3 Simple Ways to Bust Stereotypes and Craft a Remarkable Message

3 Simple Ways to Bust Stereotypes and Craft a Remarkable Message

Reader Comments (68)

  1. Great reminders.

    I’ve seen a lot of folks doing it so BORING lately. They create their new biz and setup a Facebook page. And then they say, “Like my page about ” and then that’s the end of it.

    Or BORING updates about the cakes they make, the plumbing jobs they are on, or the photos they take.

    They really need to blow people out od the water with compelling content in order to gain REAL likes.

    • I agree with you Matt, if you’re not being a “purple cow” then you’re just….well, a cow. And that’s pretty BORING.

      I think if companies actually put some time into thinking about being more creative or like Pamela said, allowing their employees to do post photos or share some of their reality, it will humanize these businesses and make them more interesting.

      I love the stories about cdbaby on Youtube by actual customers. They’re a great example.

    • I agree, but it can be tough for a small business to manage those things when so much time might be spent on the actual goings on of the business itself.

      • That’s the ultimate small business owner’s dilemma, isn’t it?

        It’s tough, but the good news is that it’s so much easier to get your message out to millions compared to 15-20 years ago. I think it’s worth the effort.

  2. Fab article Pam – and I love the specific tips you give for shattering those stereotypes. Thank God I’m in the writer category and not an accountant – I don’t think Goole + could handle my music playlist. From Bonnie Tyler to Beefheart, it’d probably get me banned 🙂

  3. Pamela,

    You really sum up social media well.

    I think social media is no different than offline socializing.

    Key here is to keep it as natural as possible. People like to do business with humans.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Hi Pamela, I agree about the video length. If it’s too long I forget why I started watching it!
    Some videos can get away with being unscripted if the person is super confident and can edit out all the “umms” and “ars”, but most of them need a script. Scott Stratten has a great tip in UnMarketing – get someone to hold the words up on a card so you look up and not look down at the screen whilst you are on camera.

    Glad you love your new home 🙂

    • That is a great tip about cue cards Sarah! I have a tendency to wing it a little on my videos and who doesn’t love a good “umm” or “ars” thrown in every once in awhile 🙂 But when I really want to make sure I hit all the points I have a white board that I put up just behind the camera with everything written out. Video is fantastic.

      Thanks for the great article Pamela!

      • I must admit I’m a winger at video too. I started by writing big notes on papers but I did a terrible job keeping the flow. Now I use the “memorize-and-forget” algorithm. Memorize it just long enough to record the video, then forget it.

        I might try the whiteboard though. Sounds like a better system and it might help me to keep my videos shorter. I must admit mine are usually longer than 3 minutes if I’m explaining something technical, especially my screen captures. Should I make shorter videos and more of them, instead?

        I laughed out loud at the Hee Haw reference.

  5. Re: “Show prospects you’re just like them by sharing a little about yourself.”

    The sooner you make that connection, the better! For me, I try and do that through networks like Twitter (though I think I push it sometimes, heh). And I also definitely do it through email. I’m always responsive with new subscribers, I’m engaged, and I’m very personable. I try to write my newsletters in a very conversational tone and I think people appreciate that.

    As for videos, I started strong at the beginning of the year, but it’s time to step it up again so thanks for the reminder!

    • Ricardo, I hear you.

      I finally invested in a better video camera recently and I’m about to step it up, too.

      Even with the very basic camera I had before, people really responded to the videos I shared. It makes a connection like no other media does.

      • We all know images help engage readers, but I once read that including an image featuring a person — most specifically, a close up involving their eyes — is a good way to attract the attention of your reader, so it only makes sense that video does the same … only more. Great point there, Pamela.

        Taking it a bit further, I think streaming video is an even more engaging form of the medium, because it provides immediate connection and interaction that you simply don’t get when watching a video that was recorded. Not only is it interesting to connect with someone thousands of miles away (or even right down the street), but it’s also a great way for publishers to increase their influence by creating that connection — at least that’s what I’ve felt as a viewer watching some of my favorite publishers.

        • We’re wired to respond to the gaze of another human being: that’s why all those magazine covers have models looking right at you.

          I agree with you about streaming video, too. The only drawback is that viewers can get annoyed when technical difficulties interfere. Have you experienced that, Chris?

  6. Pam,

    You’re such a tease! ‘I finally invested in a better video camera recently…’

    Please share the details of your new toy, with the rest of us.

    Especially since you begin your article with your web video suggestion.


    • Connie, I got a Canon Vixia HF R200.

      It’s not their top-of-the-line model, but it has the all-important swivel viewfinder. I got a little tired of filming videos with my Kodak Zi8 that looked great … except the top of my head was cut off! Now I’ll be able to center the image before I press start. 🙂

  7. Hey Pamela,
    I fall under the “writers category” and the topic of my next blog-post (after I am done with the current series of 6 posts on the basics of “How to Become a Good Writer”) will be “How I made money with just My keyboard and good business sense.” Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. This is a really nice post… I love the last one! Shatter stereotypes… I guess that is what gives you an edge to your competitors…

    • Breaking through stereotypes is a great way to make your company memorable, don’t you think? You’re asking prospects to change the way they think about your business, and that little cognitive leap cements your brand in their minds.

  9. Nice job Pamela.
    I like “Shattering Stereotypes” idea. If there is an obstacle that could cause someone to not do business with you, bring it up.
    My rule for obstacles is either you need your prospect to overcome it, or move on. The reality is that only your prospect can truly overcome the obstacle.
    We can help them discover it may not be the obstacle they thought it was originally.
    Thanks for sharing,

  10. Recording some of clients give video testimonials could be a small hassle but would go a LONG way for attracting new business.

    Thanks for reminding us what we should be doing.

    Utah SEO


    And I wasn’t entirely wrong!

    I’m in a very rural area (for now) & it’s actually fascinating. Totally different culture than what I’m used to. The people are very hospitable and nice. Some of the small businesses (e.g., coffee shops, diners) are charming. The pace of life is slower. The conversations are DIFFERENT.

    It’s fun stuff to observe & also participate in.

    But I miss Los Angeles so much sometimes. 🙂

  12. Hi and great article.
    I am fat and balding with jam jars for glasses. I am a hermit that sits on the computer for days on end…this is a stereotype of an SEO specialist. Just joking

    I live in the most isolated capital city in the world…Perth Western Australia and I also provide SEO to a bunch of folks who wonder what SEO really is. In Western Australia we are a bit behind the times although stereo types still prevail here and being an SEO specialist I am always trying to find ways to re-assure my potential clients on the benefits of SEO for their business. There are many myths about SEO that people hang on to which becomes the stereotypes persona.

      • I think breaking down stereotypes is a great way to involve your potential customers in your services and give a human or personal touch to a communication strategy. Due to the economic reality of communicating online we are not doing as much face to face networking to reach out customers. Personally I still prefer the face to face approach but I also communicate online in detail about what I offer and how my services can help a business. Using humor and images to gain attention is also a great way to break down barriers and change peoples perceptions.


  13. Great article Pamela.

    I laughed when I read about your Texas thoughts and experience, because we had the same thoughts when we moved to Alice Springs in Australia. It turned out it was an amazing 2 years there.

    Your “Shattering Stereotypes” idea has made me rethink a few things, so thank-you.

    Ian McConnell

    • Good to hear, Ian. Thank you!

      I find it fascinating that it’s often the places we have the lowest expectations for that end up being the most interesting places to live.

  14. “If you’re a web developer, host a pool party and invite your best clients, then post a video on your website”

    Haha! Be *really* careful with that one… 😉

  15. You’re stereotype of San Antonio isn’t so far off right now, regarding the yards. There is no grass and even the tumbleweeds have died! My yard looks more and more like a desert each day.

  16. Pam,
    We have tried videos and podcasts about our industry and even tweets but is it a good idea to have short bio videos of employees and their personal interests?

    • You have space on your site under the “Company Story” tab: why not try talking more about the people behind the product, even if it’s just text and photos? That’s an easy way to dip your toes in the water without committing to video.

  17. I am currently responsible for online marketing of a German live chat community. Me and my colleges are fighting hard every day against stereotypes. Our niche sector does not fall into “porn”, we actually do not show any nudity on non-member pages but nevertheless do not qualify for adwords (in Germany) nor for Facebook ads (worldwide).

  18. Great reminders on the importance of marketing. Marketing is simply networking and socializing. The more you market or socialize, the more your message will be heard and received – which could in turn yield favorable results for your business venture.

  19. Brilliant post!

    I think I probably confirm stereotypes by looking like a Goth, and posting about cemetery folklore, or sharing things on Facebook about abandoned houses or ghostly road trips…but I try and do it with silly humour to make people laugh at the same time!

  20. I love keeping it under 2 minutes — I think that’s one way to keep the rambling down. Nothing is quite as annoying as a 10 minute video that could have been a 2 minute video (with a host who rambles constantly).

    Most people are looking for information, not the philosophical underpinnings of your choice of breakfast sandwich this morning!

  21. You are absolutely right when it comes to people wanting to deal with people and not faceless corporations. When I’m looking at buying something online I am always attracted more to the sites that give a lot more information about who they are and what they are about.

    I also like the idea of showcasing products via video. It gives people an opportunity to see the product in action in the real world.

  22. Totally agree with the second point ‘Share your reality’. Most of the companies out there try to polish their products with lies and eventually they fail to meet customers’ expectations.

  23. I find that the content I write converts the best when I acknowledge stereotypes and fears head on.

    If your client is sitting there thinking that you’re not special and they can find another writer, designer, or coach… then acknowledge that!

    Tell them that they landed on your website for a reason, and you know they can easily click over to the next one. But that would a bad decision because…

    If you can tap into the conversation that already going on in their head, you’ll be VERY busy.

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