up for an email list on your website

  • As a way of saying "thank-you" to someone who likes your business Facebook page

  • As part of a warm email pitch or a follow-up email to a direct client lead

  • In exchange for feedback or a response to a survey to help you learn more about your target market

  • As a way to add value to an email you'd like to send to existing clients you might not have heard from in a while (Hint: this is highly effective!)

I have created many lead magnets myself. Some gain more traction with clients than others, but it all depends on what your ideal audience wants to learn or know. Right now I'm in the process of developing a few lead magnets as a test in my marketing efforts this year. I'll keep you updated once I have a chance to use them and see how well they work. But the plan is to use this content as an attachment in a warm email to a potential client.

If a lead magnet is something that sounds like it would be worth your time to create, and if you believe your potential clients might find one helpful, you will want to think about a few details so that you can plan to provide content that is both valuable and boosts your credibility.

Examples of effective lead magnets on websites

Here are some examples of a few lead magnets that are both attractive in nature and valuable to the customers they target. You'll see these are for various audiences, of course, but perhaps one of these will give you an idea of a lead magnet you could create for your own leads. Note: these are used on websites, but you can easily provide the same types of resources and send them out as attachments in an email to a potential client!

Source:  Lewis Howes

Source: Lewis Howes

Source:  Amy   Porterfield
Source:  Paper & Oats

Source: Paper & Oats

Source:  Ed Gandia

Source: Ed Gandia

So, how do you create a lead magnet?

Well, first you have to understand your potential client's challenges. You'll want to create something that is valuable for more than one person so that you don't have to constantly create new content. You'll also want to make the content manageable to consume.

Does your potential client base need a checklist that will be useful to them in their work? Would an e-book that is chock full of useful information for their field be valuable to them? Could a guide about something specific in their industry make them want to sign up for your email list or open your email attachment?

All of these things can boost your credibility, and while these are just a few ideas, it is important to understand your audience first to know what will be most appealing to them. Whatever you choose to create, make sure that you make it fitting for your ideal clients. If your target market doesn't spend a lot of time in front of the computer at work, then you will want to make a lead magnet that is brief and to the point. If they (or you) are sensitive to design, then you will want to use a free tool like Canva or hire a graphic designer to make your lead magnet more attractive.

You should also take into consideration the timing of your lead magnet. Make sure that the content you include is valuable at the time you release it. Is it appropriate for your client's particular situation, goals, challenges, etc. Would you need to release it at a certain time of year to be more relevant to them?

You may have to test your lead magnet on a few potential clients to see how well it is received. You could also create two versions of your lead magnet and do a bit of A/B testing to see which version is received more positively and which one might need some extra work.

Let me know if you make a lead magnet and how you use it. Not only is this a great way to show your expertise in a genuine way, but it is a valuable and useful piece of content for those who receive it. Or, that's the goal anyway!

Four Things You Didn't Know LinkedIn Could Do for Your T&I Business

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LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. It might be the one online platform where you wouldn't post a photo of yourself with your pet, but also a place where you hope you can be yourself as a professional and allow your personality to shine through.

LinkedIn has changed a lot since its early days. Yes, you can still get people to "recommend" you (i.e., give you a testimonial), but LinkedIn is so much more powerful than that. Those testimonials or recommendations sit at the bottom of your profile. So, people have to scroll down to see them. That's not to say you shouldn't request and give recommendations. But these days, it's really important to understand the many features LinkedIn offers and how they can work for you. Yes, you'll have to do a bit of legwork, as your profile won't run itself. But trust me… it's worth it!

1. Grow your referral system

For most of us, the referrals we get are how we obtain the majority of our business. At least, this seems to be the case for most freelancers and small business owners I talk to these days. Essentially, the more people you connect with on LinkedIn, the wider your network grows.

This means that people will be able to find you even without referrals. This means that even though it once seemed impossible to connect with a higher-level executive dream client, it's now very possible that you know someone who is connected to them and can introduce you.

It also means that the more active you are on LinkedIn, the more others will see you in their news feeds on the platform. The more people who are reminded about you, the more people who will remember to refer you the next time they hear of someone who needs your translation or interpreting services.

2. Demonstrate your expertise

Did you know that you can share original, penned articles on LinkedIn? Have you used this feature before? If you write a blog, or if you write even a short article just for LinkedIn itself, this is a fantastic way to show your expertise and knowledge in your area of specialization.

Not only can you share this content on your profile, but you can link to it in LinkedIn forums as a response to a question someone asks. This type of interaction on any social platform positions you as an expert and a resource for others. Who wouldn't want to work with you if you're already so helpful and knowledgeable?

(Bonus! The articles you write and share on LinkedIn stay at the top of your profile. When someone clicks on your profile, they will appear above the fold, i.e., before the point where they have to scroll down to see more of your profile. This means that you have a better chance of grabbing their attention right away and keeping them interested in learning more about you).

3. Connect with potential clients to whom you might not normally have direct access

These days you don't necessarily need to have access to someone's email inbox. If you can connect with them on LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to build a relationship with them. I'll give you an example.

In my own freelance translation business, I serve clients in the areas of medicine and life sciences. I often translate documents like patient diaries and survey responses. I wanted to get in touch with a particular person who works at the Pew Research Center after reading an article he'd written about health disparities in the Latino population in the United States. I searched for a few minutes for an email address for him. I couldn't find one. But I did find him on LinkedIn, and I asked to make a connection. After a week, I saw that he'd accepted my invitation to connect, and we now have a dialogue open and our professional relationship can grow from there.

If you do this well and you send a meaningful note when requesting a connection, most people will accept your request and will be interested in learning more about what you do. Even if they don't have work for you, they could serve as a referral or a client later on. The key is not to pitch your services in these types of requests. Relationship-building is the goal.

4. Stay top of mind with your connections

This is related to number one above on some level, but think about it this way. The more often you interact on a social media platform, the more often others see you and what you're sharing. It's really that simple. If you are consistently providing valuable content, interacting in a meaningful way and encouraging others around you, then it will be pretty difficult for others to miss your content. The more you do this, the more others are "reminded" of you. And as far as I'm concerned, when someone's sharing positive and solid content, I'm happy to see their name and content in my news feed. What about you?

By staying top of mind with consistent content sharing and interactions, you have a leg up on the next person who only jumps onto LinkedIn sporadically or to update their profile once a year. This means that you have more of a chance of being selected as the translation or interpreting provider for a new client, being referred to a new connection by a colleague and many more opportunities you wouldn't have if you just let your profile collect dust.

I'll be the first to admit that LinkedIn is a platform that has held people's attention for longer than I had thought it would. Part of this is due to the fact that the platform is updated frequently, and professionals are seeking meaningful business relationships and opportunities online. I continue to use the free version of LinkedIn, and it works well for me. But I'd be interested if any readers have used the Premium option and found it helpful. Please share!

For more strategies on how to use LinkedIn to grow your business, check out Seven Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile and Gain More Leads.

How to Share Your Expertise As a Professional Translator or Interpreter Beyond Your CV

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There are lots of ways to share your expertise as a professional. And none of them have to do with what you list on your CV. After all, you don't introduce yourself to others online with the line, "Hi, my name is Paula. Here's my CV." That's why we need to think outside the box and use the reach of the world wide web to meet people where they are right now -- meaning, to talk to them in a way that makes sense with what they're seeking and the challenges they face -- and to show our expertise so that they can draw their own conclusions to hire us as translators and interpreters.

Here are a few ways you can do this with just a little bit of added effort and a sense of what your clients are looking for when they decide it's time to call in a professional.

Maintain a professional website that speaks directly to your translation or interpreting clients.

Having an up-to-date website seems pretty obvious to most professionals these days. But boy… if I had a dime for every translator who told me they don't have time to work on or update their website, I might be able to retire early from my own translation business. All jokes aside, the "up-to-date" bit is just the beginning. Having a website that clearly appeals to your ideal clients first and foremost is key. You may also want to seriously think about writing a blog for your clients. A blog is a wonderful way to drive traffic to your website and to demonstrate your expertise on a given topic. Who better to write a blog for your ideal clients than you? If you know who they are and what their challenges are, you can talk to them -- by way of your web copy and visuals -- in a way that will help them draw the conclusion that you are the right fit for them.  

To read more about how your website is your best marketing tool, or how a blog can boost your online reach, check out Three Easy Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your T&I Website and Why Your Translation Business Needs a Blog. Or to learn how to transform your website into one that will speak to your clients, join the waitlist for my T&I Website Blueprint Course.

Update your LinkedIn profile and connect with potential translation or interpreting clients.

A lot of freelancers think of LinkedIn as a waste of time. The main thing I hear people saying is "I've never gotten any work from having a profile on LinkedIn." And my response is usually something along the lines of "When was the last time you logged in and updated your profile or tried to connect with someone?" Crickets.

Just like any online platform, LinkedIn can be incredibly useful if you put in a little effort and time to make it work for you. Share information often -- both your own, as well as posts from others. Write articles to share as well (did you know that LinkedIn has this feature?). Or better yet… take the ones you've written for your professional blog and share them on LinkedIn as an article. Try to post to LinkedIn or share something valuable for your ideal clients at least once a day. Remember, it's nice to share information by and for colleagues, but remember, they're not usually the ones paying you to translate or interpret for them. Do your best to post content aimed at those you work for (or those who you'd like to be working for!) on a regular basis.

For more information on how to use LinkedIn as a powerful marketing tool, check out How to Strategically Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Network and Business and How to Use LinkedIn as an Extension of Your Website.

Share valuable content.

I often get asked by colleagues what kind of content our clients would find valuable. And while I cannot speak for anyone else's clients, I can say that it's not as hard to figure this out as we make it. Here's what I do.

I think about my clients and who they are, what they struggle with, what their goals are, and where they hang out online. And then I think of how I can help them with their challenges, reaching their goals and how I can show up for them online. It's really that basic. From there, I decide how much content I want to share with them, how often and what type of content would provide value to them where they are right now in their business or organization. This could be an article I find online with a little note from me about something I think they'll find useful. It could be something I write myself because I cannot seem to find anything online that will be helpful in the way I think they would need at this time. Or it could even be a connection I make for them with a colleague or a professional in another industry who might be of service to them. I do it again and again.

You can do the same on social media, sharing original blog posts or articles, as well as those from others. You can do it in direct emails to clients by writing something as simple as "Hi, Jane. I wrote this short piece on "X" and I think it might help you decide how you want to handle the upcoming "Y" you all are working on." Or you could even send someone a book you just read that you think will be truly valuable to them in their work. Include a short handwritten note with it. These things are unexpected and always appreciated.

Yes, all of the items I mention here mean that you will have to go a bit above and beyond your normal work as a translator or interpreter. But in doing so, you have the ability to show others your expertise on a given topic or in a certain field. You'll also be able to show that you're keeping up with your specialization and that you dedicate time to doing so and to sharing that value with your clients. Above all else, it shows you care about what you do and about your clients.

No matter what you share or the means by which you do so, remember that you are the face of your business. So, before you share something with someone, whether through your website, LinkedIn profile or elsewhere, make sure you ask yourself this very important question first... "How will this serve others?" If you're not sure, save the idea for later and move on with another one that you are sure will be valuable to the person receiving it.

How do you show up for your clients or potential clients on a regular basis? What can you start doing today to show your clients the added value you bring to the business relationship?

Three Easy Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your T&I Website

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Having a website and actually making your website work for you are two different things. Most people who do business these days know how important it is to have a website. But when was the last time you updated yours? Has it been collecting dust for a while? It's okay… you can just nod your head if you like.

This is really common. We get busy with our paid translation or interpreting work, and we put off many of the things that we cannot actually bill clients for. We know we need to get to these things eventually. For some of us, these items hang over our heads for months… or years.

So, while I would love to tell you that you have to make time to get it done, I think you already know that. Instead, I'll tell you to make some small changes first that will make a big impact. And then I'll leave it to you to make the time for the big ones. Sound good? Let's get started.

1. Label everything on your site.

Yep, everything. Label your photos or images. And by "label", I’m talking about the file names for these items before you actually upload them to your site. Make sure that everything on your website has a name that contains key search terms a potential client would use to find you online. Images are searchable! And the same goes for your website's pages. Make sure you have an accurate page description for every page of your website so that search engines like Google know how to find you and what your website is for. This helps those searching to choose to view your site over another, too.

Here's an example of how I intentionally label images on my blog. Notice that I do not leave image names up to the numerical order or download file name created when I find the right image. Instead, I take a moment to create a name that will be searchable by those who need this type of information.

Renaming Photos on Squarespace

2. Use smart headlines that include key search terms.

Did you know that the headlines (or subheadings, as you might think of them) are also highly searchable? Take some time to think about what search terms your target audience might use if they needed someone who does what you do. Now, I'm not saying you ought to stuff or pad your site with these, but make sure they make sense in context and that you think about them strategically before you write your website content.

Here's an example of a solid headline from one of my recent T&I Website Blueprint Course students:

Example of Smart Headlines with Key Search Terms

Gwen knows that her clients will search for a "French translator" or "French translation" and possibly add "IT" to their search query. She didn't pad or stuff her headline with loads of keywords. Instead, she used the most effective ones and made a statement that really speaks to the heart of the client by using words like "trusted" and "partner".

Use headlines like these throughout your site whenever you can. Not only do they help drive web traffic, but they also have a visual and emotional impact for your site visitors.

3. Start a blog.

You knew I was going to suggest this, right? I can't stress enough how much traffic a blog can drive to a website. Of all the pages on my website, the blog is what sees the most traffic in terms of page views. A blog is a huge traffic driver because you can update it often, show your expertise and professionalism, allow clients to get to know you better and stand apart from others who offer similar services.

Why does this fall under an "easy" way to drive more traffic? Well, because writing and maintaining a blog is not as much work as you really think. It's truly a matter of making a plan and getting started.

For more help with how to do this, check out Why Your Translation Business Needs a Blog and How to Plan and Maintain a Blog That Speaks to Your Ideal Clients and Promotes Your Business.

The first two tips I shared will take very little time to implement. All three will drive traffic to your site, and while the third may take more planning and follow-through, it is probably the most effective way to drive traffic to your site over time.

Have you already given any of these a try? How do you take steps to drive more traffic to your website?