“Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!” ~P. T. Barnum
P.T. Barnum worked to promote his endeavors in a way no person could ignore. Whether you refer to the man as a genius, as I do, or you believe him to be a no-good charlatan, there’s no denying that the art of promotion ran through the man’s veins. Very few people in this world have had that ability to exude such passion, excitement and moxie as Mr. Barnum.
When it comes to promoting your business, non-profit, event or even one’s own self, the goal should always to be to entertain. It’s been said that a person will spend their last dollar to simply be entertained, to receive enjoyment or relish in the euphoria of a “good time.” And yet, when we develop our promotional materials, we seem to ignore this simple fact, and completely exhaust ourselves presenting our efforts as straight-laced and professional as possible. We stick to the safe Times New Roman font face, avoid using bright colors and keep everything ruler straight and level.
There will be no use of exclamation points to convey our enthusiasm, and contractions are forever forbidden!
But here’s the kicker! We like to read the content which most closely resembles our own natural speech. When we tell a buddy at the local watering hole about the new fishing lure we bought, we express our happiness by raising our voices to a higher pitch, by slapping our hands together or flashing a million dollar grin. And it is your responsibility to convert that same enthusiasm into written word.
Here’s a quick example:
“Man! I bought this new lure on Saturday and I tell you what…that baby caught me two of the biggest large mouths I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if it was the color or what, but it was like a freakin’ feeding frenzy! You should get one. I bought it over at Joe’s on Main Ave for under twenty bucks or something. Well worth the investment. Check out the pics on my phone! Do you see what I mean? They’re HUGE!”
INSERT RADIO VOICE —> We call this lure The Big Earl. Swing by Joe’s today and get ‘em before they’re gone. $14.95 for a limited time only!
That sure sounds a hell of a lot better than…
“I had a very good day fishing on Saturday. I bought a new lure from Joe’s on Main Ave and I caught two fish with it. They were both large mouths. You should get one too. I paid $14.95.”
*IGNORE RADIO VOICE BECAUSE YOU FELL ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL*
See what I mean!?
We pay attention to the words our brain best understands. I know you probably have a huge vocabulary, and that’s awesome, but when it comes to writing ads, marketing your wares or creating promotional material try loosening up.
Think of how many directions or requests you receive in a day. They can come in the form of commercials, magazine articles, work reports, schedules, emails or whatever, but I’m guessing that the number is deep in the thousands. All of those messages are competing for your attention. All of the senders think that what they’ve written is important for you to know, but how much of it do you actually soak in and retain?
Your promotion is in the fight of its life! Battling left and right, trying to sink its teeth into a small section of targeted brain space. If you want to give it a chance at victory, make it easy to understand. And even more important…
Make it entertaining!
OK. I’m off to Joe’s to get me one of those lures. I don’t want to be the only guy on the lake without a sweet pic of a monster bass on my phone!
P.S. Disregard this advice if you are authoring the results of a medical study for The New England Journal of Medicine . I hope common sense would prevail, but I felt the need to toss out a warning before a doctor emailed me a prescription for a large can of whoop-ass! ~Andy