It always amazed me how few people try to use personality... in any of their written communications. I mean, real character. People have just been brought up to believe this whole writing thing must be analytical and formal. Otherwise, you don't get taken seriously.
I can see where they're coming from with this belief.
After all, nobody takes the consummate prankster seriously, right?
If you were the class-clown in school, you'll know this firsthand. The "class-clown" was the comic relief. You didn't put much stock in what he said.
But I'm Not Talking About Being Funny As Having Character
The truth is, everyone looks at one extreme end of the spectrum - the class clown - and thinks of how they feel about him.
He shouldn't be taken seriously.
He is never serious.
On and on, so forth.
So, what lies on the other side?
Well, the analytical guy with zero personality. He's just "about the facts." He doesn't put any spice on his food. No sugar with his tea, see?
And most people, not being well-learned salesmen or copywriters... they don't know the truth. And the truth is...
"No Matter Who You're Writing To, THEY Want To See Who YOU Are!"
In just about every marketing test I've known of, a personal voice (Me, John Jay, the president of the company) outsold and outperformed the cold, corporate front (We at Smithinghouse Partners and Associates).
Why? Because as Dan Kennedy said: "People like to deal with people."
OK, here is an example that just happened to me recently: I have a female friend who who was trying to get a job.
She wrote up resumes, put down all the standard BS, and then asked if I'd be so kind as to take a gander.
Well, I did.
Same dry, boring, informal collection of "objectives" and "skills" as every other job seeker.
Cut through the clutter. No matter what, you have to cut through the clutter.
Your headline does this. Your opener. The teaser copy on the envelope. The lack of teaser copy on the envelope.
Whatever. You get attention. You find a way for the reader to STOP in her tracks feel compelled to read what you've sent her.
Anyway, I spiced this things up.
I created a VOICE for her to use. I added personality and even made offers (in forms of promises, or things like free labor as a "test-drive").
She Got A Job The Next Day!
She told me there had been companies who called just because her resume impressed them so much.
And another job she went in for to be interviewed... hired her on the spot!
How did she get in that room?
Because she gave them a reason to bring her in.
The truth is, people want to talk to other people. That's all. They're scared of nameless, faceless creatures. Think about it - most of our horror stories we're raised with are ghostly ghouls we can't see, lurking in the dark.
Have some character! Give them someone to relate to. Give them a person who understands them. Because in the end, no matter how much you talk... a company can never understand another person.
But a living, breathing, fat, pink human being can. (This is also why having a live customer service line, instead of voicemail hell, is important for so many people).
Anyway, that's enough for now.
Take away: don't say we, say I. And inject some life into your communication.
Over and out,