What does it mean to write something that matters? Does it matter to write something that matters? There does seem to be an awful lot of bad content out there. Do people really care if it’s actually good or not? Yes! The answer is YES! It does matter and your audience DOES care if you’re spoon feeding them crap. Don’t put crappy content out there unless you want your customers to think you and your business are crappy. Write something that matters so that your clients know that they matter.
I can vividly remember sitting at conferences where “experts” would talk about quantity over quality. In fact, just last year, someone from one of those marketing automation companies said that you needed to have a minimum of 7,000 pieces of content a month if you were even going to make a bleep on the internet radar. So many businesses panic at this notion of needing to be putting content out there for the sake of putting content out there, that they start subscribing to those canned content services (there’s one for every industry). The result is that companies that take this short-cut wind up having the same content as the next guy and the guy after that, and even worse, they completely miss the amazing opportunity to add value to their clients and connect with them in an authentic way through their own brand voice.
Here are five tips that can help you write something that matters:
- Audience, Audience, Audience! Never forget to whom you are writing. Write to your audience, not Google. I also encourage you to go deeper than thinking demographics, “I am writing to C-suite executives.” Instead, think of someone very specific that fits inside your broader audience, “I am writing to my buddy Bill; he is a CIO at a large tech company.” If you are writing something to someone specifically, it will help your writing feel more personalized and targeted to your overall intended audience.
- Listen first and listen well. What does your audience want to know? Sure, you have lots you would like to say about you and your company. I caution against writing about how awesome you and your business are. Instead, ask yourself: What are the questions your audience is asking your customer service representatives? Do they share concerns they have during client meetings? Have you looked into the popular search queries in Google for your industry? Listen to your audience and get inspired to write about what they care about most as it relates to your industry.
- Applicability. How will your audience use it? My local church has a saying, “If you can’t use it on Monday, we won’t say it on Sunday.” This genius absolutely applies to content creation. Be certain that whatever you create, that your readers will be able to take something away from it and apply it to their own situation. Moreover, if your readers find that what you’ve created is useful, they are more inclined to share it with their friends and contacts. (Learn more about creating contagious content from professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Jonah Berger here.)
- Write About Something You Care About. Writing about a topic that personally interests you will allow for unbridled writing. When you are able to share your thoughts and insights on an issue or topic that you know well, your writing has a way of showcasing its best form. You won’t feel constrained in your efforts to write something that matters when you write about what you know.
- Be Authentic. Writing content is your opportunity to share your voice and your perspective with your audience. Let your writing showcase your personality. Your clients are more likely to meet you online first before they ever meet you in person. With so much content out there competing for their attention, the way you write (versus what you are writing about) can help you differentiate yourself and it invites your customers to feel like they know you before they’ve had a chance to meet you. Many people will be writing about the same topics you are, so make sure you remain authentic in your content creation always.
May you always be able to write something that matters to your audience, as well as to yourself. Happy writing!