Does Your Content Pass the “Bar-stool Test”?

Does your marketing message connect? Is it rising above the content noise in today’s marketplace?

As a professional copywriter and content publisher it’s essential that what I write connects. Clients pay me for the connect-ability of my writing to their target audience and market. When it connects, people buy, use their services, make an investment, embrace their ideas, etc.

After all, the essence of marketing is connection – making the sale – however you define “sale.”

Word quality is important. But consider this – so is tone, quantity, and let’s not forget delivery.

Occasionally, I’m paid to talk (nearly 30 years of speaking experience). Writing is simply talking on paper or the monitor.

Conversations, like speeches or content on a page or screen, go one of two ways: people get bored and think – “when is this person going go shut-up…,” they turn the page, they *click* away from the website or blog page.

Or…they stay engaged – “tell me more…I’m listening…give me more information…let’s talk again soon!”

Your marketing tone keeps the conversation flowing. Or it’s just another piece of paper, a webpage, post, or talking-head voice.

Remember the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher?

You never heard actual words. All you heard when ole’ Chuck or a classmate asked her a question was “wah-wah-wah-wah-wah…” Seinfeld’s George Costanza would say, “Yada…yada…yada.”

Writing requires proper voice or it’s just words (yada…yada…wah…wah…wah).

For maximum impact, evaluate the words you use to promote your ideas, information, services, products, etc.

Keep it conversational.

When I first started to learn copywriting skills, Michael Masterson taught me a priceless lesson. He says, when writing imagine you’re sitting on a bar-stool in a conversation with a friend, colleague, family member, or someone you just met.

You’re sitting there. It’s casual. You’re comfortable. They’re comfortable. And you’re just having a chat.

Try these 5 “Bar-stool Copywriting Tips”:

1–Write like you talk.

Imagine a casual moment, sitting on a bar-stool. If you were telling someone about your company, product, service, or idea, how would you describe it? Would you go all technical on them? Would you use big, industry words only you and a few others understand? Would you explode into a hype-driven, sales-y tone? Or would you just talk?

2–Make an impression without trying to impress.

When the person you’re talking with (in this case, writing to) leaves the conversation will they remember you more for how impressive you were or will they recall the easy-going, comfortable nature of the dialogue? Would they say, “Let’s talk again soon…”? Or do they think, “Could we do this again, like…during the next solar eclipse…”? The impression you make with your writing brings people back for more.

3–Give communication the power-position.

The goal of marketing is the sale (the impression). Merely impressive marketing efforts may or may not achieve that goal. It’s a choice – be impressive (eye & ear candy) or make an impression (compel & persuade). How you communicate effects the bottom-line.

4–Dress your language less formal and more casual.

Some are more comfortable in a suit, others in jeans. There’s a time and place for both.

Good, compelling content is comfortable – like your favorite jeans.

When writing most can’t get the image of their English teacher out of their mind (I know…thanks for reminding you). You stress over crossing all your “t’s,” dotting all your “i’s,” watching your sentence structure…and don’t eeeeven get me started on grammar.

I’m not saying “slang-it-up,” get lazy or sloppy. But what works on the bar-stool – formal or casual?

Use good judgment. What’s easily read gets remembered. And what’s remembered gets purchased, used, or applied.

5–Communicate effortlessly.

Envision Peyton Manning completing a 20 yard pass for a first-and-goal…Tiger Woods teeing off…Kevin Durant sinking a 3-pointer. The common thread – they appear effortless! Their skill seems second nature and fluid.

Make your writing appear effortless.

Be aware of how writing about your idea, product, service, and business gets in the way of the benefits or the intended result. Remember – features entice. Benefits sell!

Give your content and marketing approaches the “bar-stool test.” Evaluate and apply these tips to your writing. They could be the difference between decreasing or increasing profit and confusing or compelling your reader.


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