Sometimes when someone makes a point to say your name, it feels thoughtful and other times it feels agenda-driven. When a cars salesperson keeps repeating your name with an over familiarity before they’ve built up rapport, it can feel forced. But when someone you’re on a date repeats your name, it can make you feel like they’re especially into you. Likewise, repeated keywords in content dance this same line between too much and just right. If they’re mentioned too often, it can feel forced and if mentioned often enough, something in your mind clicks and the content’s point feels memorable.
Does context matter? You want to trust a date more than you want to trust a cars salesperson. Perhaps, but a date can use the same tactics as a car salesperson and be successful also because they’ve hit the sweet spot of “just right” instead of “too much.” When you’re writing content, how do you know when you’ve gone too far with name dropping brands or keywords or gone on salesy spiels? It’s not like in conversations, where you can tune into a live listener. Answer: read it out loud! It forces you to confront your repetition and long-winded sections without breezing past them like you do when you read your piece to yourself.
Voices In Your Head
The dance between too much and just right plays out in someone’s reading experience, daily conversations, and date conversations constantly. If you learn how to step outside yourself and monitor yourself in verbal interactions, then you’re more likely to be able to step outside yourself to assess yourself in your writing too. When you’re reading content out loud, there’s the voice of you reading and then there’s the inner voice critiquing what it hears. It’s easier to hear the voices as separate because one’s in your head and one’s speaking. Typically, when we read content to ourselves, it’s two voices in our head that are head to distinguish. Plus, our mind tends to read past mistakes and miss missing words and misspellings that it can better catch when it’s reading out loud, slowly.
Murder Mystery Movie on Netflix: Clairitin
A recent example that employed a “keyword” well and made a product memorable without feeling forced was what the movie Murder Mystery on Netflix did for Clairitin allergy medication. This product was name dropped on a consistent basis and even played into a clue. It snuck into the plot, the character’s relationship, and as a joke all without feeling like Claritin paid Netflix to mention them, when they must have, right?
In this campy Clue-esque murder mystery comedy, Jennifer Anniston is always mad at Adam Sandler for missing romantic details in general, so when he grabs Allegra instead of Claritin, to her it’s just one more thing that he gets wrong about her and what she wants. It’s more one sign he doesn’t know her or get the details right in their 15-year relationship.
But then, Jennifer Anniston finds Claritin in the back of a vehicle later and that leads her to know that someone with allergies was there and Claritin snuck into a plot point and clue. Finally, as the movie continues to name drop Claritin as an ongoing rift and joke between Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler, it’s showing how what was a gripe and source of contention is now a source of laughter amongst them and mirrors their reconciliation in the movie.
Claritin hit the sweet spot between “just right” and “too much” and even though I do not have allergies, I remember “Claritin over Allegra” because it was drummed in the organic course of events in this movie. Watching this movie deftly manage product placement is a great lesson in keyword utilization and content strategy because it shows how teach someone about a product’s benefits while making it seem like a character quirk or plot point or relationship dynamic.
That Sweet Spot
Just like potato chip companies test chips to be just the right balance of sweet with salty in order to make you compulsively reach for another, good conversation and infectious content rely on the same sweet spot. Reading your content aloud can help you hit the sweet spot, watching your listener’s face can help you hit the sweet spot in conversation, and finally, seeing name/brand repetition done well, as in the movie Murder Mystery can help you see how much you can get away with if you’re attuned to yourself and your audience.
What successful examples of not too much, but just enough have you seen a brand do that made their product memorable in your mind?
Samantha S writes direct, dynamic, digestible copy for any purpose and any medium. To inform, persuade, or entertain. Her writing catches and holds people’s attention because it’s accessible and easily absorbed. As both a detail-oriented and big picture thinker, she’s precise with technical aspects and insightful with overarching themes. She can shift from sparkling and conversational to no-nonsense and informative.