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Reason #4343 to hire a copywriter: Seeing eye to eye

One of the best things about walking out from behind your computer screen and going to conferences is meeting people that heretofore you only knew as an avatar.

Let me fill you in on something. No one looks like their avatar. Some look worse, some look better (Oh! How my fingers ache to put examples behind those statements!) and they’re all decidedly warmer. But, no one looks like you think they will.

Case in point, Steve Sherlock came to find me at SOBCon. There were big hugs, “I’m so glad to finally meet you”s, and on and on. And then there was my realization that he was roughly 8 feet tall. And that I’m not (I forget this fact a lot – sort of like a chihuahua). He noticed too, saying, “Wow, from your Twitter avatar, I thought you’d be much taller!”

“She’s larger than life,” said my dear friend Andi. God bless ‘er.

This ‘in person’ thing is the only time I don’t like being short – ’cause otherwise, I really like it:

  • I curl up in chairs easily.
  • My feet have never hung off the end of a bed or stuck out of the covers.
  • I can be carried easily in cases of emergency (or passion).
  • Falling down hurts less.
  • I’m afraid of heights.

But, when I’m talking to a peer and I have to look up at them to converse, a power imbalance ensues. And, unless the tall person gets off on intimidation and lording over others or unless the short person thinks of themself as unworthy and, well, small – I don’t think it’s comfortable for either party.

Personally, I simply won’t stand for it. I want to look into your eyes, not up your nose. So I did this (see below) and it was caught on camera and tweeted by Steve Woodruff.

@Swoodruff: Julie @writingroads strategy for having face time with tall people

(Ignore the face I’m making in this photo, I’ve run through every word I know and I can’t find one that causes that face.)

See, it’s like I told you the other day, I’m not above stepping on things to get what I need.

The Power of the copywriter

Good copywriters solve problems. If your competition or your dream clients are ‘taller’ or ‘shorter’ than you, copywriters and content creators (and social media strategists) should be able to figure out a way to get you to eye level, to position your message and brand in a way that creates a natural conversation, connection and relationship.

Interruption marketing just isn’t cutting it anymore. It’s done from a perspective where the company is decidedly bigger or smaller than their customer, and therefore, has to scream to get their attention. Interruption tactics include:

  • TV commercials
  • Radio commercials
  • Let’s face it: all commercials
  • Blinking, obnoxious ‘BUY THIS’ windows that open when you’re just trying to read a post
  • Pushing your products on people
  • Not listening, just talking/yelling/shouting
  • Taking, sucking and bogarting the energy

As opposed to relationship, or relational or human, marketing. Blogging and social media tools can be used quite effectively as a means to this relationship building, by the way.

  • Meeting people where they are.
  • Listening to what clients and customers need.
  • Solving their problems.
  • Not pushing your product on them.
  • Giving, not taking.
  • Being a real person.
  • Building a relationship of trust.

All difficult things to do when you’re staring into someone’s belly button.

Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • I love this picture of you, Julie. And I can’t wait to meet you IRL. I know it will happen.
    .-= Charlene Kingston´s last blog ..By: Conference and Trade Show Tweeting | Social Media DIY Workshop =-.

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    That’s how I hug my tall husband. I stand on a step. It’s a lot more comfortable that way. Otherwise all of the hugging angles are off.

    Great photo. Great segue, as always.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..What are your turn offs and turn ons? =-.

  • Van says:

    I like this literal analogy and the lessons on copy writing in this post. I’ll take the lessons on seeing eye-to-eye with your potential clients with me as I go on to write more marketing fun today…

    Ah, chairs are such handy things for us short folk. (“Wee Folk”, perhaps)
    .-= Van´s last blog ..The Human Magpie Struggles to Settle In =-.

  • Aaron Pogue says:

    I loved the picture the first time I saw it, but then you went and made it all meaningful. Well done!

    And I’m genuinely relieved to read your message. I spent two solid days last week crafting a long-form sales letter for my new e-Book, and I’ve spent at least a solid week now feeling like a sleazy salesman for pushing my product on people. The People Who Should Know, though, kept telling me that This is the Way It’s Done.

    I like your method better. I worked really hard to make a product that is genuinely useful to certain people, and I’d much rather build relationships, get to know which of the people I’m talking to fit in that group, and suggest a solution once they’ve brought up a problem. It fits me better, and (as a consumer, too), I absolutely agree with everything you said about interruption marketing.

    Probably too late for me to fix the damage I’ve done, but it’s a wonderful lesson for next time. Thanks, Julie.
    .-= Aaron Pogue´s last blog ..About Page (Technical Writing Exercise) =-.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Hold the phone, dear Aaron. First of all, we don’t know that any damage has been done. 2. There is always time to change and shift and grow in different directions. If this feels better to you, then start now.

      Bottomline – do what feels good. That icky feeling will get transferred into your work – and it’s sooooo not you.

      And everyone – check out Aaron’s awesome ebook on building ebooks!!!!

      • Aaron Pogue says:

        Thanks, Julie. I was mostly concerned about the slew of blog posts I aimed at my own readers over the weekend, so I went back to review them (for a little bit of self-flagellation), and…really, they weren’t as bad as I’d thought they were. Out of place, maybe, but not really icky.

        I did make one ill-advised tweet in the name of self-promotion, and I’ll probably live to regret that one. I think my reputation will survive, though.

        From here on out, anyway, I’m just doing what I do — sharing my experience and aiming it at real, specific problems whenever possible.
        .-= Aaron Pogue´s last blog ..About Page (Technical Writing Exercise) =-.

  • PicsieChick says:

    I so understand this! As someone of hobbit-like stature, I feel the need to connect on a level basis. This may be why I enjoy these online relationships so much….the eye level is all with words, and that, I think, is something I can handle.

    Hugs and butterflies,
    .-= PicsieChick´s last blog ..Where invisible lines encircle =-.

  • Joe Cascio says:

    I love your list of reasons to like being short, esp the one about being carried. :) And may I add, “Even a bargain airline seat has oodles of legroom.” Honestly, I’m just under 6 feet and I’m cramped on a plane. I can’t image how people like Steve manage.

    Oh, it also must be nice to bask in the happy glow of the person you just sat in front of at the movies.

  • Jill says:

    Way to go Jules! I soo agree with you…..we (since I’m a lot responsible for this at 4’10” myself) may “look” like chihuahuas, but we’re actually great danes!!!
    Love you honey.

  • Andi says:

    I am with Alisa, I stand on a stair to kiss my hubby!
    Unfortunately there is a HUGE segment of the greater sales and marketing universe that still thinks social media is like any other push channel – I always felt that term was appropriate – because it is about people and companies pushing (or cramming) their message or product down the throats of consumers. And I lot of people get this wrong because they try to apply it to social media. What I would like to see is that the conversation, trust and authenticity (sorry, that word is overused) starts being applied to traditional marketing channels so that there is not more pushing!
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..Talk to the Natives =-.

  • Bian Salins says:

    I loved this post and laughed out loud when I read it.

    I’m only 4.10 and a 1/2 (yes the 1/2 matters) and most of my time is spent looking a little below people’s belly button which as you can imagine isn’t ideal!

    Anyways, as a writer and social animal, I totally agree the eye to eye bit. That’s why I love the web, people judge you on what you say and do and not by the visual stereotype you fit into.

    Love it. Thanks Julie.

    PS: Maybe we should form a shortstuff community. Small in size but big on ideas …. :)
    .-= Bian Salins´s last blog ..Self belief and the start up business =-.

  • Ron Miller says:

    Oh man Julie, that it is one great photo!. And as I like to say, you’re not short, you’re height challenged. :-)

    Another classic from the keyboard of Julie Roads.

    .-= Ron Miller´s last blog ..Stupid Google Tricks: Embedding a Calendar =-.

  • Lisa says:

    I got turned on to your blog just a few weeks ago, and it’s now on my daily feed – I’m taking lessons. The photo of you is priceless; it seems to sum up your attitude about things, which is inspiring. Keep it up.

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