There's a change coming. The early morning sun gives way to darker skies; it feels like there's a storm brewing on the horizon constantly. Wind, rain and clouds become the norm. And yet, there's still a little warmth. Summer’s hope hasn’t been extinguished, yet.
From scorching heat to a bite of autumn in the air
The other morning I was in the garden and the sun hit my back as it came out from behind a cloud. The sun’s heat on a chilly, damp morning in late August was surprising. A delicious contrast to the dew coating the grass. The warmth washed over me, bringing a warm tide of fond summer memories with it.
Emotions rose up and I realised that although the winds of change are a-blowin’, the late summer sun hasn't surrendered to the autumn breeze just yet. There's still plenty of enjoyment to be had, plenty of sunshine filled-moments to savour. No, don’t laugh… I’m an optimist until the end, despite a lifetime’s acquaintance with the British weather!
It occurred to me that words hold a similar power to the sun.
They can scorch if they’re too powerful
They have the power to wither if they’re too meagre
And when it all comes together with just the right amount of blue sky and fluffy clouds, words – like the sun – can warm the soul
Words and weather
Your copy, your words have the power to do that.
They can connect your prospects to their emotions, take them to a more hopeful, optimistic place. They can build trust, credibility, forge a relationship. And when you’re operating from that place, it moves your marketing beyond transaction to value.
Getting your words right
How does it all work? Let's think about emotions in copy and a little fable you may be familiar with.
When the ray of sunlight hit my back, it felt:
Nostalgic - took me back instantly to summers gone by
Delicious - like savouring time with an old friend that you haven't seen for years
Expectant - the blooms and lush fullness of the plants around me signified their fruitfulness and reminded me that the bounty of harvest season is within touching distance
Remember Aesop’s fables - the stories you listened to sat on the carpet in front of your teacher in primary school?
In Aesop's famous tale, the North Wind blew and blew and blew, and the traveller would not remove his cloak. And when the sun shone out, the traveller became warm and immediately removed his cloak.
'And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.'
So, imagine that your marketing, your copy, your message is the sun. It falls like a ray of sun on your prospect's face and encourages a tiny smile onto their lips. It cuts through the cloud, subdues the wind and dries the drizzle.
Your marketing doesn't have to be bold, brash or like The North Wind to have an effect. If anything, taking that approach is more likely to put your audience off, as I touched on in last week's message.
Think how powerful it is when the sun hits you in the face. Where does it take you? How can you make your words more like the sun - engaging, pleasant, something to be savoured? Strong, in a way that's gently persuasive.
Think like a farmer: play the long game
If you're in the business of providing a service, if you believe in the power of thoughtful, carefully chosen words to connect to your customers, spend some time mapping out what matters to them. Put the time into the preparation, so that when it comes time to harvest your table will be groaning with the bounty on offer.
Time. Patience. Hope.
Don’t get me wrong, thoughtful, well-chosen words might not result in an immediate sale. But hey, you work in B2B services - and off the cuff sales are the exception, not the rule. Providing a service needs you to build trust, before any sales take place. But as you build credibility in people's eyes, you'll move away from a place of transaction and towards a place of value. And like the sun that takes you back to that bucket-and-spade-holiday, with sand in your toes and ice cream all over your face, you can't put a price on that.
Share what you discover
And when you've done that? Let me know how your efforts turned out. Leave a comment below or hit reply and update me.
And in the meantime, savour that late summer sun...
Your words matter,
The Weekly Writing Reflection
Each week I share an inspirational quote and a writing prompt. The idea is for you to spend a moment doing some active reflection through writing.
Enjoy this week’s quote…
“Not serving [God], I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good, which was in my power to create.”
- Leo Tolstoy
And your writing prompt (should you want to use one):
If the word ‘God’ is problematic for me, what can I replace it with? And what happens when I answer that question…?
What’s caught my eye this week
Each and every week I’ll share a few snippets of inspiration, thought-provocation and jubilation. Hand-curated delights, selected by yours truly to stimulate your mind and soothe your soul.
A couple of things really stood out to me this week:
What are you not seeing? Keep asking that question – Barbara from Living Antenna has some thoughts to share about non-attachment and what it means for the conclusions we come to.
Solid life advice – from The Profile’s Polina Marinova: work hard, move your body, and love as best you can. Can’t say fairer than that.
I’ll leave you with a picture I took on a lunchtime ramble, darting out to make the most of that late summer sunshine between downpours. I doubt any of my photographer pals will be handing me their cameras any time soon, but I like it.
And remember, from tiny acorns…