As a young reporter fresh out of school I learned two fundamentals about the news business.
The first was: If It Bleeds, It Leads.
The second was: Never Bury the Lead.
Remember old movies? The movie credits would roll for five maybe ten minutes at the beginning of the film before any action would begin.
What happens today? The movie opens with bullets flying and people fleeing or an elongated kiss. Today’s movie audience doesn’t have the patience for a long slow opening.
And neither does your customer.
Yet all too often in social posts, articles and especially on company websites, companies are burying the lead.
That means rolling the credits by talking about your products and services, winding your way along, building momentum and finally six panels or paragraphs down you tell your audience how you can help them.
Chances are they have already left your theater and found one that tells them in the first sentence who they are talking to and why they can help them.
Here’s a website opening that buries the lead:
“Welcome to the ABC Tech Solutions website! We are a cutting-edge technology company dedicated to providing innovative solutions to a wide range of industries. Our team of experienced professionals is committed to pushing the boundaries of technology and delivering unparalleled results. With a passion for excellence and a track record of success, we take pride in our customer-centric approach. Explore our site to learn more about our comprehensive suite of services, explore our portfolio of projects, and get in touch with our knowledgeable team.”
Sound familiar? I hope not!
Here’s one that immediately gets to the point. It leads with value/results.
“Unlock Your Full Potential with XYZ Productivity Software
Are you tired of juggling multiple tasks, missing deadlines, and feeling overwhelmed by your workload? Say goodbye to productivity struggles and hello to seamless efficiency with XYZ Productivity Software.
Streamline your tasks, manage projects effortlessly, and boost your output like never before. Our user-friendly interface and powerful features are designed to help you regain control of your workday.”
In the first sentence this site offers the result of working with their software.
In the second sentence it paints a picture of a miserable situation. Notice rather than describing the problem/pain it immerses the person in the feeling of the misery they are experiencing today.
In the third it describes the joy of what life is like with their software. And we still haven’t gotten to the product details.
On a side note, you can also bury the lead by spending too much time describing the problem you are solving, especially when that explanation is still too much about you, as seen here.
“Introducing our innovative solution for addressing the ongoing challenge of email inbox clutter. Our cutting-edge technology aims to reduce the amount of time and effort required to manage and organize emails effectively. By utilizing advanced algorithms, our software helps streamline email sorting, categorization, and archiving.”
Each sentence begins with the company before it gets to the value/result.
Is your messaging trapped in the old paradigm of product – solution – problem – benefit? Or the only slightly better option of problem – solution – product – benefit?
Here are three tips to break free and create messaging that shouts the lead clearly and profitably.
- Lead with the result of working with you – not the problem, benefit or service.
- Demonstrate you feel the lived pain of your client. Show them your empathy and concern rather than you solution.
- Give them a picture of what life is like living and working with you every day.
Take Action: Read the home page of your website and see how well it does or does not bury the lead.
And let me know what you found at firstname.lastname@example.org.