Ever pay attention (I mean really pay attention) to ads? I do, even when I’m not out to buy anything. And, even though I’m constantly stressing to business blog content writers that blog posts are NOT ads, there’s a lot we can learn from advertisers. Let’s face it, like them, we have stuff to sell – whether it’s products, services, or ideas, and whether it’s for our own or our clients' businesses or practices.
One ad I keep hearing on my favorite radio station is a case in point. The commercial for Bowles Mattress caught my attention for a couple of reasons:
First, this isn’t one of those where the DeeJay or talk show host tells how he and his spouse had had their house painted or their financial plan done and how glad they are for having chosen that particular provider. No, in the Bowles ad, it’s the business owner talking right to me, the listener. That very personal “from-me-to-you” tone is perfect for business blog writing.
The second thing that stood out about the Bowles “pitch” was the indirect and lighthearted criticism of a competitor. In writing blog content for a professional practice or business, the big challenge we have is demonstrating to the readers why we or why our client will better serve their needs, and doing that without “slamming”. Sure, we have to clarify how we stand out from the competition. It’s doing that graciously that’s the trick.
The Bowles ad is emphasizing that they have the same quality as the “big box” store brands, but at a much lower price. How can they make such a claim? 40% of the cost of a typical mattress is in the advertising, the mattress man explains. Bowles, he points out, doesn’t spend money “talking about famous wedding dress designers or bowling balls” (a semi-humorous reference to Serta® and Sealy® ads), so the company can pass those savings along to the consumer.
What Bowles has accomplished with the ad is what branding specialist Thaddeus Rex calls “painting the clown”, getting us to laugh at competitors without coming out and naming them.
No, I’m not backing off my original statement. Blogs are not ads, nor should they ever be. But emphasizing the positive in your blog content writing may mean first explaining what your competitors do, going on to explain why you do things the way you do.