3 Reasons Why Templates Aren't The Best Way To Communicate In Your Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic
While COVID-19 is real and most Creators of templates (in general) are trying to help you, most templates do not speak in your brand voice. Not to mention that most business owners who download and use templates won’t change them to “sound” like themselves. When templates for emails, video-scripts and more are created, they are normally generated with one voice, one direction, or one solution in mind. There are three important elements that I'm going to address here: Brand Voice, Alignment with Brand Standards and the Risk of Sounding Like Another Business. I'm also going to address what templates you should use. I know you're probably scratching your head about that one, but it will all make sense as you continue reading. Also, before you think I’m completely bashing anyone that has created and sent you or sold you a template during COVID-19, that’s not my position at all. You'll see that as you continue reading. For now, let’s start with your unique brand voice.
Do You Know How Important Your Brand Voice Is Right Now During COVID19?
Your unique brand voice holds a lot of value in your business. During this time, maintaining that unique brand voice is important. It sets the tone. It will help you to stand out. It sets your positioning and it’s also what your target audience will expect you to sound like moving forward. That’s right, after the CoronaVirus clears, you won’t have a template to carry you through. This perspective isn't negative. It’s called being a forward thinker and it comes with the mindset of business owners that don't practice microwave marketing. Majority of the business owners that are rushing to find a template are thinking of ‘right now’ mixed with a little bit of uncertainty. But, Using a Template Saves Time... Most business owners look for templates for two reasons. The first is to save time, and the second is because they don't know what to say. The thought of starting from scratch is what most business owners dread, especially if you're a small business. And while this is understood, it doesn’t save your unique brand voice and that’s what’s most important.
Ask yourself this question, how many times have I seen another business owner share online how "This template didn't work for them." Even if you tweak some words here and there, it now dilutes the original tone and message of what was written in the original template. Think about the last template you downloaded. Whether on the sales or download page, there's always some literature encouraging you to "make it your own". This is written because the creators of the templates understand that using a template is a great way to get started, they themselves know how valuable speaking in your brand voice is, but they also know that templates are an easy way to get business owners to do something. If you don't see this disclaimer when you download a template it's not because the template is a million-dollar creation, it's because the creator doesn't really care about your end results, they simply want the sale. There's also some disclaimer written that removes the fault of your negative results from the seller. I want to see you win despite COVID-19, and that is why I am sharing this information with you. Now is the time to be loyal to your brand voice more than ever, so your community can be loyal to you. Now let's dive into alignment and standing out. Alignment With Your Business Standards
The next question you need to ask yourself is, "If COVID-19 was not here, would you be able to consistently deliver the energy, tone, and direction that the template you've downloaded does? Probably not or you wouldn't need the template. When choosing a template, you're more often than not looking at who wrote it and who is selling it. You are also judging them as a business owner and/or inspired by them and your thought process is that your business will be where there business is. What you're not asking yourself is, what do I need to maintain my standards while also communicating effectively.
When business owners stop using pre-written templates for emails, video-scripts, contracts and other forms of content, and start learning how to communicate with their audience better, that’s when the true connection begins. That’s what helps the know, like, and trust factor stick. That’s when people are excited to see an email, post, or video content from you.
Your Community Matters and The Risk of the Copy & Paste Method is High
One major risk with using a template that is fully outlined for you from start to finish is that you risk sounding like the person who wrote it and/or the risk of sending the same exact message another business is sending. During COVID-19, I have received the same “templated message” from different business owners. This can be the same scenario for you and your community. This is what happens when you are pulling from the same resources as others especially if you're in the same market. When someone receives a templated message that others are also sending out, it comes off as disingenuous to the recipient. It can make the recipient feel like they aren’t worth your time. When you use a template that's written above or sometimes below your business standards and practices it breeds confusion. It confuses your audience because chances are that the content shared everywhere else (your website, social media, etc.) doesn't sound like this "templated language" you've all of the sudden put out during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, whenever I see an email from GaryVee or Ross Simmonds in my inbox (two entrepreneurs that inspire me), I don't have Clicker's Remorse because I know the content is going to be in their brand voice, in alignment with their business standards, and written for me. I don't expect GaryVee to all of the sudden sound like Chris Do (a well known graphic designer). Another reason why I trust their content and brand voice is because when they're on video they sound the same. What Kind of Templates are Good To Use?
This is the time for you as a business owner to practice more personalization in your content. It’s what’s going to help you stand out and remain top of mind. It's what's going to help your community and future consumers remember you when the smoke clears. Before you think I’m completely bashing anyone that has created and sent you or sold you a template during COVID-19, that’s not my position at all. In fact, I have one or two templates for my video-marketing community, however, they aren’t full-blown, word for word or canned responses for business owners to use. They are templates that help the business owner work through what works best for their brand using an outline. For example, for business owners that are struggling with live-streaming, I have a Live-streaming Brief Template that has sections built into it. The sections do not come with pre-filled content or wording. Instead, they allow the business owner to build content and copy within each category that is hyper-specific to their business. This approach is how businesses stand out and remain top of mind. With new and old members in my community, you won’t get confused by the content they share which they learned by being in the LEARNWITHAC community. They still keep their brand voice and what this does is it allows them to develop better communication skills and habits for long-term impact. During COVID-19, if you're going to utilize templates, use templates that help you to maintain your brand voice, alignment and standards. These kind of templates include:
Layout Templates - These types of templates are often used for content like blog posts, video editing, graphic designs, briefs, resumes, etc. They do not include canned copy for business owners to use.
Customized Templates - These types of templates are customized for your business specifically. Meaning, you won’t find any other business with it.
Wow, This Opened My Eyes...What Do I Do Instead? Talking about a subject matter like this is not easy, however, because I want to see you win despite COVID-19, its important to get this message out. A better approach for you to take if you're feeling stuck with communicating to your clients during this time or if you feel like you don't have things in place to communicate effectively with your target audience reach out to a Copywriter you trust. You can also reach out to the business owner that's offering templates. Ask them to help you generate content that matches your brand voice, business standards and all of the other elements I mentioned above. If someone can generate a template, than they can help you make an outline and guide you through writing content that is hyper-specific to your business. Not only will you produce written content that aligns with your brand, but you'll also support a small business owner during the COVID-19 pandemic which goes a long way. It's a win-win-win. Meaning, you win, they win, and your community wins.
LEARN MORE ABOUT VIDEO-MARKETING IN YOUR BUSINESS
Anesha Collins is a well recognized and award-winning Photographer,Cinematographer, and Video-Marketing strategist currently based in Orlando, Florida. She has spoken at several conferences, universities, summits, on several podcasts, and many other platforms desiring her knowledge and innovative guidance on video-marketing. She is the founder of LEARNWITHAC (an educational platform for Creative Entrepreneurs & Business Owners) where she consistently teaches on video-marketing, content planning, content distribution, leveraging organic reach(which helps to support paid ads), connecting with your target audience, and so much more. Through valuable resources, courses, videos, and educational downloads, she empowers Creative Entrepreneurs & Business Owners to use video-marketing in their business the right way.