An extension cord and a chocolate cookie: distractions are everywhere, in this week’s blog posting

In a recent webinar, my mentor and friend, American marketer, Michael Katz, taught a simple method of sharing stories that sell. By sharing a “slice of life,” something that has happened to you, and then building a bridge to your marketing or entrepreneurial insight, you can evoke emotion from your readers that they will remember and take action on.

Katz’s webinar inspired me to share the following story, for today’s blog posting . . . .

After a particularly stressful day in the office recently (the phone ringing too often, multiple bills arriving in the mail, a client late with payment), I felt the need for a treat.

I decided to drive to my neighbourhood bakery for one. Which bakery? The trusted Griffin Takeaway, where everything (whether vegan or not) is handmade and delectable. (It doesn’t hurt that plenty of sugar is involved.)

To be honest, I had spent all day dreaming about my reward—a chocolate haystack cookie. Chocolatey and coconutty—Mmmm. Who could resist? They’re great. 

Trouble was, I was so distracted by thoughts of the delicious cookie that I forgot to unplug my car’s block heater, when I set out for the bakery.  And this, amid a frigid, Saskatchewan winter.

So what? Well, for one, I dragged a six foot extension cord behind my car for seven blocks in moderately heavy traffic.

I didn’t notice a thing. Felt nothing under the snow tires. Saw nothing in the car’s mirrors.

No one else on the road seemed to notice, either.

No friendly car horns. No gestures to look down toward the underbelly of the car.

We were all, it seems, distracted by other things.

I only realized my mistake when I reached the bakery, parked the car and glanced at the car’s front bumper, as I walked by. There I found the poor ol’ blue cord, covered in black tread marks and with prongs that were bent and blackened. What a disaster! I blushed with embarrassment, relieved that I hadn’t driven any further.

All of which reminds me of why it’s important to be mentally alert when writing marketing materials.

I’m talking about more than just catching typos, here, folks. We live in a very noisy, digital world . . . . when you sit down to write an email, you may forget to hold your prospects in mind, with the result that your content flounders.

You may “go through the motions” with lacklustre bullet points or forget to pen a “Call-to-Action,” at the end.

Maybe you missed the opportunity to match your  headline with the copy that follows it.

And on and on it goes . . . .

The reality is that the more easily we’re distracted by our own daily lives, the more easily we lose our awareness of our prospects’ and clients’ needs. When we can block off our own distractions, we free our minds to tune into what our clients want . . . . This is why it’s almost always easier to write marketing and communications copy for others than it is, for ourselves.  It’s why clients return to me, as a trusted service provider, when life gets–well, distracting.

So now, when I feel distracted by a irrelevant phone calls, bills or tax season and a rare, late-paying “rogue” of a client,  I remind myself of my ol’ trip with the car extension cord. (I actually have it on a bulletin board in my office as an inside joke.)

While thoughts of chocolate haystack cookies still sometimes run through my head, this experience has reminded me to stay more “in the moment.”

When it comes to writing your own marketing materials, however, as when going to buy a cookie, distraction is an inevitable part of life.  It teaches us ultimately that it doesn’t pay  to write for yourself.

And that’s a good time to call or email me.

And now it’s your turn: Do you ever catch yourself in a state of distraction, in your business?

Do you have an extension cord I can borrow? (Haha, Michael, that’s for you!)

Please weigh in. And see you at the bakery!