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Me-Centered vs. You-Centered

Take a look at your website.

Or your last newsletter.

Or any other communication you’ve created. (Especially your elevator pitch.)

Does it flunk the Me Test? I hope so.

Why? Because flunking the Me Test means you got it right. Me-centered communications puts the focus on you. Instead, your communications should make THEM the main focus. Them being your stakeholders, those you serve. What’s in it for them if they choose to associate or do business with you?

Administering the Me Test

Look at any communication you’ve created. Count up the number of times you see these words: me-I-we-us-our-ours

Now count these words: you-your-yours

The latter should significantly outnumber the former; if not, it’s time for a rewrite.

Take a Deep Breath Before You Read This…

Now the next thing I’m going to say may infuriate some of you. But really, I mean no harm.

Does your company name have your name in it? Or does it communicate what you do? On rare occasion, you might be blessed with a name that actually does both. I’m talking to you Michael… of Michael Smart PR.

(CONFESSION: My name was in my company name for many years. And what Pizzino means in Italian definitely does not say what my business offers!)

Remember the saying: your ego is not your amigo.

While you’re at it, look at your tagline too.

What Direct Mail Copywriting Taught Me

In 1989, after blowing a client’s press placements out of the water while at a California-based PR/advertising firm, I was hired by the client full-time — The Jefferson Institute.

The Jefferson Institute, based in Springville, Utah, taught week-long, on-site “boot camps” (training courses). It was during their Entrepreneur Boot Camp where I learned the fine art of direct response advertising copywriting, i.e., writing copy that sells. (It was also called “salesmanship in print” back then.)

Not only was my boss/mentor Mark Stoddard (president of the company) an incredible instructor in this fine art, but I also learned from one of the world’s pre-eminent copywriters: the late Gary Halbert. This copywriting guru would fly in from Florida and teach several of the classes during this week-long course. Gary’s track record for creating enormously successful direct mail campaigns and advertorials was enviable, to say the least. I learned from other experts there as well.

What was my big takeaway from these expert copywriters? Make your copy benefit-oriented by focusing on the needs of your audience!

Now, What Are YOU Going to Do?

Apply the Me Test rigorously. Count those words previously mentioned. Weigh them against each other. If it’s me-centered, it’s time for a rewrite. Adjust so the tally is in their favor, i.e., more “you-focused” words.

By using this strategy to shift your narrative from an inward- to outward-focus, you’ll effectively engage, persuade and serve others. Highlight what’s beneficial for your audience!

Use the talents you’ve been blessed with to serve rather than to boast. This simple pivot can dramatically enhance how your message is received.

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