So I was thinking about David the other day.
You know, the little shepherd boy 🐑 with the sling and the stones.
I was hanging out in the kid’s choir room 🎶 on Sunday with a dozen or so hooligans ages 3 to 10. All the songs had been sung, and the natives were getting restless.
So I did what I always do when we have a bit of extra time before their next thing starts.
I told them a story. 📘
Now, we’d already done Jonah 🐋 (in 3-part mini-series style) and Noah 🦒🦓🦏 (nothing like a floating zoo to spark the imagination). It was time for a story on land … and my mind immediately went to a broad open valley in the middle of nowhere.
With the ☀️ sun beating down and the vultures circling overhead (drama, I know), two armies faced off.
And day after day after day, both armies suited up in their heavy, hot armor, gathered at the battle line, and had a stand off. ⚔
There was a good guy (the Israelites) and a bad guy (the Philistines) of course. And I don’t know why they didn’t just go at it and have it out, but they didn’t.
Instead, every morning for 📅 40 days in a row 📅 the same thing happened.
A giant named Goliath strutted out of the Philistine camp in full armor (that itself probably weighed more than you or me), stood in the middle of the valley, and roared a challenge.
“Hey you dogs, let’s settle this! Here’s your one chance. Send out your best warrior. We’ll do this one-to-one. If you win, we’ll be your slaves. If I win, you’ll be ours.”
Dude was over nine feet tall and probably ugly as sin. Bad breath too. 🤢Guess how many Israelite soldiers jumped at THAT attractive offer?
Right. 😱 They all ran and hid. 😱 Every day for 40 days in a row. And now not only were they starting to run out of hope, they were starting to run out of supplies.
And there they sat on their side of the mountain looking across the valley at the other army that wasn’t going away and whose champion seemed to get taller every day.
Enter David. He wasn’t in the army. In fact, he was just a shepherd who took care of his father’s sheep. But he had some older brothers in the army, and his dad was worried. They’d been gone awhile, and Dad knew they were probably starting to get kinda hungry.
So he packed up some grub 🍗🍕 and sent David off to deliver it, Door Dash-style. 🐪🐪
I like to imagine that David was excited about his little road trip. He probably didn’t get out much … besides always being out in the elements protecting the flock. So this was something fun and different. He probably had a great time right up until he popped out onto the hillside where Israel was camped and witness Goliath’s daily shake down.
First impression 💪😲 “Whoa, that dude is jacked! What’s he yelling about?”
Second impression 😡😠 “Hey — who does he think he is to defy God’s people?!”
Third impression 🤷♂️ “Wait. Where are you guys going? You’re not going to just go HIDE, are you?” (Yep, they were.)
Now granted, David had just arrived on the scene. He hadn’t endured 40 days of endless taunting and insults, 40 days of being faced with his biggest (literally) fear.
The soldiers had.
And it had gotten to them.
David was experiencing Goliath for the first time, but after spending lots of time out in the wilderness with nothing but sheep and God for company, he had a different perspective.
How. Dare. He. How dare this big ugly ogre think he can just waltz in here and think he can intimidate God’s people?
So David started going from soldier to soldier, starting with his big brothers.
“Did you hear that? Did you hear what he said? Come out from under your tent! He can’t talk to us like that! What are you going to do about it??”
“David, look at him. He’s huge. There’s not a man in our army that could defeat him. If we send someone out there, he’ll get eaten for lunch, and we’ll be the Philistines slaves forever.”
“So you’re just going to let him talk about us like that? You’re going to let him insult GOD?”
And David realized something. The Israelites feared becoming the Philistines’ slaves … but by doing nothing, ⛓ they ALREADY WERE. ⛓
David was different. He looked around, realized no one else was going to volunteer, and stepped up. “I’ll do it.” 🙋♂️
“Wait — what? David, I’m sorry. I think I have 😵 sun stroke. I thought I just heard you say, ‘I’ll do it.’ “
“Yeah man. I’ll do it. I’ll fight him.” 🙋♂️
Obviously, everybody thought he was nuts. Certifiable. Crazy as a loon. And his brothers were super annoyed.
“Dave, you’ve spent too much time with the sheep. Go back home to Dad. You’re embarrassing us. Seriously.”
He didn’t. Instead, he hiked down to the stream, picked out five smooth stones, loaded up his slingshot (Yes, slingshot.) and ran out to meet Goliath.
And Goliath laughed. 😂😂😂😂😂 “What is this. Kiddie play land time? What, you’re going to throw rocks at me now? Ahahahahahahahaha — -OW!” ❌💀❌
Nothing like a well-placed rock to the noggin to bring a giant down to size. And face down in the dirt, Goliath had met his match in a scraggly teenager with nothing but a little slingshot and a whole lot of faith.
👉So which one are you in this story?👈
Are you Goliath? All talk but no action. Willing to say you’ll take on any challenge, and even dressing the part, but never actually doing anything. Willing to ridicule and harass anyone standing in your way to get what you want.
Are you the Philistines? Really brave when standing behind the big guy. But when the big guy falls, they’re left with nothing to stand on, eating their words as they’re chased all the way back to Philistia.
Are you the Israelites? Terrified of the giant. Only able to see what’s standing right in front of them. Frozen in fear and unwilling to act, even though they had a big God defending them. Slaves already if only in their own minds.
Or are you David? Full of faith. Willing to step out because he knows Whose he is. Acts in spite of what the circumstances are, using what he has to do what he can.
Most of us don’t have a physical giant staring us down for 40 days in a row. Okay, probably NONE of us have a physical giant staring us down for 40 days in a row.
But how many other things have we let immobilize us for much, much longer? Fear. Uncertainty. Unworthiness. Doubt. I know I’m guilty.
Be David today. Act with what you have. Use the skills you’ve been given. Throw some stones at the enemy.
You’ve got this. ❤️️
It was late, and I was still finishing up an email sequence for a client. I should have been nodding off, in danger of falling asleep at the keyboard. Instead, I was giggling quietly to myself as I wrote email subject lines. #easilyamused
I love writing email subject lines. It’s my version of saving the best for last.
Not only is it my favorite part of the whole email-writing process, but I like to think of it as a personal challenge. I spend a lot of time mulling over what will be so irresistible the recipient can’t NOT click.
Average email open rates hang out in the 20–30% range. But the more people who open your emails and take action, the better, right?
So how do I do it? How do I create email subject lines that stop the inbox scroll and get people to click?
I have two favorite strategies I use when writing email subject lines. Hang on, because I’m going to tell you what they are and how you can use them for yourself.
But first, let’s talk about what most people do and why it doesn’t work.
The first thing a recipient sees is the email subject line. If that doesn’t catch their attention right away, the reader will just keep scrolling by.
But if no one opens my emails and reads them, how will they know what I want to tell them.
I get it. It’s a scary thought.
The temptation is to spill exactly what the email contains in the subject line. Give them the facts, just the facts, and nothing but the facts.
Yeah … when it comes to email marketing, I hardly ever use summary statements as email subject lines. In fact, there are only two conditions under which I use the “just the facts” approach in email subject lines.
The Unexpected Truth Bomb
The client I was writing for last night markets to med spas that offer Botox as a treatment. The objective of the emails I was working on is to encourage people to call and book an appointment for a free consultation.
Botox tends to get a bad rap, and a common misconception about Botox is that if you get Botox, you won’t be able to move your forehead and your face will look frozen.
The reality is, that’s not true, and the email I was working on broke down all the reasons why.
But before the audience will ever read those reasons, we needed to get them to click and open the email. Enter the power of the Unexpected Truth Bomb subject line:
Some things should be immovable. Your face isn’t one of them.
Unexpected Truth Bomb for the WIN!
Let’s go there, right? Let’s just let the elephant in the room speak up. This is a common misconception about Botox, and the subject line calls it out. When the reader sees it, it will resonate. It’s going to strike them as funny — and brave.
The Open Loop
My other favorite strategy for getting recipients to open emails subject line is The Open Loop.
What’s an open loop? Well, first let’s talk about what a closed loop is. A closed loop is where you give the whole farm away in the subject line of the email — question raised and answered all in one fell swoop. In the case of my med spa client’s email, a closed loop subject line might look something like this:
Botox done right looks completely natural.
No mystery there, right? Why even click — I just told the recipient the entire point of the email. Why would they read it if they already know what I’m going to tell them?
If you leave the loop open, however, it creates the desire to know more. What if instead, my subject line was this:
Your face should never look like this.
Immediately the reader gets curious. Look like what? What shouldn’t my face look like? Does my face look like that right now? They’re compelled to click to find out the answer to their questions, which you can give them in the body of the email.
Just remember, if there’s one thing people DON’T like, it’s not being able to close the loop. If you DON’T close the loop in the body of the email, they will lose trust in you. Once trust is lost, you’ll have to work twice as hard to restore it.
But Does It Work?
You tell me. Go to your inbox and read subjects lines. Notice which emails you opened and which you didn’t. I’m willing to guess you opened:
And these two strategies don’t just apply to email subject lines. You can try these strategies to hook readers in the first couple lines of Facebook ad copy, blog articles, social media posts, and more.
So remember if you’re struggling to know what subject lines to use for your emails, don’t fall back on the old standard “tell them what the email says” strategy.
Try using an Unexpected Truth Bomb or Open Loop subject line, then drop value like crazy in the body of the email.
Want to learn how to optimize all your copy? Grab my free worksheet on the 8 Must-Ask Questions For Copy That Converts. https://go.christanicholsmessaging.com/lead
“I don’t know how to promote myself. I feel like I’d just be saying the same old stuff everybody else out there says. Pick me! Hire me! Choose me! How can I stand out in the crowd when there are tons of other people who do the same things I do?”
Have you ever heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as “new” information”? Sometimes it seems like everyone is selling the same old stuff in different packaging. It’s easy to start feeling like it’s impossible to stand out.
It might seem like you’re waging a losing battle when it comes to creating original, engaging content that communicates with your audience, but there’s one thing you have that NO ONE else does.
Learning to communicate with your ideal clients and customers in your own unique voice can be the differentiating factor that sets you apart from the masses. The question is, how?
In this article, I’m going to walk you through the 7 steps you can take to identify your unique voice and put it to use in your content.
I’ve created a printable fill-in resource that’s hands-on in helping you dial in on your unique voice fast. Want it? Click here to download the Personality Booster Pack now.
Step 1: Become a Detective of Yourself
This is going to sound super basic, but here goes. You can’t discover your voice if you never listen to it #truthbomb. So the first step to finding your voice is to dig in and start studying yourself, Sherlock.
Don’t just limit yourself to studying only your social content though. You’d be missing some pretty big opportunities to really dial in on what makes your content more “you”. People follow people, so no content is off limits, so make sure you consider personal content as well.
I know it can be cringe-y to have to watch and listen to yourself. I used to HATE the sound of my own voice, but the more I made it part of my process, the less it bothered me. So it’s now your job to go back and review:
Another way to research yourself is to interview the people closest to you. Your family, friends, and team listen to and watch you every day. They have a third-party, objective view of how you really communicate. Ask them things like:
Step 2: Take Notes On Yourself Like It’s Your Job
As you go through your existing content, look for things that make it uniquely “you”. Pay attention to the small details so you can be purposeful and consistent in your communication.
Write down phrases and words you use often in speech. These words and phrases will be obvious in unscripted video and audio content because it just comes automatically.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always automatically translate in your written content. Personally, my brain gets in my own way. I tend to write more formally than I speak, which takes away from the fun, personal feel my unscripted audio and video content has.
One thing that helps me stay consistent with my written content is reading it out loud to myself. I notice right away when my written is creeping more towards English teacher than my own voice. Your written work will be a bit tighter and cleaner than how you speak, and that’s okay. The important part is that it still sounds like you.
Finally, make sure you take note of your tone and the level of energy you bring when you speak. Are you super animated? Do you wave your hands around? Or are you more soft-spoken and reserved? There’s no wrong answer here. The goal is simply to be aware.
Step 3: Lock Down Your Voice Non-Negotiables
Your audience doesn’t want a carbon copy of someone else. Don’t be afraid to be YOU. There are certain things about the way you communicate that might be different from the popular influencers in your industry. Never apologize for what makes you YOU.
You’ve done the research and taken notes on how you communicate. Step 3 is to declare your non-negotiables. What do you want to be known for when it comes to your content? What do you want to make sure you always include when you communicate? Don’t be afraid to be different. If you use a lot of pop culture references, great! Tend to turn everything into a song when you’re talking? Do it! Remember, this is what attracts the RIGHT people to you.
Step 4: Decide On Your Voice No-Gos
You won’t appeal to everyone, and that’s a GOOD thing. Are there certain things you don’t ever want to include in your communication? Great! Don’t force yourself to be someone you’re not. It’s okay to draw a line and refuse to cross it.
Your audience NEEDS you to stand for some things and not for others. If they get consistent messaging from you, they feel safe and solid. If you’re up and down and try to appeal to everyone, they get confused. For example, imagine Russell Brunson dropping the F-bomb on a Facebook Live.
My no-gos include profanity and opening calling out specific people. My momma taught me if I can’t say anything nice, then I shouldn’t say anything at all. It’s just ingrained in who I am, and I’m totally okay with that.
Step 5: Utilize Free Tools
Still stuck? No worries! There are lots of free ways to get insight on your voice. Here are some of my favorites:
Step 6: Know Your Audience Well
I’ll say it until the cows come home - your audience is SO important. They’re the whole reason you’re here, right? You want your unique voice to attract the ideal clients and customers you want to serve. In order to serve them well, you have to know them well.
Your audience is the barometer of your content. Their response helps you gauge how well your offers will do. If your audience doesn’t respond to something, even if you’re SURE it was just what they needed, pay attention. Your audience won’t always want what you think they want, and that’s okay.
Let your audience guide the content you provide. Follow their lead. They may be more or less problem/solution aware than you think. Meeting them with what they need right where they’re at is very effective.
Step 7: Gauge Your Audience’s Response
When you’re getting good engagement, that means your audience is warm. Keep it up! But if all you’re hearing is crickets, it’s time to try something else. This process of testing content can take some time. You won’t automatically get super great engagement at first. If you show up consistently, it will build.
One great way to accelerate this process is just asking your audience what they want. Find out what they WANT to hear about, then give it to them.
Think of your audience like a thermometer that shows the effectiveness of your content. Content that gets a lot of engagement means the audience likes it. You’ll know you’ve hit your voice on the head when your audience comments, response, clicks, and buys.
The ultimate indicator that you’ve discovered and are thriving in your voice, of course, are purchases. Don’t expect your audience to read your mind though - make an offer! Keep listening to your audience and making offers until something works. You’ve got this!
And hey, I have a FREE workbook that walks you through how to use your voice to boost your copy's effectiveness. It's called the Personality Booster Pack. Click HERE to download it for FREE!
Hi, I'm Christa, an Iowa-based messaging expert specializing in targeted messaging, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. I have one handsome hubby who's my partner in crime (not literally) and two great kids who keep us busy (Track and field! Volleyball! Basketball! All the sports!) Using words to help people promote what they love is my favorite!