When I was reading Adam Sherk’s list of the most overused buzzwords in press releases, it reminded me that most companies still don’t get it. They still don’t get that patting themselves on the back gets them nothing. They still don’t get that customers, quite frankly, don’t give a damn about them. And neither do reporters.
As a copywriter, I occasionally come across clients who are in this group of those who don’t get it. I’ll create copy that speaks directly with the reader, engaging them and focusing on what they stand to gain, but the client will send back notes and edits that change the focus of the conversation to how great they are. This involves a bunch of pat-yourself-on-the-back talk, using words and phrases like “industry leader”, “most trusted”, “top of its class”, and of course, “we”.
If you own a company, I have news for you. Nobody cares about you. Seriously, they’re not impressed. So, stop patting yourself on the back every chance you get. Because if your copy or your press releases are full of the typical buzzwords and focused only on yourself, you aren’t going to get the response you hoped for.
That’s because people only care about themselves. And for good reason. Put yourself in a customer’s shoes. Why should he care if your company is a “leader” or “best of breed” or “unique”? What does that mean for him? It means nothing. If he’s going to be handing over his hard-earned money to you, what he needs to know first is how he’ll benefit by doing so. What does he stand to gain?
Focus the content on the reader, not on yourself.
Same thing goes for press releases. Why should a reporter care if you think your company is the greatest? All he cares about is finding a good story that will appeal to his audience. A press release that reads like an advertisement isn’t a good story. The reporter has nothing to gain by running with it.
Again, focus the content on the reader, not on yourself.
One of my absolute favorite copywriting tools in the world is this simple WeWe Monitor. Just input your URL or enter the text here and you’ll be able to see where the focus of your copy really is. If you’re talking about yourself more than you’re talking about the customer, you’ve failed. (Note: The tool can’t analyze context. So, there are times where words like “I” or “me” are actually being used to refer to the customer, but they’re counted as self-focused. Keep that in mind.)
Do you pat yourself on the back too often?