Everything I Needed To Know About B2B Writing I Learned From My Kids

Everything I Needed To Know About B2B Writing I Learned From My Kids
Wendy Thomas - Wed Apr 15, 2009 @ 01:08AM
Comments: 21

Kids teach us things like joy and patience. But who knew that all I needed to know about marketing writing I would learn from my kids? Listed below are a few gems I’ve picked up from them over the years. Photo credit: Smidgebox design

Start off with a “Guess what?!!” – How many kids do you know start stories off with the history first? No, they want your attention and they are very good at getting it. Having someone come up to you and say “Guess What?” forces you to focus and stop what you are doing to reply “What?.”

Use that attention grabbing technique with your customers. Start off with a statement or question that will get their attention and make them read on to find an answer.

Use your art project to tell your story – my son can go on and on about the clay fish he made in art class but when he actually shows it to me, then his story takes on a new dimension. I see proof of his accomplishment, it is now real and what I have imagined has been clarified.

Use graphics to make your point. Use the advice that is constantly given to novelists to “show me, don’t tell me”.

Invention ribbons give you credibility – my daughter won a large ribbon for her invention. The fact that she won an event wasn’t a big deal in her classroom until she brought it in to show her classmates. The ribbon was big and ruffled and shiny. The kids were in awe of it and suddenly her accomplishment seemed to have a lot more value.

Toot your own horn. Display your shiny ribbons and awards. People respect those who have won awards.

Answer the “But Why?” before it is asked – anyone who has kids knows that the pre-emptive strike of answering a “but why?” question before it is asked makes the conversation flow a lot better. “We have to go to the store…to get some bananas….because the ones we had were left in the sun and went bad.” See, you’ve avoided two “but why?” questions with one statement.

Anticipate where your customers are going to stop and ask “but why”. If they stop reading, they might not return. Address any why’s up front to keep the conversation going.

Sometimes a “Because I said so” can be very effective – I swore that I would never say it when I became a parent but sometimes a good authoritative “Because I said so” can put an end to all the stalling questions that arise. You have to go to bed, because you were sick today, because your body needs rest, because I said so.

You are an authority in your business. After you’ve hooked your customer, shown your product, shown your awards, and presented your case – sometimes the next best step is to firmly tell the customer that your product is better simply because you have the authority and respectability to say so.

Sometimes, just sometimes all the customer wants to hear is that it really is okay for them to go to bed.

Comments: 21

Comments

1. Michele Linn   |   Wed Apr 15, 2009 @ 01:32AM

Wendy,

Your post made me smile. Who knew our kids could teach us so much about marketing? I especially like your point about anticipating the "But why?" question. Many of us can benefit from that.

And here's another one: focus on their needs. My 17-month old daughter isn't talking yet, so we have many interactions when I'm asking her to show me what she wants ("Point to what you need," or "Take my hand and show me.") I may think I know what she needs at a certain time, but I'm often surprised when she is trying to communicate something entirely different. It's the same thing with our customers: you really need to focus on them to understand what their needs are (ask them!) instead of giving them what you think they want. You'll both be much happier.

2. Wendy Thomas   |  my website   |   Wed Apr 15, 2009 @ 02:09AM

Michele,

Great point about assuming what the needs are. As the kids get older (as we get different audiences) our communication with them changes. It's all about them and not us (and shouldn't that be what B2B writing is about anyway?)

Perhaps this should be an ongoing series throughout the years. :-)

3. Galen De Young  |  my website   |   Wed Apr 15, 2009 @ 02:26AM

Good post. Thanks. With a couple of young kids, I can relate...but why do they go bad when left in the sun?

4. Wendy Thomas  |  my website   |   Wed Apr 15, 2009 @ 02:50AM

Galen,

Still stumped by that one myself. :-) You'd think that from an evolutionary point of view kids would have evolved into non-screaming, non-sun-spoilers to ensure their perpetuation in the human race.

Ah well, it's a good thing they're so darn cute.

5. Jamie Wallace  |  my website   |   Wed Apr 15, 2009 @ 03:28AM

Wendy - As mom to a rambunctious five year-old daughter, I very much appreciate the truths you've outlined in your post. As a writer, I chuckled at how easy it was to adapt those truths to presenting complicated, technical information in a document such as a white paper. When it comes down to it, people are people, aren't they? Toddlers or IT buyers, they all need the same reassurances.
Great post.

6. Kara Gray  |  my website   |   Wed Apr 15, 2009 @ 03:48AM

A perfect analogy! Kids teach us so much every day, sometimes when we least expect it. The trick is to always be paying attention, lest you miss a valuable lesson amid the ho-hum of everyday life.

7. Heather Rubesch  |  my website   |   Wed Apr 15, 2009 @ 03:54PM

Great post! Now I want to know why my kids can expound on all miraculous features and benefits of Benderoos, Aqua Globes and Pixos and insist these are products that our house can't live without but they can't seem to remember to brush their teeth or make their beds without constant reminding?

8. Shailesh Jangra  |  my website   |   Fri Dec 21, 2012 @ 07:31AM

@Wendy Thomas: That’s exactly right bro!!. It shows you always lead by an example. How and Why are just simple words but they make your doubts clear when asked. Attention is the master key to attract customers towards your business.

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