Jun 14 2017

Everybody Can Write . . . Right?

Books, billboards, news

 

releases, website content,

 

 

 

magazines and magazine

  

articles, posters and

 

displays, newspaper

 

 

columns, surveys, signs,

 

 postcards, brochures, 

 

commercials, promotional

 emails, direct mail, photo

 

captions, jingles, branding

 

themelines, package labels,

  

training curricula, promo

 

literature and exhibit

 materials, webinars, sales

 

presentations, seminars 

  

lyrics, booklets, speeches,

 

 ebooks, blog posts, scripts

 

  business plans, marketing 

 

 strategies, love letters,  

 

manuals, greeting cards,

 

and matchbook covers

  

Ever write any of these yourself? How’d it come out? Did you get the results you wanted? What happened? Are you a skilled writer? An experienced wordsmith? Probably not. If you’re reading posts on this blog site, it’s because you’re an entrepreneur, a small business or professional practice owner, manager, or principal, a student, or a leader.

If you fit any of those kinds of career descriptions, odds are that you are marketing a product, service, or idea (or some combination) and the daily challenges of keeping your business or organization moving forward leaves little room for you to indulge in fantasy of seeing yourself as a talented writer. And you’re smart enough to know when to get help.

One telling characteristic of successful entrepreneurs, in fact, is that they know how to pull their ideas forward while leaving necessary professional services up to professionals they engage — CPA, attorney, management consultant, and more often than not: creative services, especially writers and designers.

Entrepreneurs, after all, are the catalysts of business and the economy. They are agents of change. They serve as mirrors of society wants and needs. They alone are responsible for new job growth (not corporations, and certainly not government). As a result, entrepreneurs are also the most sensitive of business people, and the quickest to recruit outside expertise when they see the need.

Small business owners are far more in touch with reality than their big business counterparts who are obsessed with analyzing what message content and structure communicates best, and sells.

They recognize that one dot or small sweep of a design line, or one word can make the difference between sale and no sale. (And remember, with online content: WORDS are still King!)

Entrepreneurs respect and appreciate the value of expertise.

 

So the list above is not just a teaser or composite of writing applications. It is a list of real business-related (yes, even love letters!) writing needs that most entrepreneurs are confronted with at one time or another. It is also a list of writing applications that anyone you hire to write for you should have experience with, at least most of them.

I know. I’ve written all of the above many times over. And I can tell you that a marketing writer who hasn’t written a book doesn’t know how to tell a story, and stories sell. A website content writer who hasn’t written radio and TV commercials has no sense of writing concise, punchy stuff that’s short, sweet, and memorable . . . and “short, sweet, and memorable” sells!

Someone who’s never written a billboard hasn’t even a clue about how to write branding lines because the discipline is the same:  Aim for 7 words or less and tell a story in those 7 words or less that has a beginning, middle, and ending . . . and is persuasive. Ah, then comes the opposite: Direct mail. In direct mail, the more you tell, the more you sell — that means, literally, a blanket of billboards.

Writing emphasis must always be “you” focused (not “we”). It must attract attention, create interest, stimulate desire, bring about action, and deliver satisfaction. It MUST ALWAYS answer the question: “What’s in it for ME?” All writing –even an instruction manual– represents an opportunity to make a sale and/or create a favorable impression.

The writing you have now?

Does it work as hard as you do?

 

# # #

Hal@Businessworks.US  931.854.0474

Open Minds Open Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Apr 25 2016

“So…” answered the Millennial

Why Millennials and salespeople 

 

need to NOT  start every response 

 

with “So…” and then– to top it off

 

— fail to answer what’s asked. If

 

you’re in the job market, or a sales

 

presentation, it would be like not

 

 taking a shower for a few weeks!

PIG PEN

Q. Who is your very best friend?

A.  So… Jeremy and Charlie and Kim and Sheila are the people I see most often.

———————

Q. What was your Mother’s most important advice?

A.  So… my Mother always made me eat all my cereal.

———————

Q. When did you leave the house today?

A.  So… I never actually went home last night, y’know.

———————

Q. Where do you work?

A.  So… my company is in the city and yesterday I had to drive in.

———————

Q. Why did you do that?

A. So I think there are lots of ways people can respond.

———————

Q. How much money is in your pocket?

A.  So… my wallet is in the car.

Go ahead and ask a reasonable fact-fetching question of one of the 80 million people born between 1977 and 2000.  The odds are good that –no matter how specific your inquiry may be– the answer these days often starts out with “So…” and then proceeds to not give a direct answer.

So WhatDo these “So…” first-responders imply disinterest? Evasiveness? Insecurity? Incompetence? Un-socialability? Dumbness? Distrust? Early dementia? Lack of self-esteem? Poor listening skills? Disinterest? Societal disconnect? Snobbishness? Perhaps some. Perhaps all.

First of all, according to Jane Solomon’s post on DICTIONARY.com, “So” can be used as an adverb, a conjunction, a pronoun, an interjection, or an adjective. And the “spread” of it into popular use today as a sentence opener, especially among young people, is “probably due to the tech boom” and specifically, “programmers,” according to NPR’s Geoff Nunberg. The GRAMMARLY Blog suggests Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is partly to blame for “notoriously using So…’ to start sentences.”

It’s been suggested that “So…” is the new “Um…” or “Uh…” or “Er…” nervous hesitancy used to fill the verbal air while momentarily thinking about what to say prior to responding, but I am doubtful. “Um” and “Uh” and “Er” are simply sounds.

“So” is an actual word. It is a connecting word. It is not a question/ answer connecting word. It is a cause-and-effect connecting word, and is used to connect a thought, word, or action with a consequence.

little girl hand to headA BBC host says that at the beginning of a (non-consequential) sentence, using the word “So” is an attempt “to try to sound important” and “intellectual.” A popular psychologist calls it a “weasel word” used to “avoid giving a straight answer.” Not a good practice for any business, and especially for small business, which is much more vulnerable to “beating around the bush” than corporate types who often seem to thrive on being indirect.

 

FAST COMPANY says “So…” at the beginning of an answer “Insults your audience… Undermines your credibility… and Demonstrates discomfort with the subject matter.”

 

Mark Mason in The SPECTATOR, says it’s due to “accommodation” because we try to be part of groups and often simply do and say things that others in the group do and say. It, he says, “spreads like the flu.” He cleverly ends his (“It’s SO Annoying”) post  on the subject with:

“As ye so, so shall ye reap”

 

So it’s contagious! Some top TV news analysts have begun integrating the (shall we call it) evasiveness into their summary statements. And it’s inching it’s way into the 40+ crowd. Personally, I have no problem with starting a sentence with “So…” unless it’s the beginning of a sentence that is answering a direct question.

Bad Interview

Bottom Line: If someone in a job interview or “sale size-up” meeting says, “So, tell me about your (or the product/service) background, you might consider it an endearing attempt to help you feel comfortable, but if you respond (or answer ANY direct question) by starting with “So…” your job (or sale) prospects may very well be doomed. It can easily be received in the same fashion as you folding your arms and staring at the door! Not giving a straight, direct answer can be taken as a mixed message.

# # #

hal@businessworks.US

STRATEGY/ CONTENT/ CONNECTION

Higher impact. Lower costs.

——————-

Business Development/ National-Awards/ Record Client Sales

Entrepreneurship & Expansion Coaching    931.854.0474

Go for your goals, thanks for your visit, God Bless You!

OPEN  MINDS  OPEN  DOORS

Make Today A Great Day For Someone!

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