The MadAveGroup Blog
When preparing any type of marketing content, I'm constantly applying my “Who Cares?" rule, from the concept phase to the proofing of the finished piece. I think about my audience and ask the following:
• Will they care about what I've written?
• Does my content provide them with some type of value?
• Does it give them a reason to keep reading or listening?
Here's an example. Years ago, while I was gathering copy points for a client, she asked me to mention an award her company had just won. She emailed the following suggestion:
"We're pleased to announce that we've won the Silver Service Award for the third time in four years. We'd like to give our great staff a pat on the back."
Now, I certainly understand the client's pride in winning a major award and her eagerness to have people hear about it, but the copy she wrote would have offered no benefit to the listener.
Unless the news of the award could be turned into information that provided value to the company's audience, what would be the point of mentioning it?
So I asked the client a few questions.
• What does that award symbolize?
• Why would your customers or prospects be interested in it?
• Why is knowing about this award valuable to them?
Once I had my answers, I wrote this copy:
"The Silver Service Award is our industry's highest compliment. It's given annually to the company with the best year-to-date record of customer service in 24 measurable categories. If you're considering new vendors, you should know that The Smith Company has won the Silver Service Award three of the last four years. No other company has ever done that. The Silver Service Award: proof of our intense commitment to your satisfaction."
That copy acknowledges The Smith Company's win, but it also helps prospective clients make an informed buying decision. Rather than a self-congratulatory high-five, the copy delivers an important clue - substantiated by a major industry award - as to how the prospect will be treated if they do business with The Smith Company.
We're humans, so our first instinct is to talk about ourselves. That means developing content that's focused on your audience's needs can take a lot of thought. But if your marketing message is to stand out and ring true with prospects and customers, it needs to give them a reason to engage.
Applying the “Who Cares?" rule to all of your marketing content will help.
Last night, I watched a documentary about the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “Rear Window.”
In it, one of the director’s admirers spoke of how Hitchcock always had a specific reason for putting the camera where he put it.
There was never a shot just for a shot's sake. Every angle, every framing provided information the viewer needed to know or moved the story forward in some other way.
If you create marketing copy for your company, I encourage you to write with that same type of purpose in mind.
As a marketer, you never know how much time your audience will grant you. So, if you waste their time with words that don’t deliver value quickly or move your story forward, that audience may cut short the time you have together.
Try this test: After writing your copy, show the first line or two to a few people who are unfamiliar with your project; preferably people who are members of your target audience. If they can’t tell you what’s in it for them right away or they don’t express an interest in reading the rest of the copy, you may need to start over.