Is your content ‘Pretend Personal’?

by | Dec 17, 2020 | Content writing, Founders & Entrepreneurs, Humanistic Marketing, Marketing Tips

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After my recent wailing to a friend about the persistence of this kind of language in what is supposed to be professional communications to smart business people, he laughed and termed it ‘The Pretend Personal’.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that over-excited language and punctuation, often repeating the same tired words and phrases, has lost any impact it ever had on online audiences.

Now I’m an expressive person – I get excited about ideas, I talk with my hands, my voice goes up and down and is kind of on the loud side. I can’t help it – I have 100% Latin blood! This sometimes comes across in my online content too, in videos, articles, posts and newsletters. I have in the past been guilty of unnecessarily excited language, but I have learned to scale it down to try to say what I really mean. I have learned that it can be human and personal, while professional. I have learned the importance of understanding your audience, right at this time.

What kind of audience do you want?

If you want a herd of sheep to follow you to the ends of the earth, constantly seeking help but never doing anything to help themselves, use pretend-caring, over-the-top motivational rubbish in your promotions.

If you want to work with intelligent, pro-active people to help them achieve their goals on the way to going places and making things happen… treat them like they have a brain.

What does your audience look like right now?

Things change quickly in the world we live in. Language we used mindlessly three years ago is no longer relevant or acceptable. The ways consumers engage with brands has totally changed in a few short years. What we seek out or reject online comes down to the relevance and resonance of content, right this minute.

So let me tell you where the Pretend Personal sits now.

Over-the-top enthusiasm is cringe-worthy.

Boasting, thinly veiled as gratitude, is a total turn-off.

Classic sales messaging (“Buy now!” / “Don’t miss out!” / “Can you afford not to?”) is insulting people’s intelligence.

And don’t get me started on bulk emails that begin with ‘Hi Jane!’ and then continue to insert Jane throughout the email. Jane doesn’t really think you’re talking especially to her.

Treat people like the intelligent, Internet-savvy, busy people they are. Be real. That’s what works now.