Why the Goal of Blogging and Marketing is NOT to Sound Intelligent

by Marcus Sheridan

I had an interesting debate last night with the owner of a large company about blogging and content marketing. Essentially, our disagreement started when he told me the following:

“I’ve read some of your blogs. They are very conversational. But conversational isn’t our brand. We need to sound professional.”

Needless to say, I knew the conversation with this gentleman wasn’t going to go well from that point. Basically, he is so warped in terms of corporate-speak and old-school “professionalism” that has completely lost touch with the most important marketing skill in the world—communication.

In fact, when all is said and done, whether you’re talking about TV, print, magazine, radio, Inbound, Content, Social, or whatever type of “marketing” you can think of, everything comes down to clean communication.

The Death of Great Communication

At its core, the reason why the gentleman I talked to last night will not find major success with his online marketing is because it’s his goal to sound intelligent and ultra “professional”—which essentially has become the death of great marketing copy and messaging for companies large and small in this information age we all live in.

Furthermore, I’m here to say that it should never be our goal to sound intelligent.

Whether it’s on a stage.

In a board meeting.

Or on a blog post.

No, the goal is not one of sounding intelligent (although it can naturally happen), but rather a singular focus of doing your best to achieve one thing—understanding.

Yep, that’s it, understanding. In other words, the person reading (or watching) the message knows what the heck you’re talking about.

A Career Built on Simplicity of Message

At the risk of sounding like I’m patting myself on the back, over the past 3 years, my brand as a leader and speaker in the marketing realm has risen drastically, the majority of which stems from the main comment readers and listeners make about my style—It’s direct, concise, cuts through the bull and clearly states the message in a way everyone can understand.

But this success would never have been achieved if my goal was that of sounding incredibly smart and guru-esque.

This is also why I use as little “marketing-speak” as possible in my core message, as it simply doesn’t resonate with the majority of people in the world.

Communication Goals

When I write or speak, I really only have one main goal—action through understanding.

When people hear me give a talk, what I really want them to say is, “Wow. This totally makes sense. I finally get it. And I can do this!”

See where I’m coming from?

The same applies to blogging or any other form of communication for that matter.

The Kindergarten Teacher

The bottom line is we have to make a choice as to the type of communicator we want to be.

We can either be the college professor that seeks to makes his students impressed with his vast knowledge and linguistic base, or we can be the kindergarten teacher, with our only goal of simple understand through simple words and simple messages.

So I say chuck the complex—in all its forms. Rid your company copy of it. Rid your messaging of it.

Say stuff so people actually understand what you’re saying and allow your “genius” to come out through your simplicity.  By so doing, you’ll not only build fans, followers, and appreciative customers—but you’ll also make a difference.

Is there anything professional than that??

Your Turn

As always, I’m curious to get your take on this subject. Do you agree that many businesses suffer from this problem of trying to sound “smart,” ultimately speaking above their audience? Also, what do you feel is the key to “dumbing it down,” especially when it comes to blogging?

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