If you don't get this right, you can just forget about everything else: your advertising will fail miserably if you don't have something good to say.

The great business philosopher Jim Rohn probably summed it up best in his lecture about communications. He was talking about personal communications, not about advertising, but I think the principle holds true. He said to be a master communicator, all you have to do is follow a simple three-step process. First, have something good to say. Second, say it well. And third, say it often.

In terms of advertising, here's what that means: having something good to say means that you've innovated your business sufficiently so that you've got something of value to the marketplace that's worth advertising in the first place.

Saying it well has to do with taking what you do well and saying it in your advertising in such a way that it gets people to notice and take action. We're going to show you how to use the power of writing and articulating to get more results for the same money spent—say it well.

And as for saying it often, that refers to executing your advertising and follow-up marketing in a systematic format that allows you to build brand equity and cost-effectively turn prospects into customers.

So before we get into the how to say it well, let's spend just a few minutes talking about the first step to successful communications: “Have something good to say.”

Some people don't expect that they have to actually innovate their business to be successful. But so far, in my years of experience, it's been the best strategy that I've seen. You've probably heard the old saying that if you build a better mousetrap the world won't necessarily beat a path to your door.

That may be true; but here's a strategy that I've seen fail a thousand times: trying to use catchy advertising, tricky words or fast talking to try to sell the same-old, boring mousetrap that everyone else is offering. I think whoever said that line about the better mousetrap and the world not beating a path to your door just didn't understand the principles that govern successful marketing and advertising.

See, once you have created something that people want—or as the common expression goes, sells itself—then advertising becomes infinitely easier.

There's a man named Rosser Reeves who was one of the most successful advertising men in the early days of the business. You probably haven't heard of him, but you're probably familiar with lots of things he created, even way back in the 50s and 60s. He's most famous for M&M's “They melt in your mouth, not in your hands.” Anyway, Mr. Reeves pointed this out, “Have something good to say,” way back in 1965. Here's what he said about writing good advertising:

The business owner should bring the advertising writer a product or service that deserves to be on the market. It should have significant points of difference from other products. Then the idea behind the advertisement…is very, very easy to find. For example, if a manufacturer brings you a car that can go 500 miles on a gallon of gas, you don't have to look far for an idea for the ad. The idea is right in front of you. If on the other hand, you have an Edsel that's not very different from any other car, you are doomed to failure in advance. I don't believe any advertising brilliance could have saved the Edsel.

In case you're not familiar, the Edsel was the greatest embarrassment to the Ford Motor Company in the 50s. It spent record amounts of money promoting it, hyped it to the ends of the earth, then nobody wanted it. Why? Because, despite what the promotion said, it was just another average, ordinary car. Here's the point: spending money on marketing, advertising,and the greatest advertising copywriters of the day didn't compensate for the lack of confidence or lack of perceived value in the consumer's mind.

So think about it right now. Do you have “something good to say?” Are there things that you do that make you a better value for the money than your competitors? If not, then why is it that you expect to win in business? If I trotted out the local high school varsity football team to play against the reigning Super Bowl champs, would you expect the varsity to win? Of course not. You've got to create something so unique, so good, so unparalleled that it makes your prospects say, “I would have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else.”

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Rich Harshaw is the CEO of Dallas, Texas-based Y2Marketing. For more information, visit www.y2marketing.com.