Who are you talking to?
You have a website. You have a blog. You have every social media stream you can get your hands on. You may even have a podcast. Who are you talking to?
If you are just creating content for the sake of content, then what is the point?
Well, there is SEO – that mystical thing that marketing experts talk about to get your website further up internet searches – and by that we all really mean Google. This is valuable and should not be underestimated. If you aren’t active on the internet, then you will slip down that list and new clients will find it hard to find you.
Finding your voice
Comedians often talk about finding their voice. This isn’t the voice they use in their daily life. At the same time, it also isn’t really a character that they ‘play’ on stage. It’s a combination of the two. The audience will accept their ‘truth’ – their anecdotes, their jokes – if they sense that the words are being delivered in an authentic voice. At the same time, the comedian is trying to offer words and ideas that the audience can relate to. It’s a version of themselves that may heighten certain traits to create a relationship with the listener, but it is built upon a reality.
Imagine a high brow, intellectual Cambridge Footlights alumni comedian playing a northern working man’s club in the 1970s. Neither is ‘wrong’ but the fit just isn’t there and so the comedian can’t ‘sell’ their jokes and the audience certainly isn’t ‘buying’.
Who are your customers?
You know who your customers are, or at least you should. I’m sure they are all very different, but they all have one thing in common – you. They bought what you were selling. Whether that’s a Christmas tree, financial services or pest control, they all listened to you, read your website, considered what you had to offer and then made the decision to buy.
In the past, I’ve worked with companies that are very keen to just talk themselves and their achievements and, to some extent that is right – if you win an award, shout about it! If you don’t talk about it, what’s the point in entering the competition in the first place. Spreading this news can only help. Your customers and potential clients want to know they are working with a dynamic company that is considered by its peers to be the best.
With this company, however, the problem was this was their de facto starting point in all communications. If they wanted to sell a service, then they spent the first half of the page telling you how great they were. This often wasn’t targeted to the service and so the reader would often switch off before they even got to the point of the article.
Understand your audience
Your readers are your customers. Just as with the 1970s comic, you need to find your voice and then sell it to your audience. A central part of this is understanding what they want. If you have a great product or service, talking about how you developed it and why it is brilliant is a complete waste of time if the reader can’t understand what it does for them, how it will benefit their lives, and how it will make their work or lives easier.
To do this, you need to know you customer base. What is it they need? You can find this out by talking to your customers. Even better, though often more difficult to achieve, talk to people who didn’t buy your service. What was it they wanted that they thought they wouldn’t get from your solution?
With this information you can build up an idea of your customer. How targeted it is – 20 to 50-year-old homeowners in London or 75-year-old widowers in Bayswater – depends on what you are trying to achieve.
Once you have that image, you can then think about the way you want to present yourself. If you are aiming at experts then using technical language is fine but, if you want lay-people to buy your product/service then using words they don’t understand will just leave them confused and liable to go elsewhere.
We’ve said it many times, ‘people buy people’. Someone may love your product but if they just can’t connect with you, there will be another provider that they can. By understanding your customer, you can then choose to heighten the bits of your personality that they will connect with. For example, if your customers want to work with a company that cares about its community, you can present your thoughtful and compassionate side. This isn’t lying, it’s merely giving greater emphasis to the things that will connect.
By understanding your customers, you understand your audience. With that knowledge, you can focus your messages and connect more effectively through all your media channels.
If you need help writing copy that will speak to your audience, contact Suzi on 07590 591140 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org