How can Betty White and Robert De Niro help you develop better content?

I got this question in my inbox from a subscriber replying to an email I sent out. “How do I develop better (read: effective) content?” I could have answered her question like most businesses do, hit reply and give the answer in a one-time email to one person.

But that’s not what I teach. I teach how to be more effective in your business by leveraging your efforts. The best thing I can do is lead by example. Therefore what you see here is the response to your question Katie.

Betty White and Robert De Niro could show you two different perspectives that can be combined to create an entertaining how-to lesson on developing better content for your business blog.

I saw an interview of Betty White a few years back. You might have seen her as the character Rose on Golden Girls. Since then, she’s been in too many movies and television shows to list.

During the interview, she was asked which medium (movie screen or television screen) was her favorite. She said something like, “I’ve always loved television. You know, when I was in front of the camera, I always used to think, on the other side of that camera is just one person. Most tv is watched by an audience of one. So I’m really performing for that one person sitting on their couch.”

Who are you writing to when you are posting on your blog? How about when you’re writing a whitepaper or report explaining how your business is the fit for the person reading it?

Is it “everyone” or a specific person?  If you are talking to “everyone” no one will listen. Why do form letters turn people off? Because people want to feel special. The more you can tailor your message for one specific person, the more you will get them to respond.

No I don’t mean you’re writing for Bill Wyatt in Pocatello, Idaho. In reality you are writing a message that thousands of people will see, yet it will be read by one person at a time. Adjust your tone accordingly.

We’d like to think that we’re unique, that our problems are unique, and the reality is we’re not and our problems are not. That is why businesses make money – addressing people’s common problems. It’s just that too many business owners think that they have to address every single person with one message. The reality is they need to focus on one person or customer type at a time. Business owners fall into the trap of trying to appeal to everyone that their message is so bland, vague, and full of generalities that it doesn’t appeal to anyone.

If one customer has a question, is it possible that another would have the same question? Kind of like here… I’d hazard a guess that you’re not the only person who had this question. You may have been the first with enough desire to seek the answer and have a source to turn to. But I can guarantee that you’re not the first to have that question and certainly won’t be the last.

 

This post is a clear example of how the concept works. You’ll recognize that certain customer types or customers for certain products have similar questions. Tailor your report about a specific product/service you offer and tie it into the customer who buys it. Yes, you will have a bunch of reports but they will convert better when you are giving that “personal” attention to the reader by addressing their specific needs and issues.

That’s why to write for one person, but what about how?

You need to write in a manner that above all else informs the reader. The next target is entertaining. If you have dry, Joe Friday “Just the facts ma’am” content, you’ll bore them and they move on. If your message is entertaining, you’ll engage the reader. A reader who is interested and engaged not only finishes your message, but remembers it!

Don’t read the next section heading or section before you read this one

You couldn’t stop yourself, could you? Just know that when you use headings like that people will likely read your content out of order. Provocative headlines make the reader think “I’ve got to see what this is.” It’s like a train wreck. You know you shouldn’t look but your eyes are drawn in like magnets.

Don’t be afraid to use section headlines that provoke. The section headline’s job is to get the attention of the reader and make sure you still have their interest. A few words of caution: Don’t use this type of headline as the title. You want the title to be descriptive of what the reader will get. You’ll get “traffic” reading your content. You want people who are interested. Also, make sure that you clearly tie the section headline to the content. No non-sequiturs and no humor that is unique to you and you always have to explain. The last thing you want your reader to be thinking is “What the heck did that have to do with this?” You won’t be there to explain it.

 

Who the f**** do you think you're talking to?

Robert De Niro did a short scene in Taxi Driver that sums up how the reader looks at what you’re writing.

“You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the f**** do you think you're talking to?”

Know your market, audience, and down to the customer. Who is your ideal customer? Do you remember when I asked you that question in your Profit Maximization session? That’s who you’re writing for. People have no time for what doesn’t relate to them specifically. If you’re not talking specifically to that person (your market) and their needs, you will turn them off in a big way.

How do you keep from offending the person you’re talking to? Know your customer and their sensibilities. A tattoo artist would talk differently to his clientele than an investment broker would his. Being a business owner, you have a good handle on how to deal with your customers. A simple default is to focus on their big question “What’s in it for me?” and you’ll have a hard time offending them.

So in keeping with WiiFM, writing for your ideal customer will in turn ensure that you attract more ideal customers to your business. More traffic isn’t the goal. Just getting more customers isn’t necessarily the goal either. The ultimate goal is getting more ideal customers.

If you’re struggling with developing quality content for your business blog or just marketing your business online in general, subscribing to my email updates is a good start for the Do It Yourself (DIY) marketer. If you’d like to have it done for you, use the contact page to get in touch with us so we can discuss your specific needs.

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