Rob Williger

@williger

I am a marketing strategist with a focus on copywriting and web design. I am the co-founder and CEO of Cited, Inc. I write on a wide range of topics including: marketing, persuasion, current affairs, technology, cybersecurity, and privacy. U.S. Army Veteran

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There Won't Be A Savior

Stop hoping some individual, group, or particular issue will be the savior.

First it was Special Counsel Mueller, then Michael Avenatti was going to bring down Trump, then the kids from Parkland and gun control would save everything, then we had the new group of Congresswomen that things would surely change, finally Nancy Pelosi would come in to save us all.

There never was and will never be a Savior. People need to stop with elevating these public figures and hoping they will solve everything for you. The world doesn't work that way.

There is a savior, look in the mirror and you will see it.

The Internet Allows for Individuality, So Why So Many Copycats

The internet allows for being an individual and for doing business the way you want to do it. That is the great thing.

There are a lot of people who talk about this. The importance of having your market and doing your thing. But then they just copy what someone else goes and does.

There was someone who decided to put out a new style of email. The following week I had five people copying them in my inbox. Some were even labeling the email the same exact thing.

One person says that everyone should be on TikTok and then all of a sudden everyone starts preaching it.

We are dealing with self-fulfilling prophecies. If you have enough of a following then you can just make a prediction and then will have others jumping in based on what you say.
People talk originality and the independence but then they seem to rely so much on what someone else say. People are still scared to make a decision and take the risk of being wrong.

Why? There is so little downside for most of these things. How about someone actually just be original and see what happens. You don't need to be everywhere but make wherever you are count for something.

Be your own person and follow your own path.

In a Time of Uncertainty

When in times of uncertainty anyone who has the definitive answer is full of shit.

If you are certain about what the government must do, how the primary should be handled, or what to do about impeachment you are full of shit. I don't care what three letter agency you worked for, what your PhD is in, or how many followers you have.

When looking for guidance from "experts" learn for those that provide the route to look at, the tools to use, and other ways of empowering people to make their own determination.

Those that are positive of the answers, no matter what side of the spectrum, are the ones we need to be cautious of.

While it is great to learn from others and gather insight and direction in the end you need to make your own decision and not let someone tell you what is right.

Free Speech Doesn't Guarantee Free Reach

When social media sites first started things were pretty equal and content was distributed pretty evenly. But then the companies needed to try to actually turn a profit so they started selling ads. Once ads were introduced the companies became ruled by the advertisers.

When Twitter, Facebook, etc... decide to show someone's content over another person the actual decisions are being made based on an algorithm.

These platforms are private entities that are running a business. If they desired, they could say politics is off limits as an area of discussion.

The great thing is in 2019, the technology is out there with free and open source tools that anyone who really wants can create their own social network.

But playing the victim card is so much easier. So that is what conservatives choose to do.

There are plenty of liberals on Twitter who do not have verified accounts, there stuff hardly shows up on feeds, and they aren't promoting conspiracy theories of shadow bans and other things out to silence conservatives.

No, it could just be that people aren't really that interested in what you had to say.

Also, these platforms exist to make money. Advertisers may not want to show up next to certain messages.

Spread your message but nobody owes you a platform.

The Conversation In Their Heads

“Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.”
-Robert Collier

When you are writing to customers are you positioning it from what matters to them or what is important to you? As Robert Collier stated, you need to enter the conversation taking place in their head already. When you write what is important to you it may not address the reader's concerns.

When writing to customers make sure that the words you use and the perspective you write from joins the conversation in their head.

Stop Thinking You Have All the Answers

We live in fucked up times. There are excellent lawyers, historians, former law enforcement, and others providing analysis and ideas for what is going on.

There are also actors and random cows and horses on Twitter that seem to have all the answers.

Bottom line is that nobody has all of the answers or even knows all of the questions that should be asked. While we want to be able to turn to someone to tell us what to think the world just doesn't work that way.

Just because someone has credibility in one area doesn't mean that everything they say about the situation is correct. While historians get upset about people using Wikipedia to argue with them, being a historian doesn't make you a political and media strategy expert.

There are a lot of people who work in other fields that have insight into these matters.

Bottom line it that just because someone has a blue checkmark next to their name doesn't mean that they are the expert on all areas.

Setting the Agenda

"The press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about."
-Bernard Cohen

Agenda setting theory talks about how the media influences the topics that we talk about on a given day. The information provided in the news has a tremendous impact in what people think about.

We saw this in the 2016 election with the emphasis on the Clinton email server over many other issues. While it may have not been a truly important issue for many people the fact that it was always in the news kept the attention on it.

We are seeing the same thing with the issues with Hunter Biden as the media keeps the story alive. The problem is we now have alternative sources that are creating fake controversies that then get mixed in with the mainstream media.

This works as long as people aren't impacted by the item discussed in the news. When it hits you personally such as losing your job or your health insurance then the issue is no longer controlled by the media.

We see this with politics that someone will support a candidate until their factory shuts down and then they shift sides.

To counter this, when you hear something in the news it is important to take a moment and decide if it should be a focus. We need to make a conscious effort not to let the media control the conversation.

How Queen Elizabeth Can Help You In Your Marketing

I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too...
-Queen Elizabeth I

Is there something about your product or service that your customers and prospects may have doubts about? As we see from Queen Elizabeth I, it is best to just get it out in the open and counter it. When you try to hide something and then it is later revealed it looks bad. When you are proactive you have the opportunity to set the narrative and the message.

An example of this is Avis Car Rental, "We're Number Two, And We Try Harder". Instead of letting the competition brand them in second place they claimed it and were able to leverage it.

Or as George Bernard Shaw said:

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”

Don't be afraid to be honest about where your service may be missing something.

It Is About Taking Action

Business letter writing is not a study of form and usages. It is rather a study of human nature and "how to use words so as to make people do things."
-Sherwin Cody

When writing to customers while it is important to have the core grammar elements and to appear professional it is important that your words are driving people to take action.

With the fast pace of communication we see people trying to go viral but while their message may be shared it is quickly forgotten and no true benefit comes from it.

When writing copy for customers the goal is for them to say, "where can I by that?" not "what a great tweet." Of course, the ideal would be to have the combination of the two.

Do Things Because they are Right

There seems to be a trend towards people supporting issues or causes due to some connection or benefit. An example is the guy who says, "as a husband, brother, or father I support this women's issue."

Or as I saw pointed out recently in a tweet people supporting LGBTQ inclusion because it is good for business.

We should be supporting people and causes because it is the right thing to do, not because we see some benefit in it. As a human being it should be how we think of and treat other human beings.

If your business gains from it, wonderful, but that shouldn't be the reason behind why you are doing it.

It Is Important to Laugh

We must learn to treat the demagogue and aspirant dictator in our midst just as we should treat our external enemies in a cold war - with the weapon of ridicule. The demagogue himself is almost incapable of humour of any sort, and if we treat him with humour, he will begin to collapse. Humour is, after all, related to a sense of perspective. A.M. Merloo, M.D., The Rape of The Mind, 1953

Every so often on Twitter when a politician does something stupid and everyone is mocking them someone will try to be superior and start lecturing how attention should be put towards some other cause.

For example, when Trump attacked Chrissy Teigan I saw numerous verified Twitter accounts saying how people should be tweeting about something else. First of all, tweets aren't a limited quantity, it is possible to tweet about multiple topics at the same time.

Second, laughing at leaders is important as dictators can't handle humor. Being mocked and laughed at is something they fear and by making jokes at them it reduces some of their power.

Finally, there is a lot of stress out there, it is okay to lighten up and joke around at times.

Authority

"In many persons the weight of authority is more important than the quality of the authority."

A.M. Merloo, The Rape of the Mind, 1953

This statement was true and the time it was first written and continues to be true. We see this on social media that people are following and assuming that just because someone has a checkmark next to their name or have a huge following they should be considered an authority on a topic.

There are a lot of people providing great analysis and information online, but it doesn't mean that they are right. We are dealing with new situations and while we can learn from the past we need to also look from new angles.

These days everyone needs to make their own decisions and have their own thoughts. Listen to those with knowledge but don't take their words as gospel.

Stop Making Shit a Thing

Steve Bannon said that the sky is actually going to be purple

Brad Parscale says that Trump will become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom as well as the Trump family ruling America for the next 100 years.

Media do us all a favor, stop making this shit into something. Just because Steve Bannon says something it doesn't need to be reported. Brad Parscale can make whatever predictions he wants doesn't mean it needs to be taken seriously.

Why the fuck would anyone do an article about Don Jr. or Ivanka running for President acting like it matters. How about some stories on those actually running.

There is shit that is only a thing because the media is making it into a thing. Stop giving oxygen to these people and strengthening their messages.

Do You Think They Remember Your Phone Number?

It seems a common way many small businesses like to market is by signs on their vehicles with a name and a phone number. The problem is people are seeing these when they are driving so even though they could take a picture of the number many never will and you will be forgotten about.

A memorable domain name with a website explaining your services is the solution to this problem. A website it easier to memorize and search engines will help people to find it even if they can't remember the exact address.

I see very few of these vehicles that are including a website or at least an email address. A lot of people do not want to pick up a phone and call. A website is an essential tool for every business and can be used to set your business apart.

There is a Cost to Free

There is a cost to free apps. While it is great to have free email, online storage, note taking, and more we need to remember that we are giving up privacy.

Without even realizing it think of how much information can be contained in your email. Items such as bank balances, past dues, and medical information.

In many cases it is worth it to actually pay a small amount for a service where you can support a small company instead of handing your data over for mining by corporate giants.

Before choosing to hand over your information consider for a moment the cost of that privacy.

Should You Really Do That Quiz

Do you really wonder what Friends character you are similar to?

Does posting your rapper or porn star name on Twitter to participate in a hashtag something that will bring more value to your life?

Don't think I am judging as I do plenty of things online that are a waste of time. The issue with many of these challenges is the information you are giving out. Many of the components of these trends and challenges are information that is used as security questions at many websites.

While some of these may be innocent fun it is also possible that a hacker who has some of your information can then scrape Twitter or Facebook and use this additional information to gain access to various accounts.

Whatever you do online take a moment to think of the information you are sharing and how that could be used by someone with the wrong intentions.

Almost Everyone Has Something to Sell

One of the attacks that I commonly hear about people who have changed their views politically is that they are just trying to profit with the changes in environment.

While there is some truth to it, there is also truth that even those you agree with have something they are trying to sell.

While I am not questioning whether these people believe or are genuine most of them on any side are doing this in part for some other motivation.

Look at the online bios or their social media feeds, in there you will see mentions of newsletters, books, podcasts, and cable news appearances.

When things calm down politically MSNBC and CNN will need a lot less former Assistant US Attorneys from the Southern District of New York. A normal presidency, whether Democrat or Republican, is going to demand a lot less podcasts about what it going on.

Listen to these people but also make your own decisions in the end and understand that they all are trying to sell you something.

Let's Encourage Not Criticize

Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse are starting to speak out.

Did it take too long, yes.

Are there statements on the weaker side, yes.

Should they do more, yes.

Should we be criticizing them for those things? The answer is a strong no. They are likely testing reactions. They know they are going to get attacked from one person and his followers they need to make sure it is worth it.

While the statements may not be as strong as we want we need to encourage people to speak out and not attack them when they do it.

If they get attacked for their statement being too weak or qualified do you think that will motivate others to step forward?

We are in a new territory and new rules are being developed. Those that wil come out ahead will be those that can see nuance and navigate the challenges not the purists who demand all or nothing.

Yelling Nobody Is Talking About Doesn't Make You A Genius

Nobody is even talking about this.

Nothing matters anymore.

It seems that there is a large amount of twitter that feels that pointing something out and adding that phrase to it somehow makes them more intelligent or superior to the rest of us.

You don't really know what the fuck most of us are talking about do you really? There is a world outside of social media.

Also, yes, there are things that get overlooked because they all go back to one core problem and that is the source of all this shit.

Don't Be Afraid to Mute and Block

While people are entitled to free speech there is no guarantee for them to be heard. I have been more liberal in my use of the block and mute buttons on social media and I think my life is better for it. It isn't being a snowflake or needing a safe space it is just I don't want to give oxygen to trolls and conspiracy theorists.

When you share something even to mock it or reply back to attack you are increasing the chances of the algorithm making that more popular. Why give them the satisfaction. If someone doesn't have something of value to say better of just blocking and muting and not even giving them the recognition.