Are you real?

95913036 How many times have you listened to a radio commercial and started laughing out loud because “no one talks like that!?”  

We all have a certain style in how we talk and write. As individuals. As a society. As an age group. As an income bracket. As a profession. Getting the idea?

One of the aspects of social media that I love is that it is making authenticity and being real something that people value and recognize.  Advertising in that "false, no one talks that way" style is finally on its way out.

We know authentic works.  We know it attracts the people you want to talk to.  We know that it's honest.

When you want to talk to your customers, take the time to study them first. See how they communicate. 

  • Do they speak and write formally?
  • In their industry jargon?
  • Do they use short, choppy sentence or long, complicated ones?
  • Do they use simple, common words or very precise and less common ones?
  • Fast? Slow?
  • A lot? A little?

We’re all bombarded with messages every day. The messages that break through the noise are the messages that are in our native voice. We don’t want to have to work hard to be communicated to or with. So, we are naturally drawn to those messages that sound and feel most like us.

Am I advocating that you change your native voice to match theirs?  Nope.  I am suggesting that if you talk/write in your native voice, it will attract those customers who talk that way too.  Those are your best customers.  Those are the ones who "fit" and who are most likely going to around for a long time.

But…I am suggesting that you be very honest with yourself and check your marketing materials.  Do they actually sound like you?  Like your best customers?  Or do they sound like you just swallowed a thesaurus and a guide for marketing speak?

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9 comments on “Are you real?

  1. Deb says:

    Hi Drew,
    Great move up to #10 on the Viral Garden’s Top 25 list!

    And good advice to be yourself, and not who you think someone wants you to be. I can use that advice in all areas of my life!

    @debworks

  2. Deb,

    Thank you. As you know, the top 25 list is pretty fluid, so not to sound like the guy who didn’t win the Oscar, but I’m just happy to be there at all!

    The trick of being real is making sure it translates to your marketing voice too. As you and I both know, for some reason, once it is advertising…people forget what they sound like and try to impress. That’s when it starts to sound phony.

    Drew

  3. Hey Drew.

    Thanks for the post. It was pretty relevant to my situation right now. I have been put in charge of managing freelance writers to produce a bunch of website content. It has been a challenge finding someone with a writing style that suits our customers & industry. You want some personality in your writing, but you still want to sound professional. I think I have settled on an interesting writer who just needs a bunch of editing on my part.

    -Jeremy

  4. Jeremy,

    Have you tried creating personas for your customers? Sometimes when a writer has a very specific “person” they are writing to/for — it helps them slip into the right voice and tone.

    Drew

  5. Kamy Herbst says:

    Drew,
    I love, love, love this topic! It’s great advice, I think everyone has experienced but maybe didn’t realize how to make it work.. with out the awkwardness.
    I’m fairly “new” the insurance industry and I’ve met some great people. One person in particular is a fast, straight talker and heavily uses industry jargon. The fast & straight fits me well, but the jargon… not so much. I’ve learned enough to understand but I found being “me” & being honest was the best. I told her when I didn’t follow and she broke it down. I think she was appreciative that I didn’t pretend to understand. It kept us on the same page and our candid communication is what made our professional relationship continue.

    Again, thanks for another great post.

  6. Kamy,

    Without the awkwardness. Yes…that’s a big part of it, isn’t it. I think much of the awkwardness comes from trying too hard, rather than just shooting straight.

    When we write from a company’s true personality — it comes out quite natural, most of the time.

    Hopefully as you become a veteran of the industry, you will not lose that “newbie” ear. When you are listening to the insiders…and don’t understand, you are really standing in the shoes of the customer. Hang onto that skill!

    Drew

  7. I agree. I believe it is better to be genuine, authentic and simple (and almost the title of my last post). Your message has to be relatable and people will be able to relate to that much better.

    If you are speaking at people or above them, they will not listen to you and engage you, which too me defeats the whole purpose.

    Now I may not be smarter than a 5th grader, but I believe the real brilliant can take great content and put it in bite sized nuggets that everyone wants to sample.

    Chad Rothschild

  8. Chad,

    I think sometimes the trick is in the translation. A business owner or a company is truly genuine but somehow when they go to create their marketing materials, they can’t write in a way that creates that same authenticity. It’s like they get “marketing speak” stuck in their brain…and they can’t stop.

    The art of having your marketing materials do their job while still looking and sounding just like you is one that many companies still need to work on.

    Drew

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