Here’s a truth bomb for you: When you run an online business, everything you do is built upon what you say and how you say it. Seems obvious, right? But think about what this really means.
What you say is the foundation of your business.
If your words don’t get—and keep—the attention of the right people, your business will never get off the ground.
You don’t need to be a prolific writer to reach your audience and grow your business. You simply need to implement a few simple messaging tricks. Here’s a look at quick tips to get started:
1. Understand your positioning
If you don’t remember anything else, remember this: You are not the hero of this story. You are the guide, providing the hero with what they need in order to be successful.
If this is The Hunger Games, you’re not Katniss, you’re Haymitch Abernathy (hopefully a more sober version).
So often, we spend time obsessing over our ideal client persona. It’s a key piece of our business, after all. We can’t reach our audience if we don’t know who they are and what they need. But it’s just as important to know who you are to your audience.
Know your own positioning, so you know how to relate to your ideal client. What kind of guide are you?
2. Know your brand vocabulary
Your brand, which informs your marketing, is more than your logo and color scheme. Certain words and phrases also embody your brand. This brand vocabulary helps you establish consistency and become recognizable in a saturated market.
For example, my audience knows me as a self-professed “word nerd”. This isn’t an accident. When I was first building my brand I used the phrase ruthlessly. Then, I backed it up with results, proving my writing, persuasion, and messaging expertise to my audience.
Suddenly, people I had never spoken to were using the phrase “word nerd” to describe me. Essentially, I owned the phrase until it became inseparable from my brand.
As you’re thinking about your own messaging, think about what words and phrases you want to tie to your brand. When someone thinks of you, what do you want to immediately come to mind?
3. Keep the spotlight where it belongs
Which of the following sentences do you think is more successful when you communicate with your ideal clients?
- I will help you build a more successful business.
- You will build a more successful business .
Do you have your answer?
Going back to the hero analogy, it can be tempting to make your message all about yourself. After all, you want to tell your story (it makes you easier to relate to, right?). This is great and all, but be wary of putting too much emphasis on yourself.
Your story is important, but only in the larger context of your audience’s story. Don’t forget who the hero is. When you’re writing content, frame it so the focus is on them, not you. Which, if we look back at the sample sentences above, makes the second example more successful.
4. Remain ruthless
Okay, be honest. How many tabs do you currently have open on your computer? I’m sitting at eleven right now.
It’s astounding how short our attention spans are. We’re constantly being distracted by the next shiny object, flitting from topic to topic. We amass interesting information for “later”, but later rarely seems to arrive.
This is how we end up with several hundred freebies in our downloads folder, twenty or thirty half-finished courses, and a pile of unanswered e-mails. When trying to cut through the noise with your message it can be tempting to try and scream the loudest. This is a bad move.
Maybe you’ll turn a few heads, but in ten minutes your audience will find something more interesting. Your business, like Rome, will not be built in a day. Instead, strive to be more consistent. Once you understand your message and how its framed, be ruthless in its pursuit.
5. Put it out to the world every day
Yes, this is a long game. But over time, people will begin to recognize you, not as the person who yelled the loudest, but as the person who has always been there, providing consistent value and proving their effectiveness.
Each of these strategies is a small piece of the execution of your message and they build upon one another. First, you need to understand your positioning. Then, you can get a sense of the mutual language you share with your audience (and which words are undeniably associated with your brand) and can begin speaking to them instead of at them.
Finally, you can engage in the ruthless, consistent pursuit of presenting your message to the world. And then? Grow baby grow!
This article has been edited and condensed.
A self-proclaimed “word nerd”, Jessi Honard is a copywriter and writing mentor. As someone who has been passionately scribbling her entire life, Jessi has grown her business through strategic copy and consistent positioning. Working with entrepreneurs and small businesses, Jessi builds meaningful relationships through the art (and science) of storytelling. Connect with @jessicahonard on Twitter.
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