“Small business owners often make the mistake of thinking about themselves, the offers and their own interests first when they write,” says The Ten Tactics for Highly Effective Writing developer and executive writing coach Linnet Hunter.
“Writing is a conversation which we know is a two-sided thing – so it’s good to also concentrate on what the reader is focused on.”
Instilling some discipline and creating very specific and targeted content based on the needs of your audience will make your content marketing worth all the time, money and effort that you have invested in it.
Once you have established that connection with a person, amplifying the results from your content marketing efforts and converting them into a customer is much easier.
Write for your audience
Increasingly, writing is an SME’s secret marketing weapon. But before you start, it’s important to think about what matters to your reader, rather than what you want to say. Generally content that has specificity, story-telling elements and applicability to your audience will be most effective.
“Content can be about a range of things connected with the business and developing a relationship with the customer. But people love a real-life example and a definite point rather than generalisations and a list of things to do,” says Hunter.
“For example, a winery I worked with were always focusing on the latest product line in their newsletters and talking about special offers from a dollar point of view, but the customers were also fascinated by the process. We wrote articles on what went on in the vineyard during each season and how the grapes were ripening … [increasing] the connection of the readership to that particular winemaker.”
Grab people’s attention
Keeping your content short, pithy and relevant is key, especially as people read content on different devices and browsers of varying sizes.
An eye-catching graphic or catchy title always helps, but it’s more important to develop the tone of your writing to really grab people’s attention.
Set the right tone
Tone communicates to the audience the mood you are in when you write, so be aware of what that you’re translating into your content, even when it comes to daily business communications such as emails or social media updates, advises Hunter.
“We’ve all received emails written from an angry mood! The most useful moods to be in when writing content that will be shared are curiosity, openness and generosity… If you are not a practised writer, work with one for a while until you get the hang of it.”
Don’t assume you know it all or be anxious about asking for help. Read what other writers are doing and learn from their examples. Their writing style or structure can be used as a template to follow until you feel more prepared and confident.
If you pay attention to what’s happening around you and use real-life examples, you’ll be giving your content a personal voice.