ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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One word might be costing you thousands of dollars. What is it?

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

“What do you own?” he asked her.

“I own lots of things,” she replied, before going on to stumble through a list: Her car, her favorite Gucci purse, a timeshare in Mexico, her 300,000 count Egyptian cotton bedsheets.

“No you don't,” he said calmly.

“Yes I–” she started.

“You don't own any of those things, because someday, all those things will be gone,” he said.

She squirmed in her seat.

“The only thing you own,” he said, “is the one thing that you will have forever, no matter what happens.”

“Debt?” she laughed.

Your name.”

A friend of mine told me this story the other day when we were sitting in this pool. Obviously I was sipping a cocktail and obviously I oooed and ahhhhed over the main point of the story, because as it turns out, this conversation took place in a sales setting (MY FAVORITE SETTING NEXT TO CHARMING LITTLE PENTAGON-SHAPED POOLS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JUNGLE). The man was her boss, and the woman was an account executive whose job it was to get people to agree to have a meeting. Since this is precisely what I used to do in advertising sales, I felt like we had a bond going there, you know?

Anyway, while we're all sitting around (that's you and me, because you're here too, now) selfishly reflecting on our own names, going, “Oh yeah, so true, my name is so important,” that's not what this guy was talking about.

He was talking about the customer's name.

Because when you're selling yourself, it's easy to think that your name is what matters to the customer. You tell prospects all the things that YOU'VE done and all the things that YOU think and all the things that YOU suggest and all the reasons why YOU are the best.

But guess what? Nobody gives a shit about you.

What they care about is themselves–because we're human, and that's what humans do. And therefore, the most important thing to them is THEIR OWN NAME.

How is your product, your service, your widget…going to help them make their name? 

Whatever story you tell, it should never be yours–it should be theirs.

It's why Nike puts out this ad:

 

Nike
 

…and not this one:

 

Nike2
 

(Which by the way, can we talk about how my Photoshop skills have improved over the years? Might not be the world's greatest, and those fonts certainly don't match, but considering I can barely make myself a grilled cheese I'm feeling awfully smug.)

What's the big difference here?

Not the sex appeal of the ad, but it's about something so simple, most people overlook it:

The first ad contains the word: YOUR. (Twice.)
The second? Contains the words: OUR, US and WE.

Sometimes, it's the smallest tweaks that can have the biggest impact.

Your homework: Look at whatever you're selling. Print out your sales page, your description, your whatever you've got. Go through the print out with a big red pen, and circle every place that you use the words our, my, mine, us, we, me, I.

Now, what can you do to turn those statements around from being all you…to all about the customer?

Need some inspiration?

Take a peek at this About Page. Or Spotify's. About Pages are always sales pages in disguise. You might think a company's About Page would be the one place they should talk about themselves, right? Wrong. At least, not in the beginning. The challenge is to talk about yourself within the context of the customer. (Don't look for ours right now–we don't have one at the moment. Long story.)

At the end of the day, a customer really only cares about how a product or service is going to help them.

Because when they buy something from you, turns out it's not your name on the line…

…it's theirs.

Dec 14

2012

Take Your Lazy Sentences And Piss Off. Politely.

Dec 14, 2012

Lazy sentences BOTHER ME. They bother me because it’s not really the sentence being lazy–it’s the person who wrote it. And if that person happens to be a business owner who’s trying to convince me to spend my hard-earned, sweat-soaked, time-drenched money with them? They better demonstrate that they actually WANT MY BUSINESS. Want it […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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Aug 4

2012

How to Make The World Give a Shit About You

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::  When I first started having sex, I worried I wouldn’t be sexy enough–and that I’d be a sore disappointment. ::  When I worked in advertising sales, the first time I ever had to do a nation-wide cold-calling contest…I was so wracked with nerves, I sat at my desk shaking, sipping vodka from a thermos. […]

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Nov 16

2018

The Three-Word Trick for Giving Your Content an Insta-Boner (Ooohhh, She Said The B Word!)

Nov 16, 2018

By “insta-boner,” of course I mean something much more polite, like “oomph.” But who uses the word “oomph” these days? It’s completely out of the question. So, I thought I’d go with boner. There we have it, I’ve officially topped myself in the vulgar department. But, hey, this is how you write for the Internet: you […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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Jul 20

2015

The Real Trick to Brilliant Writing

Jul 20, 2015

You know what makes for brilliant writing? Not what you say, but the way you say it. The execution. The way you jockey your message onto a page. There are 354 different ways to tell any story. (Exact figure, give or take a few thousand or so.) You can start at the beginning, or you […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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Jan 30

2014

Why Screaming Won’t Get You Heard.

Jan 30, 2014

You know when you’re in a group of people… …and you start telling a story, and that one jerkoff starts talking over you, hollering at the waitress mid-sentence, or answering the phone, or by turning to say something to somebody else, and then all of the sudden you don’t really know if you’re suppose to […]

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

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I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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