Don't be fake in business


It would seem that nothing is as it appears today.

Magazines are regularly being hauled over the coals for airbrushing photos of celebrities to the point where their mothers would struggle to recognise them.

Photo enhancing apps mean regular people (like you and me) can now retouch photos before uploading to Facebook or Instagram, which means that, according to our social media streams, ostensibly our friends are getting younger while we continue to age at an alarming rate.

A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s joint 40th birthday party. The invitation showed a picture of the two of them together. When I arrived at the bash, naturally I recognised my friend instantly. She introduced her fellow 40-year-old. I would never have recognised her from the photo in a million years. It had obviously been photoshopped within an inch of its life.

I don’t get why people do that.

There was a similar moment at a networking event I went to. I’d been chatting online with a fellow female business owner before the event and only had her avatar to go by when we met. Upon arriving in the room, I looked around but couldn’t see her. Then, a lady came up to be greeting me like an old friend. It was only after a crafty glance at her name badge that I realised she was the lady I’d been chatting to online. There was no resemblance whatsoever to her online profile.

Why would you do that? Have a photo online that looks nothing like you?

I digress, and you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with copywriting and marketing.

Showing is so much better than telling

All the points I made above lead to one conclusion – you can’t believe what you read (or see) in the media.

But that is having a knock-on effect on business.

There have always been companies that have made claims on websites about being ‘market leaders’ or ‘innovative’. Rather than people thinking ‘great, I’ll use them then’, they are now more likely to think: ‘Really? Where’s your proof?’

If you want someone to believe in your and your product you have to show them what you can do for them.

How do you do that?

Well, the best way is through:

  • Customer case studies that showcase past work
  • Testimonials from customers (always making sure they are attributed to a real person)
  • A portfolio showing examples of your work
  • Blogs and articles

How do blogs and articles help?

They are the educational element of your site that illustrates your knowledge, making you a ‘thought leader’ (i.e. expert) in your field.

It’s also important to avoid using empty statements such as ‘we’re market leaders’ and instead focus on the benefits you offer your customers and showing them how you will make their life easier.

You must be believable

Your audience isn’t stupid so don’t treat them as though they are.

If you want them to trust you, you must be transparent and specific about how you can help them.

Vague statements won’t convince anyone.


Sally Ormond is an international copywriter. Working across all industries, she creates on-brand content for on and offline marketing as well as internal communications.