I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. It’s not my favorite social platform, but some smart marketing minds manage to share their keen insights and tips in just 280 characters.
On marketing messages
Terry Schilling explains why the research phase of marketing is so vital. It’s tempting to skip straight to messaging because, hey, you know what you want to say. But what you want to say is not always the thing people need to hear before they trust you and buy from you.
It’s not enough to imagine the problem people want you to solve. You have to go out and ask them. Take surveys. Conduct interviews. Comb through online reviews – not just of your company but of your competitors, too. Find out what’s really on customers’ minds. Bonus: Some of the best marketing copy comes straight from customers’ mouths. Let them do the creative heavy lifting.
On writing for the customer
In just three short lines, Brooklin Nash deflates the cocky wordplay that plagues so much marketing writing.
Empathy > Passion: If you thought having a passion for your topic was a good thing, you’re not wrong. But customers have a problem to solve. They don’t care how excited you are about what you do; they want to know you understand their pain and want to help them.
Clear > Clever: Unless your brand has the global recognition of an Apple or an Amazon, you cannot afford to be vague and cutesy with your messages. Yes, clever wordplay is fun and memorable. But it’s like an unfunny joke – if you have to explain what your message means, then it didn’t work.
How > What: This is the old features vs. benefits argument. What you have or do is never as important as how it helps the user.
On getting mileage from your content
“Create once, distribute forever” is Ross Simmonds’ credo, and here he shares what that means. Making dynamite content takes time. It’s a shame to put all that work into one piece and stick it on a shelf when you could remix and repurpose it for cross-channel use. Editing and formatting for different channels takes time, but not nearly as much as starting from scratch.
Jason Vana’s tweets regularly tackle the misconception that your “brand” is limited to visual components like your logo. Your brand is your business’s identity and personality. That needs to come first and influence the visuals, not the other way around.
Start with brand strategy. Then develop a brand voice based on that strategy. Then create brand visuals that support that voice.
On establishing your reputation
If your company blog is all internal news like awards and promotions mixed with promotional pieces about your products and services, you’re doing it wrong. Follow Kaleigh Moore’s advice instead.
Rather than writing your blog for people interested in your company – of which there are probably few and they probably all work there – write it for people interested in your niche. Demonstrate that you have a finger on the pulse of your industry and establish yourself as the respected expert in your field.
On marketing yourself as the bargain option
Aleksandr Volodarsky describes the reasons positioning yourself as the bargain option is competing in a race to the bottom.
You can only position yourself as the cheapest for so long – eventually, somebody will come along willing to do it for less. And the customers who only buy from you for your bargain price will drop you like a paper cup as soon as a cheaper option comes along or as soon as they make enough money to upgrade.
On helping people
Nobody wants to be sold to. That’s why we avoid eye contact when we arrive on the used car lot and why we tell the store associate, “No thanks, just looking.” When we smell a sales pitch coming we put our heads down and walk fast.
On the flip side, almost everybody wants to be helped. We want to solve our problems, dull our pain, and become the best versions of ourselves. People who help us do that are our favorite people.
To Jay Baer’s point, if your content feels like it’s trying to sell me something, I back away. If your content feels like it’s trying to help me out, I reach for my wallet.
On changing the words, not the message
Nobody wants to sound like a broken record. If you say the same thing over and over it becomes easy to tune you out. But marketers are always saying to keep your messaging consistent. So what are you supposed to do?
As Jeeves Williams aptly explains, you have to share your core message in a lot of different ways – especially if you’re using a content-heavy medium like social media. Tweak it for each stage of the customer journey – people who have never heard of you need a different version than people who have bought from you before. Tweak it for distribution channels – what you can say verbally on Twitter you have to say visually on Instagram.
Start watching brands you admire. See how the words and visuals may change from piece to piece, but the core idea – the unique selling proposition – comes through each time.
On standing out
Daniel Murray is preaching from my favorite pulpit. Your audience is bombarded with messages all day every day. They don’t even notice most of them anymore. To arrest their attention and get into their head, you have to stand out from the pack.
On short attention spans
You’ve probably heard that statistic that claims modern Americans have shorter attention spans than goldfish. Most marketers – especially long-form content writers – recognize the look of horror on a client’s face when we hand over a long piece.
“Nobody will read it! People have short attention spans!”
Bull dookie. As Jordan Scheltgen observes, people are riveted by good content, no matter how long it is. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” had over 600 pages and people read it in the span of a weekend. The theatrical release of The Return of the King was almost three and a half hours and it still made more than $1 billion.
So don’t worry about short attention spans. Worry about making quality content that is exactly as long as it needs to be.
With a clear strategy and a practical plan, you can point your company’s marketing machine in the right direction. If you’re not sure how to apply this advice to your specific situation, reach out for a consultation. For fresh-squeezed tidbits of advice and inspiration delivered right to your inbox, sign up for my twice-monthly emails.