A few times each year, I spend a weekend in my favorite part of my home state — Monterey, Virginia. The town’s population goes up and down, but it usually holds steady around 150. Monterey is the seat of Highland County — which, if you’re curious, is one of the best places on the entire East Coast for stargazing due to the lack of light pollution.
They don’t even have a traffic light.
Not only is Highland the least populous county in Virginia, it’s also one of the least populous counties east of the Mississippi River — and sheep actually outnumber humans by a wide margin.
Folks in Monterey have either been there for generations or they’re so-called “come-heres” — drawn to the beautiful mountain landscape, the unique microclimate and the friendly people.
Over the years, I’ve done most of my best writing in this little town — and I’ve often wondered why the inspiration seems to come so easily there. After my latest visit, I think the answer to writing effective copy is simple.
Clean air goes a long way, but in the end, it’s impossible to escape the honesty of the people there. Simply put, they know when you’re BS’ing. Everything is a hard sell, as it should be. They expect you to earn their trust, not take it for granted.
When it comes to writing effective copy, I think trust matters now more than ever. Imagine someone coming to your remote town and making no effort to understand your challenges or empathize with your situation. Today’s consumers are rightly wary of bold promises and big promotions for the same reason.
When I go to Monterey, I think about how important it is to inject that extra bit of honesty into everything I write. We’re not just telling a story, we’re having a conversation with people — we’re talking, we’re listening and, hopefully, we’re understanding.
The more we can meet that standard, the better.
P.S. Trust extends to other aspects of your marketing, too, including helping build brand loyal customers.