Prue Sain

“My turn signal taps out the rhythm of a CD I borrowed from a friend.

I should return it, but there’s no time now.  I’m off to a new place with new songs and new friends.

And there’s no looking back.  Except to check my blind spot as I drift across the yellow line.”

I’m not including this poem I wrote in college to show you there will be road themes throughout this blog.  Of course, there will be – but you probably already knew that.  Instead, I’m including it to confess that I’m a poetry geek.  I majored in writing, wrote my thesis on poetry, and try to keep one or two books of verses on the shelf at all times.

And, I learned much of what I know about life, fate, love, and marketing from a poet named Billy Collins.  Collins has a beautifully simple way of putting me in my place.  This is particularly the case in his poem, “Advice to Writers.”  It is as if he is peering at my desk, cluttered with pizza crumbs from late-night brainstorming sessions and napkins with hand-drawn layouts.  He is calling me out, telling me you have to clean up before you can create a masterpiece.

Collins’ poem could have easily been titled “Advice to Marketers.”  Let’s face it.  Companies, large and small, often have much to do in the cleaning department.  In this case, I don’t mean sweeping the crumbs and tossing the napkins.  I’m talking about de-cluttering any misconceptions about their target audiences.  This means taking the time to learn the ins and outs of the consumer population.

Of course, by avoiding the pitfall of slapping labels on customers, you risk offending those who would have otherwise bought your product.  But, it doesn’t stop there.  In our world of emerging media, sweeping away the misconceptions can lead to improved performance in the area of Search Engine Optimization.

  • If you know how your customers talk, you will know the keywords they search for.
  • If you know their schedules, you will know when they are most likely to be browsing the Internet.
  • If you know how they think, you will know what they want to find.

It all goes back to a key principle they teach you in writing poetry – or in writing anything else for that matter.  Write what you know.  As a college student, I knew the road that took me to my university like the back of my hand.  I knew it took me away from home and off to a place that was simultaneously frightening and exciting.  And, I knew halfway along the way, I would pass a small side-road called Prue Sain.

At Off Forty, we want to help you write what you know.  We want to help you achieve a tidy understanding of who you are attempting to reach.  That way, you can deliver the masterpiece that will make them spring to action.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Prue Sain

  1. Great points about effectively reaching your target audience:
    “If you know how your customers talk, you will know the keywords they search for.”
    “If you know their schedules, you will know when they are most likely to be browsing the Internet.”
    “If you know how they think, you will know what they want to find.”

    Thanks for the post!

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