The longer that somebody has been working inside of an organisation, the more 'in the weeds' they become by design. As their knowledge deepens, their ability to write for people without their knowledge shallows.
It's only natural. With a deep knowledge of a subject, comes unintended complexity, and subconscious assumptions about what an audience already knows. Our ability to recognise the line between what is and isn't known by our ideal clients blurs over time.
This is a big problem, because your ideal clients of the future are not yet in the weeds with you, they are in a helicopter. People in helicopters can't see the weeds, and nor do they care to quite frankly, because it's too much effort.
Example: Before we start working with a new client, I show the 'about us' section of a company LinkedIn profile to a colleague who works in the industry, but is not yet familiar with the company. So often, the colleague won't know what the company is trying to sell, because the copy is too abstract, too complex, or generally too blurry.
When you are in the weeds with your product or service, you can’t hear how it needs to sound for people in helicopters. So the published content makes perfect sense to you, but sounds unclear to your ideal clients. So what happens? They ignore your words because you have created too much friction, and ignoring it is the easiest thing to do.
I find that clear writing is far easier to achieve for other companies than my own, because I’m in a helicopter for them, but for my own company, I find it much harder, because I am in the weeds.
Case study: We're too in the weeds!
I worked with a CEO of an adtech company a while ago, who used to write on LinkedIn about the problems that their company solved. He said to me "Mike, we're too in the weeds, and when I post, it's like tumbleweed".
So we had a number of calls to understand who they were trying to talk to, their Ideal Client Profile (ICP), what they were trying to talk to them about, and why their ideal clients should care.
We when we think about how to write sales or marketing copy, we ask a lot of 'silly questions' that help somebody in a helicopter to understand, simply and concretely:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Who you do it with
- How you do it
- Why they should care
We then delivered much clearer, easier to understand copy that talked to the people in helicopters, in language that they understood. The result of that was a 10x increase in views of the CEO's content on LinkedIn, and more inbound enquiries from his ideal clients.
If you want more of your writing to land with your ideal clients, build a clearer landing path to the helipad alongside you in the weeds.
Oh, and it pays to hire somebody in a helicopter to help you - somebody like Karen or I at Six Sells for example - we have a combined 60-years experience in B2B sales and marketing, but when it comes to copywriting for your company, we're in a helicopter and can ask the same questions that your ideal clients would be asking.