Let me guess...you’ve tried all the things, jumping from tactic, to trick, to hack, to guru, like a squirrel hopped-up on Mountain Dew.
Are you a squirrel on sugar and caffeine? Possibly. But your scattered brain could also be traced to all that noise you’re hearing...
Here’s what’s screaming for your attention:
- Oh, you need a sales funnel.
- Passive income, baby.
- Consistent blogging is the way to go.
- Nah, blogging is dead. Email is the secret.
- Hmm, speaking of email, how about an opt-in course, challenge, ebook, checklist?
- Email is for your granny. You should be doing videos. (Not that kind of videos, perv.)
- But wait, maybe a podcast is the answer.
- Better get on those Insta-stories.
- Ooh, Snapchat.
- Is Facebook still a thing? After the algorithm change…
- What’s an algorithm?
- That’s soooo last week. You need to focus on XYZ instead.
As Charlie Brown once said: AGGGHHHHHHHHHH. Are you screaming SHUT UP? I know I am. (And my dog is giving me the sideways look.)
When all the things = fail
Let’s say you tried all of the things you should try, that the experts said to do, that made such and such a billion dollars in a one-second launch, and still here you are.
You’re not cruising to the school pick-up line in your new Lamborghini. (Let’s be real. I’ll take a new’ish Rav4 any day.) You’re flopping around like a fish, hoping something, anything, someone will save you, throw you back in the water where all the successful fish are.
You tried so hard. You lost sleep. You drank way too much coffee. Your butt was glued to your desk chair. You spent hundreds, thousands of dollars, on courses, books, workbooks, templates, software, apps, maybe even ads.
I know you because I am you. Okay, I’m not exactly you, but I’ve done the exact things you’ve done.
Why? Because I want to make it work. I want to be a success. I want to stand on the top floor of the parking garage, at the place I used to work, and shout, “I’m never coming back, suckers!!!!!”
What I don’t want...to crawl back into the old office, tail between my legs, and say, “Can I please have a job? Any job. Please, sir, I just need a job.”
I don't want to fail. You don’t want to fail. Thus, we do all the things to avoid failure. And once we’re out there, running a business, we feel this planet-sized pressure to make it work. To perform. To sell. To be on. To kill it.
How do we make it work? We look to others who have made it. We try what they do. We listen to what they say. We ask the experts. We buy all the courses, more than we could probably complete in a decade, and then…
Then comes the big “WTF am I doing?” Then comes trying to be happy for Sally Sells-More, but inside you’re dying. Then comes the absolute terror of...This crap didn’t work. Should I throw more crap on top of it? Maybe that big-name course will be the answer? Give up? Go down in a blaze of glory and Insta-stories?
If what you’re doing isn’t working, STOP. I don’t necessarily mean stop forever. I don’t mean quit your business. I mean press pause. You’re allowed to do that.
Let’s have a moment of silence for doing all the things like a floppy, desperate fish. Because you’re going to cut that crap out. Because I’m going to cut that crap out.
There’s a reason doing all the things isn’t working. Sure, a business strategist might say you need to act, based on strategy, not just willy nilly throwing stuff at the audience and hoping someone catches it. True.
But you know what too many entrepreneurs gloss right over in their strategy? Brand messaging, voice, and story. Some give this “step” a paragraph or two, a little spit-shine, and they’re off to the sales funnels.
Then they wonder why throwing money, time, and energy at all the things isn’t netting them a fat pot of gold.
Your brand messaging, voice, and story is the foundation of your business. You won’t connect with the right clients, get on the right radars, or live up to your full business potential without it. Promise.
There’s confusion about defining message, voice, and story, how they work together, and why it matters to your business.
“Brand messaging refers to the underlying value proposition conveyed and language used in your content. It's what makes buyers relate to your brand by inspiring them, persuading them, motivating them, and ultimately making them want to buy your product.”
Your messages are the big ideas behind your brand. Not granular. Big. Cornerstones. The things you most want your ideal clients to hear. The words you’d want etched on your biz gravestone.
“This business stood for…”
Your messages will bring the right audience to you, not because you tell everyone how awesome you are. Because you tell the customer how you can help, serve, solve a problem, and do it in a better, unique way.
So, you get that brand messaging is what you're compelled to say? The big ideas. Your brand voice is how you say it.
You can say the same words, have the same message, but have a completely different tone.
“Oh, I just love that idea!” (Smiling, leaning toward you.)
“Oh, I just love that idea!” (Snarling, arms crossed, eyes rolling.)
See what I mean?
The easiest way to hone in on your brand voice is to answer this question: How do you want your audience to feel? Your voice comes from that place.
It’s not so much about you, but about how you relate to them. So, get out of your head, and think about how you want to come across to your dream clients.
"A brand story is a cohesive narrative that encompasses the facts and feelings that are created by your brand (or business, if you prefer). Unlike traditional advertising, which is about showing and telling about your brand, a story must inspire an emotional reaction."
My take on the brand story is that, again, it’s all about your would-be clients. Your brand exists to serve your customers. Hard stop. Without them, you can arrange for that biz gravestone. Or accept that you have a hobby, not a business.
You're not the focus of your brand story. Your client is. Cast her as the hero, not you.
Before you send me a hangry-gram, know that your brand isn't left out. It's the trusted mentor, or guide.
The number one job of your copy is to draw your dream client into her own story. It’s a story of her transformation with your brand by her side.
Otherwise, you’re just another coach, consultant, strategist, etc., who talks endlessly about herself and how excited you should be about her latest program.
Before I hire you, buy your course or product, I want to know you. Sure. That’s true. But if I can’t see myself in your story, I’m out.
I’m not saying this is easy. This is my thing, and I’ve fumbled it more than once by hopping from shiny object to shinier object.
I’m saying it’s necessary. It’s as necessary as a clean, functional website, a logo, color palette, business plan, a signature offering, a sales funnel, and so on. For real--it should come before all those things, but that doesn’t always happen.
Without the brand messaging, voice, and story that’s right for you and your audience, you’re going to spend a whole lot of time talking to yourself, throwing out random content, and skittering around like a squirrel on Mountain Dew. (Or flopping around like a break-dancing fish-- your choice of imagery.)
So, tell me in the comments: Have you tried to do all the things?
Want to nail down your brand messaging, voice, and story? Meet me over at the home for my signature service: Plot Your Brand.
Want to skip a chapter? Get a free Mini Brand Messaging Review + find out if we're a match made at Starbucks? Schedule your call right here.