Surprised at their reaction to your story? Here’s why…

Cathy Goodwin
3 min readMar 1
Image (without the text) by Ryan Walton on Unsplash.

If you’ve been following the soap opera saga of British royalty Harry and Meghan, you know they generated some explosive content. Apparently, they were surprised at the reaction of their many readers and listeners.

You’re not royalty and you’re not famous (except maybe within your niche). You think you know how to talk to your followers.

So you tell a great story and … ouch! It didn’t go the way you expected.

Maybe they departed your list in droves. Or they didn’t laugh. Or they seemed shocked into silence.

Any business owner — or anyone who shares a story — can get reactions they totally didn’t expect.

One way I work with clients is to plan stories so this won’t happen.

Here are 3 reasons why your audience might be surprised:

1 — They’re seeing (or hearing) your story in an unexpected setting.

Psychologists use the term “noise” to describe anything that interferes with the transmission of a message. Noise can be loud sounds, of course, but it can also refer to visual disturbances, such as poor lighting.

When you send out a message with a clever subject line, your readers see an email in their inbox with several others. You may have a clever, original line. But even the most original ideas may turn out to have copies and imitators.

One day my email inbox contained not one but THREE different messages with the word “unsexy” in the subject line. The topics were completely different…unsexy ways to get more clients, unsexy ways to write an email, and…well, you name it.

Each sender expected me to respond to the word “unsexy” with curiosity or even a wry smile. Alas, my thought was, “Oh no…another one!”

The best way to avoid this response is to avoid cleverness in favor of straightforward, value-driven content. Focus on the message rather than the style and above all, avoid anything that might remotely be considered “cute.”

2 — You’re too close to the story.

Cathy Goodwin

Create a compelling marketing message that attracts your ideal clients through your unique selling story.