Does writing for your business spook you out?
Do you go to write an email and your brain is bleaker than an unkept grave?
Do you scream out on social, but no one is listening?
Like, we’re not Mystic Bloody Meg are we.
We’re business owners, friends, sisters, psychologists, marketers, stylists, role models, sounding boards, chauffeurs, counsellors, accountants, activists, personal assistants, advisors, planners, chefs, baristas, huggers, lovers, witches, Instagrammers, daughters, granddaughters, gym buddies, mams, cat mams, dog mams, reptile mams, guinea pig mams, plant mams, partners, clients, employers, employees…
We’re everything in one.
But we aren’t psychic. Are we?
How the devil do we know which messages will grab our reader’s attention?
How do we know our captions are interesting? How do we know they flow?
And how do we craft each word to get the response we want?
"What do I write about that’ll be interesting to my reader?"
Write the word TITS! as your email subject line and your readers will open it.
I should have ended this article there.
Laughed, manically, as 11 years of content writing slosh down the drain.
Don’t write TITS! as your email subject line.
Some of your clients may want to read about TITS! but, well, that’s their business.
Once they open the email, most will be very aware that you’re using seedy tactics to get their attention.
You gotta be genuine.
To get (and keep) your reader’s attention, you’ve got to tell them about their favourite subject: them.
There are two questions you need to ask yourself before you write:
What problem are they facing at the moment?
What solution can I provide them with the product or service I’m selling?
If you can’t answer those two questions, there’s no point going any further.
Then, use the answers to these questions to drive a frictionless conversation with your reader.
Every time you sit down to write, have a purpose for your words.
Instead of asking “What will be interesting to my reader?”,
focus on these four content themes:
Let’s look at each theme in detail:
1. Will what I’m writing inform them?
This is your genuinely useful how-to-do content, the posts that answer the problems your reader is facing with the solution you’re offering. Have a look on AnswerThePublic, type in the keywords relating to your business, then hit send. It’ll show you the common questions asked around your area of expertise. Turn everyone of them into a how-to guide or cool product demo or instruction video.
This kind of content has a long life – if you can turn it into a teachable on Instagram, it’s more likely to be saved too. And Instagram rewards highly-saved posts!
Inform content in the wild:
My ever-inspiring friend and biz partner Maddi is wonderfully generous with her inform content for her personal coaching brand BossYourSalon. This post gives her readers seven simple, actionable tips to get more sales – showing she’s well-practiced, well-researched and well, just bloody lovely, really!
‘Make it easy’ might as well be my Boss Motto! It’s your job to remove as many obstacles as possible, when it comes to your Rockstar Clients being able to book in with you. Here are just 7 things you can do to make that journey just a lil easier for them, and you! My next 30 day course will start on the 1st of May. Check out my bio for all of the info, if you wanna level up your online marketing, every single day in May 🤘🏼
2. Will what I’m writing inspire them?
Your reader won’t notice anything they don’t feel personally connected to or inspired by. So, make sure you know exactly what it is that motivates them. And to do that, you need to consume what your client consumes and tap into their personal interests (more info on this here).
And yes, it really can be as obvious as an inspirational quote. Not just any quote, though. It has to be similar to the kind of sentiment your reader is drawn to / would share themselves. My audience are creatives – like me – and I also know that Frida Kahlo is the goddess of creativity. She inspires me daily. And I know she’ll inspire my readers. Do your research, don’t just share posts for sharing posts sake – that’s lazy!
We’re curious creatures, always on quest for fresh, motivating thoughts. Dig beyond the obvious and into the basic categories of human motivation – think everyday accomplishments, relationships, self-awareness, self-acceptance, creativity, spiritual faith, their sense of making a difference in the world.
Inspire content in the wild:
Another effective way of inspiring your reader is to show real people engaging in activities that involve you or your brand. For example, if you sell homeware pieces, like my talented friend Grace at Innocent Bones, sharing happy customers and the unique way they style products is a brilliant way of inspiring potential customers. It gives more depth to the product, going beyond the flat-lay shot and showing your clients exactly how they can use your products.
3. Will what I’m writing involve them?
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” ~ Seth Godin
You hear a lot of talk of tribes in content marketing. It’s part of being human – belonging to a community. And the more real, positive and empowering your copy is, the more it tends to bring people together.
So, try to create content that establishes connection instead of trying to grab attention. Will it spark a conversation? Does it encourage people to share their own stories, effectively bringing people together?
If you can provide a space for others to connect, with people who share their interests and behaviours, you’ll become an important community that potential clients will want to return to.
Involve content in the wild
I’m part of an online brand-building community for female founders called Maven Collective.
All of our content has one aim – to make entrepreneurs feel less alone and help them meet and hang out with other entrepreneurs like them.
We do have a lot of inform/inspire content, but our copy is always inclusive – involving our readers and showing them that they belong is always the main goal.
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4. Will what I’m writing entertain them?
What memes does your reader love? This might sound silly, but the memes your dream client shares are goldmines into their psychology.
Think about it – if you show a mate a meme and they laugh as hard as you do, you feel like they’re ‘your’ person. If you show someone a meme and they don’t get it, you’re like omg bye.
Okay, so maybe you don’t cut friends out of your life because they don’t like the same memes as you, but you know what I mean.
In tips 22 and 23 in my mammoth blog post 101 ways to write well, I discuss the importance of entertaining your reader.
British journalist A. A. Gill wrote in his memoir Pour Me A Life: “If someone laughs, they feel understandably that they’ve actually contributed to the joke – indeed it wouldn’t have been a joke without the laughter.”
Entertain content in the wild
Interior Vampire is one of my favourite accounts on the internet. Not only because I can completely relate to her replacing a booze habit with a decorating addiction, but because she shares videos like this one, which includes paint colour names like Blushing Bollocks, Elephant Schlong, Whispering Perv and Monk’s Jizz. All while showing off her astonishing interiors? Genius.
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We can do good marketing without compromising sales.
Have you seen the Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’ yet?
OMG. It kinda tells us what we already know deep-down: how Facebook harvests our attention for money. How so much of our online environment is engineered to distract us and keep us addicted to logging in.
Not gonna lie, it’s a terrifying wake-up call. I was ready to delete ALL OF THE APPS, until I realised I needed them for my Facebook group and business pages and my new addiction to buying furniture on Marketplace.
So remember, every time we’re writing a post, caption, blog, email… we’re competing with these manipulation machines.
But don’t despair! And certainly don’t copy the doom merchants. Get clued up on fear-based marketing – which involves raising stress levels and making people feel incomplete without your product or service. Then avoid it.
Make sure your curious copy answers at least one of the four content pillars and you’ll become even more empowering, magnetic and genuinely meaningful than the guys greasing the wheels at Facebook.
Martin Weigel says in his brilliant blog post The Fracking of Attention:
“The easy industry rhetoric of interruption, disruption, attention, and engagement disguises the truth that building brands involves a deeply intimate, and personal process.”
So, get personal.
Inspire enthusiasm – even passion.
Bring people together.
Share your knowledge.
Pass it on.
Make your reader feel.
Make them smile.
Be honest with them.
And if you do at least one of these, you’ll interest them.