“You’re listening to WII FM – the world’s most selfish radio station. Coming up we’ve got all my favourite songs because I couldn’t give a shit what you want to listen to, but first…
… here’s Sally with the latest traffic and travel…”
When writing about your business, it’s useful to ask yourself questions every once in a while, to make sure you’re not wandering off the beaten track.
It’s easy to get distracted and caught up in a clever hook or idea that, after a while, you lose sight of what you actually sat down to do.
You started to write a sales page and, before you know it, you’ve invested £3,364 into a South American Alpaca farm.
(To choose a totally hypothetical example)
Save yourself from the time, money and effort of having to contact your local bank, learn Argentinian so you can negotiate with an irate, and downright rude, farmer…
(again, purely hypothetical)
…by keeping these kinds of questions handy whenever you write something:
- Why should the customer care about this? They’re asking “WIIFM – what’s in it for me?”
- What problem/pain does this solve?
- How does it make your customers life better?
The answers are important.
I first noticed this as a magician. I’d look at other magicians sites and noticed that they were all talking about the fabulously fooling magic tricks they were going to do while their guests tried to formulate a plan to get to the buffet first.
“Unique blend of magic and entertainment”, they all said.
“So what? Who gives a toss?”, I imagined brides and corporate clients saying.
“Well… er, I’ll get your guests laughing and having a fabulous time, so that, the next day, they’re all thanking you for organising such a great staff do!”
Now we’re getting somewhere.
This kinda stuff sounds obvious, but it’s worth reminding yourself of what you’re really trying to do when you do any form of business writing – your talking to a customer.
Sometimes we get too close to our own business.
We start assuming that everyone else has the same level of knowledge – that everyone can make the mental leap from “magic tricks” to “laughing guests who thank you for such an amazing party”.
I’m going to say this with love and affection…
Assume your customers are bloody idiots and spell out why they should listen to you.
Tell them why they should care that your widget is made from Vibranium rather than hemp.
Spell out exactly how this will make their life better…
… or less shit than it is now.
Time, money, status and effort – these are the fundamental needs we all have.
How does your thing help them in any of those areas?
Now, go tell them about it.