Conversion begins with connection

I used to get upset when my teenage daughter would demonstrate what I referred to as “advantageous interpretation disorder” – a condition that causes questions to take on whatever meaning is easiest to answer. I would ask, “Do you have any homework?” My daughter would hear, “Do you have any homework you can’t finish on the bus or during lunch tomorrow?” and with a brief look up from her phone would reply, “Uhhh, no.”

Turns out, many grown-up business people have a similar condition when it comes to message development. I ask, “Who do you want to speak to?” They hear, “Who is your target market?” and respond with information like gender, age, income, marital status, or maybe a string of job titles, positions, and descriptions. And while marketing & demographic data are important, when we focus only on facts & figures, we lose sight of insights & feelings. We gain information about segments we want to capture but miss the emotions of the individuals with whom we’re trying to connect.  And in a time when people are drowning in noise, it’s meaningful messaging that stops the endless scrolling and starts the mindful questioning.

Increased conversion begins with improved connection. Focus a little less on your “what” and a little more on your “why,” and you’ll make the connection that sparks a conversation.

If you’d like to learn how, contact me to arrange a free message assessment session. Or call me at 920-540-3551, and we can talk about how to get people talking about you!

Spellcheck doesn’t know write from wrong

I remember the first time I experienced spellcheck. “So, I just type away,” I asked gleefully, “and this spellchecker fixes all my mistakes? It’s like there’s an English teacher in the computer!” Turns out, it’s not. Because while spellcheck can indicate when you’ve typed the wrong spelling, it won’t necessarily indicate when you’ve typed the wrong word. For example…

• I once came across a school district newsletter that dedicated an entire page to a marketing club competition. The students apparently excelled in the areas of baked goods, turning things over, and pushing things on wheels, as there were over 30-references to various forms of “roll play.”

• I recently saw a social media post apparently suggesting that workshop attendees should be cautious of dismembered limbs going for a stroll as there would be, “…hands on walkthroughs.”

• Working on a sell sheet for an accounting firm, I reviewed content spellcheck said was perfect, and discovered I was introducing the firm as a group of, “Certified Pubic Accountants.”

Remember, spellcheck is a proofreading tool, not a proofreading replacement. And even if your system includes a grammar checker, there’s no replacement for a thorough review. From articles to invitations, promotions to posts, don’t risk missing mistakes that send the wrong message.

Want to learn more about the most affordable & powerful investment you can make in your messaging? Contact RJ today!

Is a picture really worth a thousand words?

Once upon a time…seriously, it seems like a lifetime ago…I used to travel around sharing my perspective on business messaging: shaping and sharing stories that engaged readers and made them want to know more. After one such presentation to a group very familiar with professional copywriting, someone asked if I agreed with the old adage, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.”

As a copywriter, people expect me to say “No.” Like BIll Gates said, “Content is king.” But I do believe there is some truth to the long-held picture-to-words conversion factor. Images can deliver powerful messages, create strong emotions, and compel people to action.  They can.  Without a caption of some kind to provide context, however, can you be sure that everyone viewing the image is “seeing” the same thing? Or does a wordless image leave too much room for interpretation that could lead to a response other than what the artist or advertiser wants?

I paused for a moment, and responded to the question this way.

“If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a picture with the perfect caption is priceless!”

Want to learn how to add power to your pictures? Contact the Wordsmith today!