Everything is Sexy (Kind of)

You don’t know HOW many times people have said to me that the biggest problem they’re having with messaging—no matter what it is—is that whatever they have to say (sell, promote, announce) isn’t sexy enough.

But in fact, it is.

Why? Because there is no such thing as a boring topic.

If you think something is boring, it may mean that you haven’t done the heavy lifting to identify the real reason this is compelling. You haven’t tried. You assume it’s boring.

If you want to find the “sex appeal” (and I’m using that term lightly—not everything has to appeal to actual sex to sell) in what you’re doing, sharing, selling—find the way in which it appeals to human craving, desire, or need.

That means: Everything is sexy. (Kind of.)

The way I see it is, if someone has found a way to earn a living from it, trust me, there’s something sexy there. It doesn’t have to be flashy-sexy, but it may appeal to what someone feels a driving need for, even if they don’t admit it out loud or in mixed company.

Take copyediting, for instance. 

Copyediting is tedious, painstaking work. Some people really love doing it. Most don’t. But they want that service. Why? Because they’re “interested” in commas? Nope.

Because no one wants to look stupid. That’s why.

And if you don’t have a copyeditor read over your work and change “there” to “their,” you could end up feeling a little stupid. I don’t know why copyeditors don’t lean on this more. Because you’re not hiring a comma-fixer; you’re hiring someone to make sure you look and sound as smart as you know you are.

Oh and by the way: There’s nothing inherently interesting, either. 

There’s only what you find interesting. If you think a topic, issue, or business is inherently interesting, be careful—you could get lazy and assume that the product, service, or idea will sell itself. (It won’t.)

Anyone who’s ever been bored to near-death by someone at a dinner party knows this. But it has nothing to do with X topic. It has to do with the message and how it was delivered.

A bore is not someone who’s fascinated by things you’re not interested in; a bore is someone who hasn’t done the work to bridge that gap between what he finds interesting…and what you do. It’s lazy.

Finding the emotional pressure point in any message is critical—and without that point, well, yes, the copy or positioning may fall flat.

I think of brand messaging as a kind of of acupuncture. Words must be wielded with intention and skill if they’re going to work.

Sure, you can take a perfectly good acupuncture needle and stick it randomly into your arm. Chances are,  nothing will happen. But it doesn’t mean that acupuncture never works.

When a needle is intentionally and skillfully applied to a precise point, it could send a ripple effect through your entire nervous system. It could change everything.

Don’t think your accounting software, wealth management firm, or crash course in quinoa is sexy enough? Oh, I beg to differ. As long as you know who the audience is and what they want, you can trigger that pressure point.

They key is stop worrying about or judging what seems inherently “interesting” or “boring” and set about doing the work that bridges the gap between what you have and what your audience wants.

Do that and zap! Nervous systems lighting up all over the place.

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