To Err Is Devine
Reasons why you’re here:
- you’re considering working with me on some creative element to your marketing, copywriting, or product promotion efforts
- You’re here to steal my ideas and try to use them for yourself
Whatever the case, here’s the deal. You gotta lighten up.
I work with a lot of companies, brands, and individuals tasked with putting content out into the world: emails, blogs, Medium posts, Tweets, whatever. Everything gets think-tanked to death.
Every line, period, and mark on the page is run over by the editing truck so many times it resembles roadkill left in the desert sun, flat against the asphalt of a forgotten highway ventured only by the lowliest sorts.
Get Out Of Your Way
Chances are, there isn’t a crowd of shareholders looking over your every move, demanding an audit of your choices. You’re not Coke, you’re not the city government (probably). If you get so wrapped up in what your imaginary shareholders might think, you’ll never get around to doing something.
That’s why I like to ship stuff on the FIRST DAY we work together. Get it out there, see what happens. What’s the worst that could happen?
Relax. People aren’t buying your logo or your website colors (90% of the time, it looks different on whatever junk-ass device they are carrying around anyway).
Get out of your way and start hitting the publish button with reckless abandon. Let people know who the hell you are, what you care about, and what you can do for them. Find out if people even want to come to your house and party with you before you fret over what color to paint it.
People are Gonna Leave
That’s what people do. They get bored and they go elsewhere. Something shiny comes up. They change their lifestyle. They move. For whatever reason, they will stop buying from you because something changed for them that you have no control over.
Working with new people (like me) means things are going to change and be different. Some customers might not like that and you’ll never hear from them again. I’ll say this once: if you’re so wrapped up in keeping the 100 or so customers you have right now, you’re never going to get the 5,000 or 500,000 customers who are waiting to find out about you.
I’ve seen producers so wrought on keeping the 1,000 customers they have, they lose sight of the 5 Million customers they could have.
You Gotta Be Strange, Man
There are currently 25000 emails in my inbox from companies I know and love, but I will never open them.
Partly because the subject lines tell me exactly what to expect.
Partly because they are so dull and generic I can’t tell one from the next.
Partly because these companies have been doing the same thing for so long, I can read the entire email with my eyes closed.
See the same thing enough times in a row and you’re eventually blind to it. Seriously, it’s science. If your brain knows something well enough, your conscious attention is diverted from it to just about anything else. Like after you’ve commuted to the same office every day for a year, and you sort of just forget about the drive? The drives you do remember? When someone almost hits you or cuts you off, or the traffic slows to half the usual pace and drives you UP THE WALL.
You remember it because it’s different. So, do something different. Change it up. Surprise yourself. Surprise your audience.
Don’t Try Too Hard To Be Weird
Everyone can smell desperation from a mile away.
To Err Is Divine
Thanks to the tragedy that is modern living, your audience is going to see about a billion different bits of information today. Emails, texts, tweets, Instagram Stories, bus ads, menus, websites, porn, and maybe even a few library books (a guy can dream). With each, there is an extensive amount of effort in making every little detail perfect.
When you see a billion perfect things, you’re going to notice the errors. We stop to figure out why things feel off.
To you, a missed comma can seem like the end of the world. OR it can be an opportunity to connect with the audience who is observant enough to notice these types of things. You know: a conversation.
Absolutely, I agree. There is a time and a place for things to be PERFECT. Like, surgery. I am also pretty sure legal documents have a thin line for errors.
Errors are a way to remind your audience: guess what, there’s a HUMAN over here. It could be the very thing that gets them buying from you.
Errors are different from incompetence. I have a thesis: incompetent people never make it to the end of the page.