Everybody Writes: Consistency is the Birth of a Successful Business

Posted on by in Reading Between the Lines

“Figure out what works for your audience and do it. Do it again and again and again, consistently.”

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, page 256

This falls under the “no-brainer” category. Find out what works, and do it.

It reminds me of the age-old marketing advice that says “find out what customers want, and then give it to them.” (Brilliant!)

Let me step back in time to my college football days when I was a quarterback at The University of Massachusetts. (Isn’t it funny that the older you get, the better you were?) Try to see how this very important lesson equates to your situation today.

Click on the book to grab your own copy of "Everybody Writes"

Click on the book to grab your own copy of “Everybody Writes”

My coach at the time thought he was Vince Lombardi reincarnated. He was one tough old son-of-a-gun. Our playbook put the Manhattan Phone Book to shame when it came to girth. We had a million plays all neatly outlined with x’s, o’s, and arrows pointing in all directions. As QB, it was my job to know how everything worked and when I should select the one play from the other 3,000 options in any given situation.

I was 18 years old at the time, and memorizing 3,000 plays along with their rationale for deployment was not what I considered to be a “good time.”

I resorted to my New Jersey Street Smart Bible. (If it works, do it again.) I entered the huddle and narrated the play I would like to see run with precision. “East. 42 X-Out Bling on the first sound.”

We approached the line of scrimmage collectively and assumed our designated positions. Standing behind the center I ran my eyes from left to right and back again as if I was doing something very important. (I saw NFL QB’s do this on television on Sunday and it looked pretty cool.)

I nestled up close behind the center and positioned my hands firmly (but not too firmly) on his cheeks.  At the slightest sound of my voice the ball would be propelled off the ground and into my waiting hands. I spun to my right and handed the ball to the full back who on a perfect day would be heading toward the #2 hole in hope that he would not fall down until at least 3.5 yards of real estate passed beneath him.  Result: 4 yards.

Remember that my playbook had an additional 2999 plays yet to be called. 42X was but one of them. What is a guy to do?

Here comes the lesson folks, and you thought I would never get to it. The play worked. I returned to the huddle and said “Ditto boys. Let’s ram it down their throats. 42-X it is.”

And as long as that single play was successful, I kept repeating it until the defense wised up to my methods and made the appropriate adjustments. Then, and only then is when I resorted to another play.

I initially found what worked and I kept working it. I had many other options, but I did not need any of them until my first tactic stalled.

The same holds true with your marketing. When you find something that works, work it.


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