Each month, I have an opportunity to reply to marketing-related questions posed by the Forbes Agency Council. Here are some of their recent questions, followed by my thoughts.
Question: Businesses must make the most of accolades, but websites showing only positive reviews can seem suspicious to consumers. How can a company truthfully share both glowing reviews and less-than-stellar feedback from customers in a way that benefits its brand reputation?
Answer: No one expects your company to be perfect, but they do expect you to address the problems that they and others have pointed out. So, use your replies to negative reviews to show how you'll improve. Take that opportunity to prove you're listening to your customers' concerns, that you truly value their input and that you're willing to make changes to earn their loyalty.
Question: "Surprise and delight" is an effective formula for attracting and retaining loyal customers. What is your favorite way to surprise and delight prospects and customers?
Answer: We've had success creating humorous content for channels where it's typically not used, such as on hold, corporate videos and e-newsletters. In those cases, it's almost certainly a surprise, and based on the feedback of our clients and their customers, it's often regarded as delightful and a differentiator. Used deftly, humor can create memorable impressions, encourage sharing and humanize a brand.
Question: What’s your favorite trick to remove fluff and reduce marketing copy to only the most essential, compelling and actionable language?
Answer: Put your readers first! Edit your writing with their needs at the top of your mind. If any of your copy comes off as even remotely selfish, cut it. As a marketing writer your job is to serve your company or client by first serving their audience. Can't be brutal enough with your own work? Run it by a skilled editor who has no regard for your feelings and then learn from his/her editing.
Question: Considering the many ways a brand can falter in this space, what is your top tip to ensure a successful branded podcast?
Answer: Focus on delivering value to your listeners. So many podcast hosts approach their time in front of the mic selfishly, presiding over a loose format and engaging in mindless small talk. Respect your audience's time by getting to the point and presenting information that listeners can apply to their careers. Show prep, editing, rehearsal and continual evaluation will produce a better podcast.