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  • Denise Hamilton

Connect the Mundane to Emotional Truths

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Much of what writers focus on in the B2B tech industry is the precision of the product message. We choose words from a limited set that make sense, trying to avoid jargon to convey a unique perspective—distinct from what our competitors are claiming. This is why writers are known to pull out their hair—or drink too much. We need more than that. We want to feel a connection between the message we’re trying to get across and the people who read it. What do they care about besides what we can glean from six or so personas?

When content goes deeper than personas, there’s hope of tapping into something universal. It’s what we recognize in great ad writing. So why is there a disconnect from the universal when it comes to B2B content? Of course, B2B language is different than B2C for a lot of strategic and tactical reasons. But something’s still missing that can and should be found. The truth is that some B2B folks are wary of innovative and creative expression and stepping outside the box. It’s imprecise and messy, just like the people we sell to, and just like the people we all are.

I once worked on a product marketing overhaul in a start-up with a brilliant designer. He brought in unusual natural elements to his concept, including a great white shark that worked perfectly with messaging as an analogy for what we sold. He tapped into a more universal truth. But like many people from a technical background, our decision-maker was uncomfortable with messaging that wasn’t literal and so, the ideas were shut down.

Look for the Heart in your Message

Listen to the longing in Glen Campbell’s voice in “Wichita Lineman,” and you’ll see why “I hear you singing in the wire” feels so special.

For those who aren’t familiar with “linemen” (traditionally, a male job), they climb telephone poles in the U.S. to maintain and repair telecom lines. It requires mental and physical strength and focus. Electrocution is an ever-present danger. But throughout their day, like all of us, there’s more on their minds than the logistics of a task. Songwriter Jimmy Webb knew that when he wrote “Wichita Lineman.” He has said that his point was that people doing ordinary jobs think profound thoughts.

Let’s say you work as a lineman for the county. You tell me all about the details of your job, your tools and your frustrations. Or you can tell me how it feels to be up on that pole, what you hear, what you think about. Kind of silly to say that you hear someone singing in the wire. Or maybe it’s not so silly. Maybe I get it and I like the way you think. In fact, I want to work with someone like you.

Song of the Day: Wichita Lineman, Glen Campbell

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