Finding the right words to express your company’s ideas and message is never often easy.
This can be worrying, especially when you read throughout the internet, ‘content is king, CONTENT IS KING’.
Well yes, content is king, to a point. However, remember ‘Otumfuo Opuku ware II’ was also a King. You may have received an email from his Prince son in broken English some years ago.
The point is sometimes, rather than using the wrong words, it’s best to use no words at all. Pythagoras, way back when, told us that silence is ‘better than unmeaning words’.
For rest of the time though, every single word you use will make a difference. With so much competition in our media-rich world, getting the right message across has never been more critical.
When your message can be seen from anywhere, getting it wrong can be devastating. Pen manufacturer Bic found out the hard way when it told women to ‘think like a man’ on International Women’s Day. It’s not without reason that Mark Twain told us ‘The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.’
Finding the right place, rhythm and timing for the right words can create strong connections with your customers and clients, whatever the platform.
Does the writing really matter?
A recent survey of small businesses in the US showed that while 74% had web sites, around half felt that their online presence wasn’t important to their business. But around three quarters of customers research online before making a purchase and more than 90% of B2B buyers research online before purchases.
Like it or not, your online presence does matter. It is now the first point of contact for most people. Every single message is an opportunity to communicate with potential customers.
When communicating with them, always be clear and concise, honest and be respectful, creative but not obscure. Don’t let your words end up in a crowded wasteland of mediocrity.
Banal encounters with ‘results-orientated champions who are passionate about their partners’ don’t just fail to spark interest. They leave you among the crowd.
Bland, uninventive messages can turn people off. They can even turn people against you. Your content must stimulate your consumers’ interest, rather than assume it.
When customers read your copy, they’re reading about you
The way you communicate not only indicates how you think about yourself, but your customers too.
A claim that you ‘think outside the box’ or do ‘blue sky thinking’, contrary to the apparent aim of the message, actually speaks of conformity rather than innovation.
You may ‘wish to go the extra mile’ but that might not be evident from your choice of phrase.
Now it isn’t wrong to feel you are ‘cutting-edge’ as such. However, does anyone else out there claim to be ‘run-of-the-mill’?
If your ‘bespoke solutions’ can be mistaken for satire, you’re not conveying a good message.
Being distinct is crucial to any company. It tells people that you’re honest, trustworthy and care about what you do. It helps people recognise you, and makes you stand out in a crowded market.
But distinctiveness is not enough. The trick of good communications in the digital age is to have a strategy that makes you unique without becoming obscure or invisible. Getting it right involves balance, and that necessitates consideration.
Online, identifying search terms used by customers must also form part of those considerations. For certain key words to come across, sometimes you have to conform to their patterns.
It can be harder to find the right words now, but when did easy ever get us anywhere?
There is no turning back from the complexities of this digital age. The businesses willing and best able to face up and adapt to them will surely do the best.