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Shifting from push to pull approach

As a copywriter, I’m often asked for advice regarding brands getting too used to pushing ‘me’ messages. Some business owners fear that maybe they are forgetting to pay attention to consumers, their feelings, wants and needs.

They ask me about ‘storytelling’ and why it’s trending today when marketers have been using storytelling for decades already.

Many brands look for help from copywriters because they realise that they’re struggling to make connections and develop deep, meaningful relationships with their audience. Some brands were not writing their copy in a way that humanises their messages. With poor copywriting, they failed to capture readers’ imagination.

They could have used ideas that would pull readers to them, such as opportunities for engagement and opportunities to use content that could be useful to their audience. Instead, some were using old data-dumping methods where they pushed annual reports, survey results, figures and statistics at their audience without putting much emotion into their messages to convince their audience.

With poor copywriting, unless the reader or viewer is conducting research or writing articles, numbers are not going to persuade them to make a purchase or to use what you have to offer. Just because a brand sold a million tablets, it doesn’t mean they have the tablet, community or type of technical support the person seeks.

Good copywriting actually ‘talks’ to the audience, in plain words, sounds or images and make an emotional connection with the audience. In the end, your creative copywriter brings ‘feelings’ for your brand and they’ll easily move readers to decide, based on the emotional connection established, that they should choose your brand.

Through storytelling, a copywriter would give readers a clear idea of which conflict you can resolve for them or how you can make things better and easier for them.

Stories are the natural way consumers connect and make sense. Even you as the brand owner or marketer do this every day in your day-to-day activities.

Imagine bumping into a mate and they start asking about which car model you recommend they buy.

You don’t open with “ABC Brand made 500 million dollars last year selling this car. They have 1000 new staff who all have university degrees. So I bought the car.”

You would instead talk about what the car can do, how it solves your problems. Because that’s what truly matters – how it makes your life easier and perhaps how it makes you feel better.

The same idea goes with offering your review of a restaurant.

You would ignore the financials, the staff professional achievements and so on, and might jump straight to:

“Oh my God, their fish dishes are to die for! They even pull out your chair when you get to the table. Their chef comes to ask you whether you liked the food.”

Right?

So you draw in your friend’s attention. And later they will retell this to someone else who cares. Perhaps to their partners who have power to influence the decision to eat at that restaurant or buy that car.

This pull approach is what small businesses in particular should consider taking. And a good copywriter who understands consumer behaviour would know how to pull people in.

Whether they’re an SEO copywriter or just the storytelling type, your writer should bring the customer to you by sharing the ‘awesomeness’ that is your brand.  A good copywriter would shift your messaging from a push to a pull approach.

I see this on many job adverts calling for new staff who would like to work for a family-friendly organisation offering seven weeks annual leave or the opportunity to work for an organisation who “cares about climate change”.

But what about in your day-to-day storytelling for your business elsewhere?

What’s your small business doing? Pushing out ‘me’ messages more than anything?

Here’s a quick way to find out. See whether you fit in any of these categories:

  • The mindset is: “How many people can we sell to today?” and not “How many people can we help today?”
  • The attitude is: “They need us, they will always come here” instead of “I need them, I need to make them come here.”
  • You place more banners across the internet than you do actual stories.
  • You post more adverts or article links than you actually engage in a two-way dialogue with your target market.
  • Most of your print adverts are designed to look like feature articles.
  • You place adverts before your how-to videos, forcing people to see your brand before the lesson — each time. Because a logo or link isn’t enough.
  • You have never asked your customers or potential customers for feedback or anything at all except money.
  • When you do, you almost never ask them a question that is not about you or your brand.
  • Each time you write or say something to your audience, the content contains more “I” and “we” than “you”.

Image by Joe Philipson

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