Congrats; something big is happening to your brand.
Maybe you’re launching a new product. Or you have a new website. Or you hired a kick-ass new employee.
So what do you want to do? You want to shout it to the world, right? You want to put out a press release and let everyone know that you’re doing great things, because surely they’ll be impressed.
Except they probably won’t.
And the reason is not because they shouldn’t be impressed (because what you want to announce IS impressive). It’s because it’s about you — and not about them.
People are selfish with their content consumption. We know this. So let’s work with it.
The next time you have a big announcement you want to share, stop. Don’t announce it. Instead, look for the lesson in it. Meaning: flip that announcement inside out and put the focus back on your intended audience.
What will your audience get out of this announcement? How will it directly benefit their lives? How will it solve a problem they’re facing?
A while back I went to a Content Marketing Institute workshop, and Robert Rose used a great exercise to help attendees strip back our brand b.s. and get to the heart of our stories. First, you write down what you want to do, and then you repeatedly ask yourself “Why?”:
I want to announce my awesome new product/website/employee.
Why do you want to announce this?
Because I think my audience will be super excited and give me their money.
Why will your audience be super excited?
Well, because the new product is exactly what they need.
Why is it what they need?
It does this and this and this.
Why does it do those things?
To solve this major problem they’ve told us about.
Now, when you write your story, start from the bottom of that inquiry and work your way up. Talk about how it solves this major problem by doing this and this and this, which is exactly what your audience needs. Then introduce your announcement as the solution to that problem.
So instead of announcing your product … write about the industry challenge it solves.
Instead of celebrating your new website launch … write about the lessons you’ve learned over the years and how those have helped you create a better experience for your audience.
Instead of publicly high-fiving your new employee … write about the issues that person is an expert in, and how you hired her to combat those issues for your audience.
You’re doing the same thing. You’re making an announcement, just not in a self-serving, expected way. You’re actually creating value rather than another press release to file away.
Want to see an example?
Back in October, we announced our new website with the post “How to Criticize Your Own Story (& Why You Should Do It)”. The post talks about how to beat the overwhelm and familiarity that can stop you from seeing the problems in your marketing — and then shows how we did just that in the process of building our new website.
It’s an announcement disguised as a lesson.
Write articles, not press releases. Be helpful, not promotional. Use your knowledge, don’t hide it. It will pay off.
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