As storytelling guru Bernadette Jiwa put it in her recent book Make Your Idea Matter, “The path to success is littered with great ideas poorly marketed.”
The quickest way to fall into the trash heap? Crappy content. Because even if you have the greatest product in the world, no one will know (or care) about your XYZ if you fail to explain why it matters.
So, here are three simple ways to rise above the fray:
1) Write for your audience.
Sadly, this patently obvious writing tip is lost on far too many marketing departments.
Case in point: Capital One’s recent “We’re rebranding, hooray us!” campaign. A classic case of the We-Are-Us corporate narcissism that evokes horrible high school election speeches. Vote for me because I’m, like, the greatest! And you deserve the greatest! That’s me!
Such muck only serves to alienate customers (and make copywriters cry):
Remember: Before and above all us, address your audience’s interests, questions, passions, and pain points. These are the people buying your stuff!
2) Give them a reason to care.
If you can’t think of anything useful to say, it’s probably best not to say anything at all.
Here’s an example of what not to do. This is actual copy [most revealing parts redacted] that an actual huge, successful company thought to put out into world:
As one of the top # [product-industry] in the world, we deployed the latest, state-of-the-art [type of technology] to deliver the seamless [type of] experiences today’s customers demand.
(Co-starring: “maximizing reliability” while “reducing costs” with “unique features.”)
Right. So what did you just learn? Oh yeah: absolutely nothing. Time. Suck.
Look, everyone and their creepy uncle can say they’ve made the most innovative top-notch, world-class solution. But only you can speak about specific benefits your product or service has that no one else does. Focus on what makes you different and you’ll be on your way to making a sale—and more importantly—a loyal customer.
3) Stop trying to please everyone.
How many people need to leverage their track record to solutionize your best-in-class white paper/case study/brochure/mission statement?
Yeah, wretched sentences like that can happen to otherwise crisp and focused prose when too many “I need to make a stamp on this” stakeholders get involved.
While well-intentioned subject matter experts or proud product managers offer important information and feedback, they are not experts on audience perception. That’s why marketing exists, and why copywriters do what they do.
The bottom line: Everyone has an opinion, but the one that matters most? Your customers’. So do your audience a favor and give them content that’s worth their while.