“Always remember that everything you put out in the public idea builds your brand – for better or worse – so why not ensure that it builds the public persona you want people to see and hear?“
~ Debra Hilton
Everything You Say Builds a Picture
If you’re afraid that people will judge you because of what you say and show online either on social media or on your own platforms, then that fear is justified: You will be!
There’s no getting around that reality…
So, you have a choice:
- Say nothing and disappear into oblivion
- Pay someone to say whatever they choose
- Control the conversation
There’s a story about Carnegie Steel back in the days when they were being publicly excoriated by coal miners. Andrew Carnegie wondered if he shouldn’t retreat a little and get out of the limelight… Bruce Barton reminded him that it was only by getting out there and taking control of the narrative that he had any chance of retrieving his reputation.
You can choose to control or at least contribute to the narrative – or you can let others say what they choose.
There’s a Reason Why Video is so Popular… And it Isn’t What You Would Expect
Basically, video has an extreme level of personality and authenticity. It’s really hard to find a cheap double to do your videos.
In a world of ghost-writers, content writers, even resume-writers, no one really knows who writes things any more, but people believe what they see and hear on video and it creates an extra level of connection.
It’s still true that the videos you put out – especially if they are clips – can be edited and put together to say things that aren’t necessarily an accurate reflection of your intent, but it still creates a sense of trust in your viewers – for better or worse.
When prospective clients read or watch your materials, what impression do they get?
Is that borne out by your live presentations and other materials?
It doesn’t matter what media you are using, when you set the stage in your introduction, your are setting expectations for future interactions, and you are selecting the kind of people who will resonate with you and want to work with you.
You need to be very careful and extremely conscious of the choices you make.
One of my clients told me a story about a seminar she delivered: During the first break, a member of the audience rushed up to the crowd waiting to speak to her, and said, “I am so distracted by your eyebrows that I can’t make sense of a thing you’re saying.”
That’s an extreme example, but you’d be surprised how often it happens with:
- Grammatical errors and typos (in writing)
- Speech mannerisms (audio & video)
- Nervous gestures (video)
- Voice characteristic (audio & video)
- Dress & Appearance (video)
There will always be people who simply can’t get past the quality / formality of your video production, or your personality, or your presentation… And others who choose to work with your because of those same things.
The important thing is to be aware of the way you present yourself and to think carefully about what you want to project.
So… What About Content Spinners and AI Writers?
Businesses around the world are being encouraged to put more and more content out into the world. There comes a point where you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to marketing and the level of saturation becomes detrimental to your reputation – especially when that content really doesn’t reflect who you are and what you do.
A few months ago, I was asked to quote on writing SEO optimised copy for a client website and provided by their web-developer with a list of the keywords and phrases for each page along with the copy guidelines. I quoted my usual price per page and (unsurprisingly) was informed that the website developer could create copy faster, much more cheaply, and would I please simply quote to fill in their outline, features, and benefits sheet for each page… which I did.
A week or so later, I was sent the copy to review. My response was somewhere between horror and amusement. The copy certainly had the appropriate keyword density (and some of the keywords were chosen more as a result of search volume than because they were appropriate for my client), but it was peculiar to read and if I’d read it in a different context I might have thought someone was joking. When the client questioned their web developer they were assured that the content was carefully edited by real people – but there is no indication of who those real people might be and they certainly weren’t copywriters!
The Truth About ‘Quick Copy’
First, let me say that there is a place for SEO keywords and copywriting IF your primary source of work is via web searches (although in my experience many of these people are not wholly desirable clients).
Second, let me tell you that I am well-aware of the demands of SEO copywriting and back in the days of Google’s Panda update the sites that I wrote for were among the handful who benefited from their anti-black-hat action.
If you choose to go the ‘Quick Copy’ route, be aware that this copy is generic an devoid of emotion. Even when it is churned out by humans, it will NOT build your brand in the way that carefully-crafted copy (even if it is written by someone within your business who is not technically a copywriter) will do. And… the ‘quick copy’ may be detrimental to your reputation.
Many marketing agencies employ people to do the human equivalent of this task and tell you that the copy is written by ‘real people not machines’. That is well and good, but I know some of these people – nice people – who are paid peanuts to churn our 50-100 articles per day – often for 3-4 different clients and their goal is to satisfy the required word count, not to convey your unique value and personality.
What Your Business Needs Instead
Assuming that your goal is to build a premium brand that has personality and delivers value you should keep in mind the statement above:
“Everything you put out in the public idea builds your brand – for better or worse.”
And ensure that anything stamped with your branding – from social media posts and blogs to your website, emails, and products – reinforces the positioning and persona you want the world to see… Or pay the price by repelling your ideal prospects through incongruous publication and ideas.