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Much of the copy I read on websites is so laden with self-congratulatory, back patting and superlative-driven that it even puts the perfect social media lives of some people to shame.
Everything is oh-so perfect.
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s sentences and phrases like these:
- We are the best in our field.
- Our oh-so innovative approach
- This is the top of the line/state of the art/etc.
- This is the only blog this side of the Mississippi that does xyz
Now, I’m not totally against using terms or phrases like this, but when we do we need to back them up.
If you tell me you are innovative, also show me why and how.
I don’t even know what top of the line means? What line?
If you state you are the only one doing one thing or another, tell me how you know. Who declared that or is it personal knowledge/perception? Even if it’s personal perception, that’s still good to know. “I don’t know anyone else who talks about storytelling and how it relates to content marketing the way I do.” As far as I know that’s a true statement.
In general, it seems to me that those awesome sounding terms are a leftover from marketing copy. Maybe brochures. Maybe news releases. Maybe there was a time when people thought that’s good storytelling.
I would recommend to not use them or, if it’s absolutely required, show why they are true. There are ways to do that:
- Share a story of a customer that was impacted
- Share data from a third-party, like a national association or governing body
- Document somebody else calling you that awesome term. (I didn’t start calling myself an expert until others started calling me one.)
Having people who were actually impacted by a service share their story and show how innovative and top of the line a brand is has power, but only when their story comes off as believable. I’m not saying they are lying but some “customer stories” shared by brands – even when they are totally legit – can come off as fake. Even when it says “actual human” under their name.
Another way to get those customer testimonials is to catch them when people share them on their own social media channels or blogs. Those stories are usually shared for personal reasons and often appear very genuine and authentic – because they are. People even make decisions on those stories. Same with reviews. Catch good reviews and see if you can amplify them. (I’d still get permission.)
Here’s to showing our stories as opposed to just telling them.
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