Much as the Statue of Liberty attracts the poor, the tired, the huddled masses longing to be free, so Captains of Industry set out to entice the dullest, least-inspired pieces of online pabulum for a content makeover.
The entries were astounding, and not in a good way. Consider this, from Communicative Health Care Associates in Waltham, Massachusetts:
“Communicative Health Care Associates (CHCA) specializes in full speech-language diagnostic services, therapeutic care, and hearing screenings and through our division, Allied Rehabilitation Associates (ARA), we offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary rehabilitation services including physical and occupational therapies.”
In other words: They help people speak, learn sign language, or improve their hearing. People who have lost (or never had) the ability to hear a loved one’s whispered “I love you” might hear again (or at last).
There were plenty more examples. But notice how this one is absolutely devoid of personality, tone and voice? Notice how it doesn’t communicate anything of value about who the organization is? Or what’s special about it? Or anything at all?
(And, for the record, I’m not picking on this company: All of the entrants nominated themselves for a content makeover. Which is awesome, since the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have a problem, right?)
Creating amazing content is increasingly a cornerstone to lead generation and lead nurturing. In other words, it's key to attracting new customers and to deepening relationships with existing ones. So why are so many companies not paying attention to how they sound? Why do so many companies seem to put so little effort into creating an accessible, relevant, human voice?
You may not sell anything that’s close to as potentially life-changing as the company that helps people communicate. But content that’s personable, engaging and compelling can be plenty dramatic indeed—no matter what you are selling.
For example, contrast the Communicative Health Care example with the welcome message on the home page of Emma, a Nashville, Tennessee, email marketing company:
“Meet Emma, the email marketing and communications service that's taken a unique approach to web-based software. We think it should be easy to use (goodbye, cluttered interface). It should be made for you (farewell, generic templates). And it should even be fun (see ya around, support phone queue). It's all about email marketing in style, and it's why 20,000 small and midsize businesses, non-profits and agencies have chosen Emma to power their email newsletters and campaigns. And we'd love to help you.”
See how you get a sense immediately of voice and tone? You get the sense that someone human actually wrote the home page, and you start to get a sense of the fun, quirky, but capable company that is Emma.
Of course, there are other elements at work here: Emma’s text sounds like it was written to an actual person—a would-be customer—and it conveys what Emma can do for them (“we’d love to help you”), versus merely talking about how awesome Emma is. But that’s a post for another day.
So how does your organization develop a voice for the content you’re publishing? Have you considered the issue of “voice,” as relates to your business? Are you bold… or completely boring.
Photo credit: ErinKhoo