What To Say Now

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Assuming the weeks haven’t morphed into one continuous day by then, causing time itself to cease, come this June, it will have been 20 years since I quit my job and went off to work on my own.

Back then, this newsletter had about 30 subscribers and was called, Different Rules, Different Tools.

I gave it that name for two reasons.

First, because I love rhyme and alliteration (even on vacation). Left to my own devices, my daughter’s name would likely have been Kitty.  

Second, because back in 2000, as the dot com boom was busting, the rules and tools were changing rapidly. 

Businesspeople were scrambling, trying to figure out where it was all going and what, as a result, they should be doing.

Well, guess what? Here we are again.

Granted, we’ve swapped arrogant, T-shirt wearing, know-it-all near-teenagers for a deadly pandemic (I’ll leave it to you to decide which is more annoying), but either way, big changes are here.

And while I know it feels like we’ve been living this new way forever, it’s only been a short time. To put things into perspective, we have leftovers in the fridge that are older than the stay at home order.

Understandably, there’s a lot of confusion. Which is why when it comes to content creation – newsletters, blogs, podcasts, webinars – one of the questions that keeps coming up among my clients is, “What should we be talking and writing about now?”

Well, here’s what you don’t talk and write about: hand washing. Or anything generically virus-protection related. Hand washing, regardless of your profession, was old news by week two.

On the other hand (haha!), simply ignoring what’s going on and covering the same topics as before, feels tone-deaf.

That’s why for me, and at least for now, I recommend that you look for the intersection between what’s happening (COVID) and your expertise.

How does what you know and specialize in connect to the crisis? How can you be helpful, without ignoring what’s going on and without saying what’s been said a thousand times already?

This approach keeps your communication timely and appropriate, while still giving you the opportunity to highlight your expertise (which, after all, is the point of publishing business content in the first place).

In my last issue, for example, I used New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s virus-enhanced celebrity (what’s happening) to talk about how to be a strong communicator (my expertise). 

In a different newsletter, the folks at 2Sisters Senior Living Advisors used the virus (what’s happening) to talk about whether your parents are better off right now inside a senior community or at home (their expertise).

In yet another newsletter, the cybersecurity experts at Fractional CISO explained why the recent explosion in Zoom usage (what’s happening) is a cause for concern for any company that cares about data and network security (their expertise).

So, what does your intersection look like? (Feel free to send photos.)

Here’s the bottom line.

As someone who sells a professional service, the worst thing you can do during a time of crisis is become invisible. Your clients don’t expect you to know all the answers. But they do expect – and want – to hear from you.

The second worst thing you can do is to create and share content that is either irrelevant or redundant. It’s not enough to just keep pushing send on your newsletter, blog or podcast – you want to be in sync with the moment, too.

This newsletter has ended; you and I have befriended.

Discussion Questions:

How about you? What’s your favorite bit of alliteration?

Coca Cola? Whisper Words of Wisdom? Paycheck Protection Program?

Let us know, before you go, just type it below!

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12 thoughts on “What To Say Now

  1. Gina Longo

    This is from one of the stories I wrote on my website:

    “It got built, and so they came: it didn’t take long for the new bridge to make its mark as a paradise for painters, poets, and pedestrians… but unfortunately, the whispering alcoves (à la The Whispering Gallery at St. Paul’s) built on each pier also provided protection for plunderers, prostitutes, and pickpockets.”

    The bridge in question is the original Westminster Bridge. The current version isn’t nearly as picturesque… or as alluringly alliterative. 😉

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      And let me just say, mantequila is one of my favorite spanish words to say out loud. Along with, perhaps, cincuenta.


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