During my college Broadcast Writing class years ago, my professor, who had worked alongside giant names in journalism like Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, explained that good news stories can be summed up in two words — “Hey Bernice!” My professor then went on to describe a little old man watching the news on TV and calling his wife in so that she could see what was being talked about, too. “Hey Bernice!” he would shout. “Get in here! You’ve got to see this!”
When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. After all, the goal of every journalist is to get people talking about their stories. But journalists aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the “Hey Bernice!” approach. If you run your own business, Bernice and her husband can — AND SHOULD — play a big role in your online marketing strategy.
After all, the web is home to thousands (or even millions!) of people who do what you do. If you don’t do something to make your business stand out, you’re never going to make any money. Instead, you’ll simply blend in with the rest of the nameless, faceless entities. You need people like Bernice and her husband talking about you. After all, more talk equals more website visitors — and more visitors to your website equals more money in your pocket.
So, how do you reach “Hey Bernice!” status?
The facts and figures in your niche are what they are. Anyone who’s paying even a little bit of attention can write a blog post about the latest development. In order for that little old man to shout “Hey Bernice!”, you’ve got to go beyond the basics. This doesn’t mean you have to break industry news on your blog in order to be successful. Instead, you have to focus on new angles and memorable storylines.
For example, you can find a near-endless array of people talking about the nuances of content marketing these days. There are countless experts talking about how to approach web content the right way and how to avoid common content marketing mistakes. In my latest blog post, though, I decided to highlight a major mistake by comparing it to Cinco de Mayo.
Here’s how that train of thought came about…
I saw one of my friends complaining on Facebook that most people don’t understand the history behind Cinco de Mayo. Sure, they all go out and drink margaritas, but they don’t actually know why May 5th is a Mexican holiday. All of a sudden, I realized that online marketers are doing the same thing with content marketing! They know that they’re supposed to publish fresh content, but they’re not exactly sure why they’re doing it. They don’t understand that their potential customers are looking for content that provides legitimate answers and solutions. That’s why you see so much bad content out there!
Just like that, I wound up with a completely different angle. People started clicking on the post simply because they wanted to see how I could find ANY correlation between content marketing and Cinco de Mayo. Had I just written another “Content Marketing Mistake” post, it would have blended in with all the rest.
Grab onto your personality
A lot of marketers lose their personality on the web. They think it’s good enough to just present the basic facts, but that’s nothing more than a surefire way to blend into the crowd. If you want people shouting “Hey Bernice!”, you’ve got to inject a little bit of YOU into the mix.
Remember, people like to do business with other people. If you come across as a stuffed shirt, bland person who rattles off nothing but “corporate speak”, people aren’t going to relate to you. And you know what? If they don’t relate to you, they’re never going to buy from you!
Part of making your mark on the web means highlighting YOU. If you’re naturally funny, publish web content that’s humorous. If something makes you mad, share that anger with your readers. If you’re really excited about something, say so (you’ll actually gain respect for being passionate!). People crave emotion. Give it to them, and they’ll be shouting “Hey Bernice!” every time you hit the “Publish” button.
Never let the hype creep in
There is a big difference between showing genuine emotion and hyping things up. Unfortunately, there are lots of marketers who don’t understand this, which is why you see so much cheesy sales copy, so many bizarre articles, and so many videos that are downright painful to watch.
People are smart enough to spot hype, and when they do, they don’t bother to tell anyone about it. Bernice’s husband is not impressed with hype! In fact, he’s probably offended because someone’s trying to pull a fast one on him. If you’ve got content that’s chock full of hype, you won’t create any kind of buzz. People will simply click the “Back” button and check out what your competitors have to offer!
Does Your Business Use the “Hey Bernice!” Approach to Marketing?