Marketing, Talking to Customers, Writing

In Marketing Writing, Answer “Why Should I Care?”

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Imagine that you want to buy a new washing machine. You go to the store and a sales clerk blasts you with the details about a certain model. There are many other washing machines to consider with different price points, functionality, etc. so you’re wondering WHY SHOULD I CARE about this particular washing machine? If the sales clerk really wants to make a sale, he/she should ask what is important to you in a washing machine and answer this question for you. If he/she prattles on about features you don’t care about, he/she is wasting your time; you’ll probably go elsewhere to make a purchase.

It’s the same in writing. The basic thing you should keep in mind at all times is to answer the question your reader will ask about your writing: WHY SHOULD I CARE? Sure, your technology, service, or product may have great bells and whistles. Super. WHY SHOULD I CARE? Sure, your company has a great reputation. Fabulous. WHY SHOULD I CARE? Another version of this question is the familiar “What’s In It For Me?”

In practicality, if you’re writing a datasheet that lists features and functionality, you still have to talk about benefits for the intended audience. Who IS your intended audience for that datasheet (or any other document)? You should know that before the writing begins so that it can be slanted to those people. There may be several stakeholders with various interests and needs; you must answer the question WHY SHOULD I CARE? for each of them and show that you understand why this product or service can meet their needs.

Bottom line? Take the focus off look-how-great-this-product (company, service, or whatever) is and put the focus on the customer. Don’t be an over-indulgent washing machine salesperson. Instead, show your target audience that you understand their needs and that you have a solution to help them meet those needs. Then they will show you WHY SHOULD [THEY] CARE about your company.

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