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Four weeks ago yesterday, my uncle passed away. I’m not going to get into a lot of details, because I think some things are better left personal.
But, I want to talk about just one piece of my experience: my cousin’s eulogy. She wrote a wonderful eulogy to her Dad which she then delivered to probably more than 1,000 friends and family.
You see, my uncle was a pastor at a large church for years and years. He ran a youth camp for years. He traveled all over the globe with church groups. So, he knew A TON of people. He was a mentor and leader to many.
But, he was a Dad to two people. And that was his most important role.
And that’s what my cousin talked about in her eulogy.
As you can imagine, there weren’t many dry eyes in the church as she delivered her speech. And sure, some of that had to do with the fact that it was a funeral and someone had passed away that we loved.
But a lot of it also had to do with the words she chose and how she strung them together.
Her words mattered.
In the overall online media landscape we live in these days, we hear so much about the power of visuals. And yeah, visuals are a powerful thing. And yeah, you do need to think about visuals as you craft online content. No question.
But man, words used well are still a very powerful force.
Think about your company’s corporate communications for a moment. Speaking from experience, many employee memos can come off stiff and extremely “corporate.”
And then consider Markus Persson’s memo last fall announcing that he was leaving Mojang, the company that created Minecraft (which was sold to Microsoft).
Now, I know this isn’t exactly a “corporate memo”, but it my as well be considering the context and subject matter. And yeah, I know, it’s the tech industry. But, I’m trying to make a point here!
Look at his memo. Notice the WORDS Markus chose. Notice the language he uses. Notice the story he tells.
You understand what he’s trying to say. You understand why he’s leaving. And you understand why.
Markus used real, easy-to-understand language that virtually anyone could read and interpret.
Can we say the same for us as PR counselors and corporate communicators?
Sometimes we get stuck using too much corporate jargon.
Sometimes we get stuck using words and terms most simply do not understand.
And sometimes we get so caught up in the “message” we forget about the actual words.
I would argue words matter more now than they ever have considering all the absolute garbage that’s shared and communicated each day.
So, be careful with each and every word you use in your daily interactions.
Words DO matter. To everyone. Use them wisely.
In this week’s episode of the Talking Points Podcast, Kevin and I talk about millennials and their refusal to pay for the news (say it ain’t so millennials!), Victory’s big win with VR, Meerkat (of course), PR and analytics and three content formats that one blog predicts will take off in 2015.
Hope you’ll take a listen!
SHOW NOTES – March 19, 2015
“Millennials say keeping up with the news is important to them — but good luck getting them to pay for it”
“Oculus lets motorcycle enthusiasts take a virtual trip to Sturgis”
“”MeerKat Is The Next Big Thing. But For How Long?””
“Listen up! Everything PR and Social Media Pros Need To Know About Meerkat”
“A Traditional PR Pro Take on Analytics”
“3 Content Formats That Will Take Off in 2015″
If you want to get under a consultant’s skin, call them a FREELANCER.
It’s been an ongoing conversation in the solo world for years. What do we call ourselves?
Some people call themselves a “solo PR pro.”
Some people call themselves a “freelancer.”
And some people call themselves a consultant (or, an “independent consultant”).
You’re probably thinking: “Who cares?” Why does it matter what people call you?
I’ll tell you why.
Whether people want to admit it or not in this age of visual and online marketing, words still matter. Labels matter.
When you call yourself a FREELANCER, here’s the connotation that’s giving off to clients and potential clients:
* I may not do this forever, so I wouldn’t count on me being around forever. You may have to find someone else eventually.
* I bill by the hour–here’s my rate. It’s much cheaper than what you’d pay at an agency.
* What do you need done? I’ll do it? Just let me know what you need from me.
Is that a bit unfair? Maybe. But, it is what people think when they hear you label yourself as a FREELANCER. They may not tell you that–but it’s what they’re thinking.
Now, let’s try something else. Let’s say you described yourself as a CONSULTANT. What would clients and prospective clients think then?
* She is professional and this is her full-time job.
* I trust her to give me the best, most informed and ethical advice possible.
* I have problems and need solving. My consultant helps me make those problems go away. And, she even solves problems I didn’t even know I had!
See the difference?
A FREELANCER is someone who’s focused on tactical work. Someone who takes orders. Someone who bills by the hour.
Now, to be fair, there’s nothing wrong with that. If that’s what you want–there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
But, most of the solo consultants I talk with don’t want that kind of label–yet they continue to use that dirty word: FREELANCER.
On the other hand, consultants are people who advise senior-level executives.
They get invited to strategy and annual planning meetings (hello annual retainer budgets!).
They never share their hourly rate (or, at least rarely), because it’s all about solving the client’s problem.
See what I’m saying?
So, want clients to start taking you more seriously?
Start using the right language to describe yourself.