A new age is upon us. Marketing is customer-centric and businesses are slowly realizing that the customer is the star of the show and makes the rules. Where does that leave the content writer who communicates on behalf of the brand to customers?
Last week, I offered to help a friend create customer personas for his business. I went through his Facebook page and looked at the profiles of people commenting on images of CCTV cameras and the promises of safety and security. Mothers. Business owners. Homeowners. With some more questions, I found out what made these people tick, what kept them up at night, and what made them smile.
Creating a customer persona gave me some insight into what I had been doing wrong. I was writing to an audience, a mindless faceless mob of people instead of one person.
But it is different when I can picture a reader searching for something and I crafting an answer to their needs. Right now, I see a writer trying to figure out how to get better at writing. I understand that and this leads me to create what you need to see and hear and know.
This simple act of acquainting your self with your reader before sitting down to type will change how you write forever. It is not a novel truth. But I write to the writer who is still trying to figure out why it is so hard to put words down on paper.
A lot of my early writing felt empty. I struggled to put down 5oo words but I found it easier to write on my blog. Sharing authentic experiences people could relate to loosened my tongue and guided my hands. My fingers flew over the keyboard, a stark contrast to the sluggish movements that I made whenever I worked on other articles.
But content writers do not always have the luxury of writing about what they have gone through. This is the place where you need to learn empathy. For a client’s audience, you must now understand that their readers are now yours. And they are individuals and not numbers. You are a guide, you have to lead the reader right. Or they will find other people who see them as individuals. Writers who understand their woes and can help them get past and they will go to them.
It gives your work structure. It helps you transition from an introduction to the main body seamlessly and to the end where you wrap up everything.
I have outlined some steps that will make writing to one person easier.
1. Create a persona
Get your client to describe their target audience and then do some research on your own. Use this information to create a fictional individual that your content will speak to.
If you are not tasked with searching for content yourself with given tight restraints and keywords to work with, try and do your own research and find some room to create a conversation.
2. Make it about them
Brands create content to drive sales. This can override the simple reason why any product was created in the first place. Which is to provide solutions to problems.
To solve a need, so you need to make it about the people. No one cares if your client’s fancy new product is the best on the market. They want to know how it can make their lives better. You need to find a balance between making a sale and helping people. This comes from caring about the reader.
3. Get the point across
Neville Medhora says that communication is getting information from one brain to another brain. It is that simple.
But you will struggle with writing if you have not learned how to get a point across. And then there are distractions. You may be thinking of how to make a quick buck or something else you could be doing at that moment.
If you wrote like it was a conversation, you would immerse yourself in the task. It is important to be present in the moment to be able to get your point across.
4. Solve a problem
Misleading a reader into thinking they can find what they are looking for in your article is wrong. Writers that do this are selfish and do not see the reader as a person. So they do not respect their time nor their feelings.
Look. Clickbait is so 2010’s and spammy. You really don’t want to be that guy. Do extensive research and always end the articles on a satisfying note. If you give people what they want, they will keep coming back.
5. Use the right words
Keep things simple by using words that your audience will understand. I am not saying you should dumb it down. Instead, think of the audience and what words they would use.
An article on how to balance work and family for a mum living a big city with small children will probably sound different from one about networking for a professional. Consider your topic and audience. It will guide you to choose the right words.
Content is king. Yes. But the customer might as well be the hand in the shadows that rules the crown. So you need to think of their wants and needs before putting words down.
There is a lot of information out there. And then the pandemic is making more people come online and take up jobs. So what will distinguish you from a guy who picked up his pen last week looking for a quick buck? Your readers will know when you truly care about them. They will also know when you are hurrying through the words and motions unto the next big thing.