Opinionated WQ Cindy here. Yup, have one about most topics. If I don’t know something about a given topic, give me about 15 minutes of some exploring on the subject and I’ll fabricate an opinion. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have an exclusive on that skill. Even scarier is when I have some experience in a given subject; my opinions can even form into a strategy or provide solutions. Ooooh, Ahhhh. Then there comes the added dilemma of when to express my opinion – especially when no one really gives a hoot, or, as l like to think, they must have forgotten to ask me. *grin* My ability to shut up and stuff it isn’t one of my best attributes.
The other night I was helping a friend get some clarity for a marketing piece he asked me to write. He had years of experience that needed condensing into a concise piece to not only gain attention of his prospective audience, but also to introduce a new, innovative concept.
Being that I also fit the demographics of his target market and have had decades of intimate experience with his topic (although not with his new approach), I asked a lot of clarifying questions…and I found that they seemed to frustrate him. As a copywriter, how am I to articulate his intent without getting clear myself on “what’s in it for the customer?!!!”? Being a coach, I’m aware that clarifying questions can be a general annoyance to those who would prefer to keep skimming rocks across a lake when what they are seeking is deep IN the water. Dang! Diving can be scary to professional rock skimmers.
To mitigate the frustration, I needed to stop the train on the tracks. “Do you want my input or do you just want me to write?”, I inquired. I could define his message, focusing on his desired facts, figures and structure, or I could add my input of a couple decades of knowing what his ideal clients are seeking and how to get them engaged. The two options were not the same in this case. My friend concluded he wanted “both with multiple options”. I clearly need to be a better teacher about my craft. “Whipping up a few options” to produce marketing content that converts is something any good copywriter can do in a few minutes, right? Ok, I digress…
As an expert in your field, when you find yourself in a moment where your last nerve is being rubbed and you feel yourself ready to spout, “Yeah, my last trick was walking on water”, just sit yourself down. Take a breath. Remember that your clients don’t live in your world, and that’s the reason they hire you – to do what they don’t choose to or don’t know how to do. They likely don’t have a clue about time frames and hurdles involved in research, creative processes, intellectual property issues, laws, rules or even professional protocol like you do, so educate them early and educate them often. It’s my opinion that both of you win in the end.
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