New Look for Remarkable Communication

As you may have seen, we released the Prose theme for WordPress today, and in honor of that, we decided to switch Remarkable Communication over.

I’m really enjoying the new look, and I hope you are too! I wanted to return a bit more to the “earthy crunchy” look I had early on, but keeping a nice professional design.

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The 5 Lies of Entrepreneurship

image of kittens in cat carrierI was past 40 before it occurred to me that I could really be an entrepreneur.

Even the word always seemed to carry so much stress.

Mortgaging your house to make payroll. (And then having the company die anyway.) Dumping an unfair workload onto your spouse. Broken promises to your kids.

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The Spooky Secret to Designing
Your Perfect Business

little-ghost2

Recently on the Remarkable Marketing Blueprint* forum, some folks were saying nice things about the space I’d created.

And I have to admit — I love it there. The members are generous and supportive, everyone is working their tails off and making progress like crazy. It’s exhilarating and warm and fuzzy all at the same time.

But here’s the thing.
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The Law of Anti-Attraction

image of a tiara
I recently got an email from someone whose comments aren’t going through on that other blog I write for.

I let him know that the spam plugin Akismet was probably snagging them, and he responded to let me know that was a “piss poor” answer.

Apparently I should dig through the tens of thousands of spam messages to find his comments. Which, given the tone of his email, I’m sure were constructive and insightful.
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How to Get Rich and Crazy on
the Internet

image of paris hilton

Remember in the old cartoons, when Bugs Bunny fell off a 90-story building and then emerged shaking his head with a funny little rattle?

That’s kind of what I feel like. :)

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What Makes Marketing Hard?

hard-climb

I’ve been spending more time lately teaching folks who are new to marketing, and I’m finding it really fascinating.

The same themes come up again and again. These are people who had an interesting idea for a product to sell or a service to market, but they run up against a horrid scary intimidating wall: marketing.

(And even scarier, its evil twin, selling.)

It seems impossibly hard. It seems like something for “other people.” It seems like they’d need a personality transplant to make it work for them.

And I totally get this, because I used to feel exactly the same way.

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How to Get Any Work Done
(When Connecting Is Your Job)

busy_reflections

If you’re doing any social media marketing at all, you know the drill. It’s all about showing up. Being your authentic self. Showing that you’re a trustworthy human being, making a connection, reaching out one-to-one.

The cornerstone idea of this blog is that if you can create more remarkable relationships with your customers, you’ll have a more remarkable business.

It’s fun and it works and it’s a great model. But it does have a significant downside.
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How to Quit Being a Badass

biker guyI have a friend who’s creating a business.

Actually, I have lots of friends who are creating businesses. And this is a story that reflects many of their journeys. One person inspired this particular story, but her story is the story of many people I know.

She got an idea she was passionate about. She collected great advice. She worked out a plan. She dreamed big. She found her courage. She leapt.

You know that expression “leap and the net will appear?” The net didn’t appear. In fact, it looked like it was the floor that was going to appear. Quickly.

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Are You Sure Your Content Marketing
Strategy Is a Good Fit?

big_boy_bed

When I was on vacation a few weeks ago, I went out to dinner with my friend Isabel. She wore a simple dress and a really cute cotton hoodie. Ever since I got home, I’ve been trying to find a hoodie just like it.

So far, no luck. Why?
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What’s Your Tribe’s Secret Language?

burningtribe

I picked up a couple of Nancy Mitford novels while I was on vacation in Taos a few weeks ago. Mitford wrote acidly funny, impeccably observed novels about her own background, which was as a child of the minor aristocracy growing up in Great Britain between the world wars.

It’s probably a bad idea for me to read any of the Mitfords (there were six sisters, all brilliant, some nasty, each with her own brand of insanity), because I find myself wanting to refer to things as heaven, or begin sentences with Any Danube peasant knows better than to . . .

Nancy Mitford became notorious in 1954 for a semi-satirical essay she wrote about “U” and “Non-U” pronunciation, the “U” standing for upper class.

(She didn’t coin the term “U,” but she did make it ubiquitous. U vs. Non-U was still a rowdy discussion when I first went to London in the 1980s.)

She outlined the situation neatly in her earlier bestselling novel The Pursuit of Love, in which the family patriarch is outraged because a young girl who’s a friend of the family is learning to say note-paper at boarding school, instead of writing-paper, and mirror instead of looking-glass.

Like her female characters, Nancy Mitford didn’t attend school at all, and thus couldn’t go to university as she had very much wanted to do. But by damn, she would have endured torture before she said note-paper.

It’s not about money

Mitford’s observations caused a lot of hand-wringing about snobbery and social class, which I suspect she found hilarious. She was born and bred to be a comic novelist, a brilliant observer but unable and unwilling to take anything very seriously.

What I find fascinating about it all is how fiercely tribal Mitford was, and how good she was at describing her tribe’s customs.

It wasn’t just about money. At various points in their lives, the real Mitford sisters lived on much more modest means than Nancy’s fictional characters did. (Money was a significant factor in the girls not going to school, for example.)

In fact, The Pursuit of Love details precisely the conflict between the rich middle class and the poorer (but in Mitford’s eyes, much more attractive) aristocrats and landed gentry.

Every tribe has a language

Whether it’s rabid fans of a sports team, residents of a neighborhood, members of a social class, or just people who share an interesting obsession, every tribe has a language.

When you’re writing to persuade a particular tribe, you’ve got to find the language that they use every day. Every time you say note-paper when they expect writing-paper, you send a signal that you’re not one of them.

Develop the novelist’s habit of writing down scraps of conversation that you hear. Keep file folders of customer comments, and go through it looking for interesting turns of phrase. Don’t “clean up” client testimonials too much—leave the linguistic quirks and oddities.

Listen more than you talk, and read more than you write.

If you’re building a tribe

You don’t just have to stick with the tribes that exist already. Creating your own is one of the most effective (and fun) ways to build a business or project.

When you build a tribe, remember that every tribe needs its own language. (The six Mitford sisters had one just among themselves, in fact.)

Over on Copyblogger, we’ve started to use the expression Third Tribe to mean “smart, ethical business based on great content and solid direct response copywriting.”

When I write about audience there, I talk about each of us building a village of customers.

We define ourselves as content net creators, as opposed to the “harpooners.” (Defining “the other” is also a big part of creating a tribe. I try to do this with respect and without vilifying anyone.)

When we overcome objections and build trust with customers, it’s called killing trolls.

You don’t have to force this “secret language.” (In fact, trying to force it is probably a terrible idea.) But you keep your ears open for the ideas and metaphors your villagers respond to.

When you come up with a good turn of phrase, keep using it. Repetition is your friend.

How about you? What’s the secret language of your tribe?

Flickr Creative Commons image by aturkus