Taking a Collaborative Approach to Writing Marketing Copy

Sharing Ideas through the Grace of CollaborationMany Internet marketing guerrillas talk about ‘crushing the competition’. But could Collaboration lead to a richer kind of marketing? Part 5 of 6-part series.

In the past four articles we’ve been looking at the difference between the ‘old school’ and a new ‘7 Graces’ approach to writing marketing copy for our websites, sales pages, newsletters, email shots, blog articles, social media updates, and so on. If you missed these articles, you can catch up by clicking these links:

TODAY, we’ll be exploring the last of the 7 Graces – the Grace of Collaboration – and look at practical ways we can use it to infuse greater relevance and deeper connection into our online marketing.

With Whom Are We Competing?

In the 7 Graces model, the Grace of Collaboration is the opposite of the ‘Deadly Sin of Competition’. When we have a competitive mind-set, we believe (whether consciously or not) that there can be only one ‘winner’. We believe that if Company A gets the client, the contract or the sale, it means that Company B has ‘lost’. If you remember back to the last article where we talked about Abundance vs. Scarcity, you will be able to see that this kind of competitive mind-set arises from a Scarcity world-view. That is why ‘Competition’ comes after ‘Scarcity’ in the list of ‘7 Deadly Sins’ in the 7 Graces model.

When Competition underpins our conscious or unconscious belief system, it cannot help but leak into our marketing copy, making it aggressive, overblown and often downright annoying. Our marketing copy will be written in a way that competes against other companies, with aim of convincing readers that we are better than everyone else. It will also be written in a way that treats our customers as ‘prey’ to be won, competing for their attention, time, money and even their right to choose.

But because Competition is one of the cornerstones of Western culture (and especially the Western economy), it one of the most stubborn of the ‘Deadly Sins’ to eradicate. People have developed all kinds of mythology about the value and necessity of competition, which are not actually true. I won’t delve into that topic here, but you can read about it the book The 7 Graces of Marketing as well as many of my earlier articles, especially Competition – Are We Still Thinking Like Social Darwinists?

Instead, let’s move on to take a closer look at the ‘antidote’ to Competition – the Grace of Collaboration.

Understanding the Grace of Collaboration

The word ‘Collaboration’ literally means ‘to work together’. But Collaboration is not simply when we take a project and divide up the tasks. While sharing the load is certainly a part of it, true Collaboration is a vibrant, creative activity that REQUIRES the presence of four key ingredients: Vision, Innovation, Trust, Ease – 4 Qualities of Collaboration (click the link to read an article that addresses these qualities in detail). Bearing these qualities in mind, I’d like to propose a refreshing and expansive definition for Collaboration that can underpin our approach to writing online marketing copy:

Collaboration is the state of mind whereby we are continuously seeking ways to create mutually beneficial and socially innovative projects with others.

Bringing the Grace of COLLABORATION into Your Marketing Copy

Right now, you might be thinking, ‘Well, that definition is all well and good from a philosophical point of view, but how can it be applied to writing online marketing copy at a practical level?’

It’s really not as lofty as it may sound. Here are some ideas for you to consider, all of which I have used in my own online marketing:

  • Get input about your marketing ideas from your social media cloud. People love to express their opinion. What’s more, they love to be ASKED their opinion when they know you’re actually listening. If you’re designing a new website, a new marketing campaign or any kind of new marketing image, run the ideas by your social media audience. Not only is it fantastic market research for you, but it also starts the buzz about the product (or whatever) months before it’s announced. You can even use it as a leads generating exercise. Several years ago (when Facebook and Twitter were still relatively unknown) I simply couldn’t come up with a new title for a course I was offering. Almost ready to throw in the towel, I posted a notice on a professional forum with the title: HELP ME CHOOSE! Then, I explained my conundrum and what the course was about. I asked them to fill in a survey form that would take only 2 minutes of their time. In exchange I gave them a downloadable audio mini-class on the course topic. Even though my network was minuscule compared to what it is these days, I not only landed the perfect name for my course, but I also got almost 200 new names in my mailing list within 48 hours. Several of those people who took the survey also went on to take the course. The moral of the story is: Don’t struggle in a bubble. Your online community is your best resource for ideas. Allow them to work together with you. You have no idea where such a collaborative activity will take your business.
  • Run your marketing ideas by your customers. If you feel you need input from people who are a bit more familiar with you and your business, go directly to your customer / client database for help. Obviously you can’t use this as a leads generation activity (as they’re already on your list) but you COULD infuse a little energy into your audience by turning it into a contest. While you can offer some sort of ‘freebie’ as a thank you gift for their help, you can also hold a prize drawing of something more valuable. I’ve used this many times and I’ve gotten some of the very BEST of marketing ideas from my ‘warm’ audience. Sometimes those who contributed reached out to me about working together again on a new project. This kind of reaching out shows your customers that you trust and value their opinions and ideas. This makes them a dynamic part of your marketing, rather than the ‘target’ of it.
  • Work collaboratively with clients to create their marketing copy. I am often asked to write marketing copy for clients. This could be anything from writing their online bio, to making wholesaler copy to writing copy for an entire website. My approach to this process is always collaborative. First, I do an intense interview session with them on Skype where I use every coaching skill I have to ‘extract’ the real ‘juice’ about their business, their project, their book, etc. Then, I go away and write a draft of the copy that I send to them for input. If I was rigorous enough during the interview process, they usually write back to me saying something like, ‘YES! That’s ME!’ When you get that kind of response, you know that you have managed to capture the essence of what your client is all about. I cannot tell you how many PR companies I’ve used over the years who were unable to do that for me because they simply looked at things on the surface rather than working with me on it. If we do not collaborate with our clients when creating copy for them, the results are likely to be bland and soulless.
  • Take a collaborative approach to JV campaigns. I organise a lot of ‘collaborative’ marketing campaigns with ‘joint venture partners’ who help promote specific events. One thing I’m committed to is promoting my partners during these campaigns by tagging them in Tweets, doing shout outs, etc. True Collaboration shouldn’t be a matter of ‘if you do this thing for me and I’ll pay you back later’ (although that’s usually how people treat it). Rather, if someone is helping to support your campaign, set aside some time to write social media content that talks about your partners. If you worry that this will take the spotlight off you, you’d best take a few minutes to go back and revisit your understanding of Collaboration (as opposed to Competition). My mantra for partnerships is: A happy partner is a motivated partner. Collaborative marketing is NOT a matter of them promoting you now and you promoting them later; it’s about working together and supporting each other on a continual basis. And while it isn’t directly related to the topic of online marketing copy, a marketer with a truly collaborative mind-set will freely recommend their partners to others if they feel they are a a good match. IMPORTANT: ‘freely recommends’ means that they do this without any expectation of being returned the favour. Real partners know that what’s good for one person’s business is good for everyone’s.

Closing Thoughts

Like the proverbial saying about Rome, Collaboration isn’t built in a day. You can’t make it appear by saying ‘you scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours.’ True Collaboration comes from strong relationships that have been given ample time, care and nurturing to grow and blossom.

Collaboration – like Abundance, as we discussed last time – requires a radical shift in worldview. It requires that we move from thinking that ‘the can be only one’ to ‘there are infinite possibilities’. Unless we operate from that place, our so-called collaborative ventures will inevitably go ‘splat’ because we’ll be competing with our partners rather than actually working together. This also happens in business teams who do not understand the fundamental qualities of the Grace of Collaboration.

Integrating collaborative approaches to marketing copy entails cultivating relationships – with your social media audience, your customers and your colleagues/partners. Once you master this wonderful Grace, you’ll find that the benefits you reap (intrinsically and financially) are always more than the sum of their parts.

Coming up next time…

Next time in the final article in this 6-part series, I’ll be sharing some of my top writing tips on how to construct your marketing copy from a practical level.

I do hope you’ll subscribe to the 7 Graces blog. That way you’ll receive that article, and others coming in the following months. To get a feel for what we’re about, have a browse around the site (and leave a comment) before you go.

And lastly, if you’re looking for help in writing marketing copy for your ethical business or non-fiction book, drop us a line via the contact form on this site.

Lynn Serafinn
6th November 2013

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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:

The 7 Graces of Marketing BOOK COVER

The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing.

Brit Writers Awards Finalist

eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues

Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically, by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media.

eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales

Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com

Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing

LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng

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