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Bill Bennett

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Forget company history in business writing

No-one cares when or where your company started.

If you’re writing a website about page, compiling a brochure or a business proposal, don’t fall into the trap of adding a lengthy company history.

It is best to avoid company histories altogether. If you must have one, keep it short. Then either link to the information on another web page or place it at the bottom of the printed page.

History lesson

Whatever you do, don’t start anything written for customers with a history lecture.

Too many about pages begin with something like: “In 1997, three clever guys had the idea of forming a widget business and set up shop at 101 Boring Street, Dullsville, Arizona”.

Yawn.

Not only does company history send readers to sleep, it gives them a message that you are self-obsessed, maybe vain, possibly even narcissistic. This doesn’t help your business. It’s rarely all about you. It’s about what you have to offer.

Company history sends wrong signals

A worse problem with prominent a company history is that Google and other search engines will pick up on this information — particularly if it is near the top of your company about page — and assume the history as more important than the valuable information potential customers search for.

This rule doesn’t apply if you are selling history. Say you run a café in a historic building or you give guided tours around an historic site. In that case, history is central to your marketing.

Otherwise, focus on the here and now. Emphasis the things that will be important to customers. Think about why someone will want to do business with you. It’s unlikely your start date will be a key selling point.

Put what you do best, what your customers like most or where you offer something unique at the front and centre of your promotion.

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