Why Do Words Matter?

In this crowded environment of media channels, we have to compete with a lot of noise. It’s everywhere you go. Some of it is promotional, some of it is entertainment, and then there’s the 24/7 news cycle that can often seem like both. Social media adds yet another dimension to the noisy landscape. So, how do you slice through it all and motivate your target audience? In the end, it comes down to words.

Of course, there is no shortage of words. Whether they are delivered via video, podcasts, radio, TV, print media, or right here in this article . . . words are ever-present. But are they reaching us in a way that influences or shifts our behavior in a positive way? Oftentimes, no. Words can become benign, filler, or throw-away. Crafted by deadlines, marketers, political agenda, or even designed to elicit search engine results. At worst, words can be sharp, divisive weapons used to bring harm to each other. It’s no wonder we can so easily relegate words to the background.

“Wait one second, did he say ‘marketers?’” Yes I did. Because marketers are just as capable of delivering empty words as anyone else . . . maybe even more-so. Marketing copywriters are tasked with the tough job of grabbing an audience’s attention, demonstrating a point, and influencing that audience’s behavior. However, sometimes they can choose the wrong words and miss their goal. Especially when the focus is on a broad-based sales pitch, not establishing the target’s need or a value proposition. Let me pose a rhetorical question; how effective can a sales pitch be if your target audience sees little value in what you’re saying? And who likes to be “sold,” anyway?

Hmmm . . . value? Why does that still seem like an elusive concept when it comes to marketing content writing? The reason is, establishing value can be quite challenging – and sometimes false assumptions can be made. There’s no way around it – successfully establishing value is a carefully cultivated process. That process involves target audience research, a profound understanding of the offered product or services, effective words, and patience. We must also keep in mind that “value” is not solely a matter of economics – it’s perceived in different ways by different people.

Which words work best? The answer is “those that are meaningful to your prospective customers.” Speak their language. Be aware of what the goals and challenges are for their business and in their industry. Understand their their pain-points and how your products or services are positioned to be a solution for THEM. If you are a tech company, don’t sell tech . . . present your prospects with a solution that uses tech. If you are a media company, don’t get sidetracked by what’s important to a media company, focus on what’s important to your clients.

Words DO matter – so use them wisely and carefully. Set out to be interesting, captivating, and focused on the needs and wants of your target audience. Give them a reason to listen to, or read, your words. Slice through the noise, not by being louder, but by being more relevant to them. If you can influence your audience by helping them, instead of “selling” to them, you hand them a win, and that is the foundation for a strong and potentially long-lasting business relationship.