You have a big idea to share, a message to send out to the world, or you have an amazing offer. You worry that your message or offer will get drowned by the multitude of conversations happening online -- you want signal.
Signal is also your ability to convert traffic to a Web site -- beyond downloads, subscriptions, and enrollments. How do you use content to create signal?
How do you align what you have with what people want?
(1.) Tell a story -- make it compelling, make it sharable, specific, and have a point. Stop talking to generic people, and start talking with Larry, Sandra, Michael, and Laurie. Get to know them and they will share the story because they identify with it.
Because people often ask me to recommend resources that will help them become more versed with storytelling, here are a couple:
- Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting (Amazon affiliate link*) by Robert McKee. This is not a book just about making characters real in screenwriting. It taught me how to write engaging narrative. If you have additional appetite for learning with Robert McKee, you can check out his seminars.
- Ira Glass (this American Life) talks about the building blocks of story for TV and radio broadcasting -- interesting anecdotes, or a sequence of actions, and raising a question from the beginning. The power of the anecdote builds momentum in the story, the opening question is bait for a later answer. Are you a listener?
- write, write, and write some more. The best way to became good at something is by training for it.
(2.) Offer an analysis -- there's a lot of information out there, so when you act as aggregator and curator of the data, when you make sense of it and provide useful business insights, you become the resource people point to.
Think about the value of:
- developing an industry study that pinpoints how businesses are addressing a trend, for example BeeLine Labs Emerging Best Practices in Social Media, Monitoring, Engagement & Measurement white paper
- creating a forecast that chronicles developments in a specific area, for example the maps and forecasts by the Institute for the Future
- compiling a metrics-driven ranking to share the results of what you're tracking, for example Interbrand's Best Global Brands ranking
(3.) Use the call to action -- it seems simple, however, providing an incentive that is relevant and resonates with the people you're looking to attract to your conversation is no easy task. While we like to buy, we dislike sales pitches and pushy marketing tactics.
So the important move in your content is all the information that leads up to the buy/download button. Are you addressing... ?
- the doubts and fears that hold them back from evaluating what you have
- the benefits of your product or service as seen/experienced from their point of view
- the outcomes and results other people have achieved in an honest and straightforward way
Because you can have your own end in mind -- if readers and customers are not following, it's a fast path to nowhere.
For your writing to hit home, you need to have a plan and execute on it, creatively. Remembering that your message is the most persuasive when it becomes signal.
[*In the spirit of transparency, I wanted to spend a minute to talk about affiliate programs. You will see that I joined the Amazon affiliate program. I purchase a ridiculous amount of books to give as thank yous to people in my network and to read myself. I also recommend a lot of reading material, when I feel it adds value. So in a way, this program could cover a sliver of my book addiction. Plus, as you know, I'm always testing ideas through execution. More on that later.]