Super Sleuth Research Shortcuts
So let's dig into these super-sleuth research shortcuts. So like I said, sometimes we enter new clients that we're not familiar with, new industries we're not familiar with. This can make the proposal process very long because now we're essentially starting from scratch in each instance, right? And then that's not what we want. We need some quickie shortcuts that are gonna cut us to the good information. So beyond what the client gives to us when you do a proposal, you need to have some outside information informing you, because the clients are very insular, right? They have certain beliefs and things that they experience, and so we also need to get a more rounded picture of what other people think of your clients. We need to know how not just people but clients and colleagues and also the media, we need to know what their opinions are about this client, and also just their industry in general. So, research shortcut number one: Reading published interviews about the client. So one comm...
on thing that I see when people are creating proposals is they'll go to the client's website and they'll read like the about page and things like that, you know. They'll kinda dig into whatever the client says about themselves as opposed to externally seeing what other people are saying about the clients. Specifically, media, because they have so much amazing insight. So you can look at trade journals, so if your clients are in certain industries, there's often specific industry publications, blogs, podcasts, so you can just dig in and see where have they been featured. This is usually really easy to do with a quick Google search and just see where they come up. Read like a handful or soak in. If it's video, watch a handful of things and see what other people are saying about your client. Is it positive, is it negative? Did they do an interview with someone at the organization or your client if it's a solopreneur? What did your client, how'd they come across in the interview? All this stuff is gold 'cause oftentimes in interviews is when they say the good stuff, 'cause it's completely off the cuff and unfiltered whereas if you're just reading their website copy, that's probably written by a third party, it's been completely filtered and edited down, right? And you're not getting a real sense of what the issues are. So this can be very illuminating doing this kind of work so instead of spending all your time in your client's website, you can take a skim, but instead, look at their published interviews. They'll also be super impressed that you did. I will do this before I'll have an introductory meeting and sometimes that makes up part of the small talk, depending. So I'll often find a nugget from an interview they did where they're like, "I'm a big fan of this" or something so when I go in, I go, "I heard your interview on such-and-such podcast "and you said you were a fan of that "and I'm a huge fan" right? And so we're establishing a bond. Only if I'm a real fan of it; I wouldn't lie. But if you have a natural connection there, then use it, right? So this really breeds a lot of gold. All right, okay, this is a fun one. Also, it's like my one trick to screenwriting, so the best way to find out about how people feel about an industry, like completely unfiltered, is go on Reddit. So Reddit is like the creepy underground world of everything. It's completely anonymous and people speak about it all and they do not hold back. I love seeing if there is a sub Reddit, they call them sub Reddits, which is just like an industry-specific message board or whatever for this bigger message board community called Reddit. You can see if there is something on your industry and just kind of float through and check out the conversations. You can get some serious gold there. I use Reddit for all of my screenplays because I need to write about characters that I personally don't like, right? They're doing horrible things, like I write drama, like dark drama and thrillers, so like a lot of my characters do terrible things or have terrible beliefs but I can't judge them as a writer 'cause then they'll be really flat characters because the whole time I'm writing, I'm like, "This is horrible, you're horrible" right? Instead I have to psychologically know where they're coming from and understand like what's rolling through that person's mind that makes them make that decision. Well, Reddit will tell it all because they just will talk about everything and why they believe that and you're just like exposed to some interesting things, so it's really good reading, just for fun, if you want something really exciting to read or horrible to read, but it's also great for coming up with just alternate viewpoints on an industry, particularly if you're new to this industry. So I used to have clients like in all different industries and that made it difficult and challenging because I didn't understand their specific struggles. Only what they told me, but I didn't have like a deeper understanding of it, right? Because it wasn't an industry I worked in. So I just go on here and type in whatever that industry was and everybody's on there complaining. And it's all just like unfiltered and I'm like, "This is great". So then when I am doing my proposal or if I do it prior to the meeting and they say something, I can say, "I know, I hear that a lot" right? And that's because I just read like 40 threads on something and I might add something to that. I might say, "You know, I also someone else "saying this was a problem in your industry" and they'll like "Yes!" And so again, it just gives you that like unfiltered perspective that you can weave into your proposal and/or your meetings if you do this before. All right. Then this is also interesting, so binging on what they love to read, watch, and listen to. So I love just being -- understanding where my client likes to spend their time and engage in information. It makes your job easier, particularly if your job is to be some kind of business consultant or social media consultant or whatever. If you're giving these B2B services, you want to have an understanding of what does your client find interesting. This will also help you when you're creating proposals, because you can do things in a certain theme or tone, right, that will reflect that. So like if they're like a huge fan of America's Next Top Model, right, you're probably not gonna wanna write your proposal that sounds like NPR, right? It's not gonna float, it's not gonna be as exciting. But maybe they are, like, they really do like more fact-driven news, right? So maybe they would appreciate in a proposal something that's laid out more in that fashion with lots of different statistics. You can still make it exciting, but it just is more research-backed if that's important to them. So I like to just understand that. You really only get that information by asking them, so like in the initial meeting I might say, you know, "Hey, what do you, what types of media do you enjoy?" Just so I have the knowledge of it and then we can use it in that purpose and a lot of times it does come back later on down the line, like if they are people that are trying to reach clients and struggling with reaching clients then it's important to know this because oftentimes they would only be using like, "Well, I like to read this" but their clients don't like to read that, so it's like a really good insight to have so you understand where their interests lie. All right. And then I love this one. This is my favorite thing to do. Actually I don't buy anything without reading three-star reviews, by the way, so like anything at all or like visit an establishment or anything, but perfect for our material today. So the way to use this for proposals is that again, like I said, we need to get unfiltered opinions about our clients, the industry, etc. So again, if you're just using their website, that's only their perspective, maybe a copywriter's perspective. If you're only using their case studies and testimonials, then again, they're filtered through a lens, right? We don't even know if they've written them for a client, like sometimes people will just take feedback from their client and rewrite it and there's nothing with that, but it gives you, when you're trying to do proposals, it makes it a little hard because they're probably rewriting it in a way, again, that's not exactly emotionally engaging. So I like to check out reviews, external reviews about a company, and this could roll on like the client side, but it could also roll on like the job side, depending on what your position is. So like if you are helping people with leadership, right, you might need to know like why are employees leaving the company or the turnover rate is high and you would use one of those sites where like employees anonymously write about, you know, what is it, like Glassdoor or something where they write about, you know, what their experience was, so I would go on there, but I would be very careful as to what reviews I read because if you read the five stars, that's sometimes helpful, but I've definitely had that not be helpful in the past. Typically when it comes to like people that are authors, so if you're looking at books that are five-star reviews, lots of people get kickbacks to get those five-star reviews or they're not, they're paid for, they're not like real reviews, so sometimes if you're just soaking those in, you're like, and we probably all experience this, where we've gone to a restaurant that had like all these great reviews and then you're like, "This was terrible". Or like you bought a book and you're like "I hated this book", like, am I, what's wrong with me? But really it boils down to that. But the three-star reviews are just in the middle. The one-star reviews are oftentimes like non-ideal clients, so like they're just spewing all kinds of stuff, but ultimately that probably wasn't who the business was trying to target in the first place and so for them to like be a one-star, unless, occasionally it might be the business's fault, but usually it's just somebody like poppin' off, like something crazy and ultimately it was like, like my friend has a brunch place in Portland and somebody was, it's like a really high-end, he used to work for -- he used to be the pastry chef for French Laundry and so it's like very high-end brunch. And then somebody came and they were like, "No, it was too expensive and they didn't have "like silver dollar pancakes" and so he was like, "Well --" He did everything possible to communicate that this is like a high-end experience, but ultimately the person still stumbled through the door and like, but he's not trying to get that person, right? So that's why the one-stars are like, that's not gonna be helpful for you as a proposal writer, right, or you helping your client because then it's just pulling in all the wrong people. So the three-stars are like beautifully in the middle. They're usually very fair. It'll be like, "This is what was good about this place. "And here's what was not so good" and it gives you this like kind of, feels unbiased in a way, right? Where it's like really putting out like "I could be a good customer of yours "but like here's where it fell short" and so that's why I love those and you can use it personally too (laughs) for everything, you'll be checkin' out all the three-star reviews. You can just filter them.