Do You Know Who You are Talking to?
With social media today, companies have opportunities to say a lot, to share, to retweet, to favorite, to connect. But, as a company do you know who you are talking to? Do you really know? Because if you don’t know you might as well be talking to yourself because you are the only one listening. Before you spend money on articles make sure you have a single end-user in mind. Yes, that’s right. One person who you are talking to then put yourself in that person’s shoes and think about the questions they will ask when they read your tweet or headline.
Do we have anything in common?
I’m just wondering if we have anything in common. I mean when I go to your blog, I’m scanning, I’m thinking is this for me? I’m trying to figure it out as quickly as I can because time is limited you know? Time. Is. Limited. What are you talking about? Can I relate? Do I want to hang out with you? Do I want to get to know you better? Do I care what you have to say? Do you believe what I believe?
When you are selling a product—and if you are a writer, your writing is a product, by the way—it’s important to think about your audience. Actually, it’s not just important it’s essential. You have to ask yourself “Who am I talking to?” Who is it? Who is that ONE PERSON across the table, in a room, at a restaurant, at a bar, at a hospital, at a house who you want to HEAR you. Who is it? I need details. Is it a man or a woman? Let’s assume it’s a man. I need to know what he looks like, what he is wearing, and where he shops. How old is he? Does he have kids? Is he married? Divorced? Single? Single parent? Does he have a college degree? BA? MBA? Ph.D.? Is he American? Is he from a big city, or is he from the country? What are his hobbies? Does he believe in God? Does he believe in equal rights? Let’s swap to a hypothetical she. Does she travel? Which magazines does she read? Which newspapers? Which websites? Which apps? Which political party is she a card carrying member of? Is she political at all? What is her income level? Middle Class? Upper Middle Class? Has she traveled beyond the USA? What’s important to her? What are her favorite stores? What kind of car does she drive? What kind of car does she wish she drove? Does she own a home or rent?
Who are you?
I need to know who you are because I’m not sure if I have time for another friend. I’m not sure if I have time to be there for you. To comment when you need me to. To listen, to share, to support you in your endeavors. I’m not sure. Do you talk about topics that are relevant to me? Show me. As a writer, you need to know what my triggers are, what my values are, what my beliefs are, what my motivators are. What generation I am from. Am I a boomer? Am I a GenXer? (Yes, I am by the way.) Am I a Millennial? What will make me love your product? At Specto Design, we do this for companies, and I can’t stress enough how you must have a CLEAR understanding of who you want to have a conversation with. You also need to understand your tone. Are you sarcastic? Are you funny? Are you edgy? Are you serious? Are you warm and fuzzy? Which is it? Your product has a personality. You have a personality. So what is that personality? That personality becomes your conversational tone.
Who is YOUR PERSON?
OK let’s assume you know who you are, your personality, your tone, your values, your beliefs. GREAT! You’ve done the work. Now you are ready to venture out, you are ready to make some friends, spark some conversations. No problem. You know who you are so this should by easy peasy right?
Let’s recap, every interaction, every word, every headline is a direct line of communication to me. I’m the ONE PERSON you are talking to (or not). If I’m not your person, that doesn’t matter. The point is you have to know who YOUR PERSON is. It has to be ONE PERSON, the one you want to start a conversation with, the one who will be “your friend,” the one who will love your product. In all writing, in all design you must ask yourself “Is this relevant to my target audience?” “Why does she care?” “Why does he care?” “Why would they want to hear it from me?” “Why am I different?” “Why?”
Why? Because you will be real. You won’t bullshit. You will say what you mean and mean what you say. You will speak to one person instead of the masses. You will talk to YOUR PERSON, (avatar, target audience, user) in their language (tone) and never change that tone. NEVER! You will connect because there are other people out there like you.
Remember, all people, in all walks of life, are desperately looking to relate on some visceral level, they are looking for solutions to their problems, they are dying to find their “tribe.” They are. Believe me. If you can be that person, that product, that solution, if you can make their day better, their month better, their life better, then do it and do it consistently. Do you feel me?
Friendship Ain’t Easy
Make no mistake, what I’m telling you isn’t easy to do. It requires discipline, something us writers aren’t the best at. It takes work, dedication and time just like any great friendship. You have to care about YOUR person. You have to want to help them. You have to be there for them when they need you. They need to be able to rely on you. Apple is one of my best friends. Crate & Barrel is another. Whole Foods is another. Audi is another. I know I can rely on them to give me what I want, what I need. They never let me down. In writing, I have my best friends too, ones I can rely on. I have friends who entertain me, friends who help me, friends who make me cry, friends who make me feel, friends who love me unconditionally. I need them all, not at the same time, but, depending on what I need, I know who to seek out, and they know when to seek me out.
For me to remember you, for me to keep coming back for more, for me to tell the world about you I have to be able to explain you in one sentence. One sentence. This is the moment where your brand comes into play. Your brand is the experience you promise me. Period. What can I expect when I read your writing? When I buy your product? What can I expect? Tell me, and if I can relate, I will be your best friend for life. I will tell my friends about you. I will tell the world about you. I can’t wait. Remember, I need you. Right?