Once upon a time, I went on a date with a boy named Mark. During the course of the date, he proceeded to tell me about his acting career (bitchin’- he was starring in his friend’s independent no-budget film, his job (he was making killer tips), his financial situation (awesome — he’s finally able to move away from home) and his abs (they were in noxious pain, dude, because he was “whalin’ on them” earlier.)
I made it through half my drink before I couldn’t take it anymore. At first, I thought it was his use of “dude” every third word. Or about how someone could spend that much time talking about his abs. Then I realized something, as narcissistic as it sounded — I could have probably overlooked a number of conversational sins if he would have done just one thing: talked less about himself, and focused more on me.
And really, deep down, don’t we want it to be all about us?
Of course we do. So why do companies insist on creating ego-driven content that doesn’t focus on the reader?
I know, I know. You didn’t mean to sound like a bad date. When you approved your corporate copy to read, “Our 50,000 square foot facility is state of the art,” you really did think that your customers would care. But think about it. Your 50,000 square foot facility provides me as much of a benefit statement as hearing about my friend’s abdominal muscles. Why would I care about your factory size when what I really care about is that you carry hard-to-find, full-warrantied parts you can ship overnight for 20 percent less than the manufacturer.
Wondering if your site does nothing but talk about your company’s coolness? Future Now has a great tool called the We We Calculator. Simply submit your URL to learn your “customer focus rate” percentage, and how many times you used “customer focus words.” If your percentage is low, you’re asked if your self-focused copy “might have an impact on your effectiveness.”
Try it. You’ll be surprised. You may be more of a bad date than you ever thought.