Thursday, August 10, 2023

Are You Talking to Me

There’s something I learned from writing a blog that I think too few people in advertising think about.

Having written virtually every weekday for 16 years, having written over 6500 posts and maybe close to two million words, I have readers. I have an audience who comes here to this space, to me. To see what I have to say and how I'll say it.

I have a following, so I have a commitment to try to be good, to uphold my standards and values and humor.

If you read, as I have, literature from the early days of the English novel, authors would often sneak phrases in their forwards and prefaces interjections like dear reader

Somewhat randomly, I've pasted above a portion of the Table of Contents from Henry Fielding's great picaresque novel "Tom Jones," written in 1749--making it, as far as English Literature goes a fairly early example of a novel. You'll see Fielding often addresses the reader directly. He's concerned with welcoming the reader--guiding them along.

After all my years of writing Ad Aged, I've realized I have dear readers. I’ll never meet them, or coffee with them or know them, but they are, still, dear readers and I have an obligation to serve them.

Serve them.

Serve readers in the way that writing can. It can be useful and therefore worth reading. It can be entertaining, empathetic, understanding, funny. 

I think one of the true values of writing a blog is that writing it can remind us of who we're writing for.

We're not writing for ourselves.

We're not writing for awards.

We're not writing for our bosses.

Or clients.

Or even the brands we're consigned to.

We write for readers. 

Dear readers.

Readers we must care about if we are to serve them well.

I think in so much of what we do--from the nasty edicts issued by management, or the even nastier emails telling us to do our timesheets, or social posts, websites, ads, commercials, whatever, the reader--the being who should be the focal point of our work is forgotten.

We've forgotten they're busy. We've forgotten they're bored. We've forgotten they're exhausted, pressured, pulled in 49-different directions and they need to be treated with a little kindness and care. They might even need to be thanked, and rewarded--not pandered to and pablumized. In the paraphrased parlance of David Ogilvy who founded an agency no longer recognizable, "the consumer isn't a moron, they're your partner."

That's all.

And thanks, dear reader.

No comments: