Between all of the “GAIN A MILLION FOLLOWERS IN A WEEKEND!” posts, marketers have overlooked one simple truth:
We are still selling to humans.
REAL people with emotions, thoughts, worries, dreams, interests, and a million other qualities that make us different from robots.
The unfortunate part is that 99.9% of content online uses buzzwords like:
- Target market
- Social media
They make your eyes glaze over, don’t they?
Here’s the thing: You’re not Katy Perry. You don’t have an “audience”. You have humans who are mentally tickled by your content and sometimes read it when they’re snuggling up with their phone at night (don’t lie, we’re all guilty of this). If you have high-quality content, they might even read it at their desk.
This is an audience:
Katy Perry is an influencer. She has fans, an actual audience, and an enormous platform. (Fun fact: she is the #1 most followed person on Twitter.)
Maybe you’d be surprised to know, but Katy Perry doesn’t refer to them as her “fans.” She is smart enough to call her fans “KatyCat’s” even Lady Gaga calls her fans “Little Monsters”.
On the other hand, most marketers call their readers an audience/fans/tribe.
The truth: Most of these marketers don’t actually know what they’re talking about.
Buzzwords are a quick bandaid for not having a unique approach. It’s easy to watch YouTube videos or read Seth Godin’s blog religiously, gargle their knowledge, and vomit it back out.
The internet then becomes an endless chamber of parrots squawking back and forth until we all have headaches. “Find your tribe!”
If you truly want to stand out in your industry, you need to be different. That means you must remove the typical, boring buzzwords and find a way to actually connect to your readers and show them you understand their perspective.
With everyone and their mother starting blogs, your business health relies on the ability to show the world why you are different than the other billion and a half people who do what you do.
Mistake #1: Appealing to everyone
Stop trying to appeal to everyone.
Most business owners are terrified about narrowing down who they specifically work with for fear that they’ll lose money, except the exact opposite usually happens.
Do you think Ferrari is worried about missing out on sales? Of course not. They know who they serve and they do not focus on anyone else.
They put out ads like this:
See that copywriting? That is not the copy that appeals to people who live safe, 9-to-5, suburban lives. It tickles the part of us that lives a fantasy life.
Then there’s this ad:
Dodge knows the demographic that buys their trucks: American, hard working, laborers, willing to get their hands dirty. You get the idea.
You could not switch the copy between the two and expect to sell the same car.
If you knew your clients and customers, I mean TRULY knew them, you would know the language that they use. You would know how to use it to get their attention.
Mistake #2: Not talking about your own ideas
After years of working in your industry, you will have ideas that go against the grain.
Instead of keeping these ideas to yourself, you need to shout these from the rooftops.
Even taking a look at something like daily talk shows, we can see the approach that Oprah, Phil Donahue, and Ellen were all different. They were all shows that talk to people about the news of the day in an entertaining way, but their unique approach makes them successful. If they tried to copy each other, it wouldn’t work.
People are usually scared to share their own ideas because they imagine getting hundreds of comments disagreeing, but 99%* of the time you’ll get a positive response.
(*Not 100% because this is the internet and there’s always one person who complains.)
Most of the response will revolve around “I’ve secretly felt this way for a long time, too! THANK YOU for saying it!”
So, the question is how do you get back to writing for people? Here are some easy steps:
Make a note when something bothers you
Everyone’s had this moment: You see a very similar article for the 100th time and something about it just gets under your skin. You can’t put your finger quite on why, but if you give yourself time to think about it, you’ll eventually pinpoint what specific part you disagree with.
Take notes. These can turn into the best blogs or videos.
For example, I can only see so many “marketer”s talk about customers like they are a commodity before an article develops (AKA what you’re reading right now).
Keep notes of what bothers your clients and customers
If you are deep in the trenches with your customers, and you SHOULD be, you will hear little things here and there that bother them as well. These phrases are a GOLD MINE.
Make notes using their exact language, because sprinkling these phrases throughout your copy makes your reader feel like you’re inside their brain. When it is clear you understand their problems, they will pay attention.
Ban yourself from using soft buzzwords
When you’re writing a new post, go through and delete every single buzzword. Take the time to say what you really mean to say.
Sometimes we use soft language and buzzwords because we’re still trying to figure out how to say what we really mean. Don’t be afraid to shake things up and be as straightforward as possible.
Removing the buzzwords from your copy and your content will do wonders for your company. Your customers will be excited you’re not like everyone else in your industry.
Find your own gigantic star to ride*.
*No apologies for the ridiculous amount of Katy Perry references.
If you have any questions, I’m always up for a good, human conversation. Come say hi on Twitter! @JackieMPearce