Talk to 'em
Talk to them, Not at them.
Remember when online instant messaging came on the scene? When high school relationships and gossip changed forever? The online world of one on one communication came into its own. And the future was now! Wait...? nevermind; moving on. But with everything that this technology had to offer, now you were tasked with using all those literary rules you learned in elementry school to foster your 'mature' online relationships.
But that's not how you went about it. You didn't write to your friends as if you were writing a report or some letter to the editor. Rather, it was a natural extention of your ability to speak and communicate learned from real-time education in relational communication.
All that was left to learn was to type and you were able to hash out what you wanted to say in the online world of 1's and 0's. You were well on your way to receding from reality and living your life online!
But on a serious note, in writing content for web and print purposes, people and businesses find it oddly difficult to 'speak' to their customers the same way that they would in person. At that point, their online presence might as well be nothing more than 1's and 0's.
You are not trying to push algebra problems in front of your customers in order to convince them to buy; right? Further, human nature is actually trying to find the easiest route to what it wants. And if you're giving them something that they have to decipher they are not going to continue the conversation.
What's more, many of these brands don't realize that they are pushing their prospects away by talking 'at' them instead of 'to' them. But not to worry.
Personally I blame modern education, and the lack of childhood writing for the purpose of communication, for this downfall in online marketing. And I invite you to do the same; but putting the blame somewhere else doesn’t mean you get to just keep on keeping on.
You must remember that in online communication, your brand is talking 'to' someone and not 'at' them. So talk, and whats more, tell them a good story. After all, you're sharing your passions and your contribution to their life with them.
But don't get caught writing as if you are trying to make them live life your way. Write, instead, as if you are inviting them to experience why and how it is that you love life through your brand. In other words; show them why you exist.
It all amounts to the difference between writing a story and an instruction manual. Both might have a beginning middle and end, but only the former is a story. But there is no point in telling a story if people aren’t going to listen. So talk 'to' them instead of 'at' them. Then tell them the story they’ve been waiting to hear. (We'll dig into story more later).