We talk to ourselves a lot in the world of content marketing.
It’s pretty awkward.
We do this any time our content doesn’t have a direct target – when it’s aimless.
And aimless content, whether it’s an email, a billboard, a Tweet or a shout is the content that most likely to be ignored and easiest to forget.
When we create vague content and submit it to that mythological “general audience” of average consumers, we often fall upon deaf ears.
To Whom It May Concern
Have you ever received an email or a cover letter that started with “To Whom it May Concern”? How invested did you feel in reading the rest? If someone hasn’t done the homework to at least know our name or something about us, we often don’t feel we owe them attention.
To us it seems like a shout in the dark. It’s out of the blue, it feels random, and we’re not entirely sure if it applies to us. In other words, it’s the easiest type of message to ignore.
To avoid creating aimless content:
Make Sure You’re Answering a Question
Draw content ideas from frequently asked questions. Content generated from questions people commonly ask you about your subject matter is not only on-target, it’s the same questions they are likely asking search engines or their peers in places like Quora.
The questions people are asking each other and search engines are the questions you should seek to answer in your content.
Create a response that thoroughly answers the question and post it publicly (like on your corporate blog). If nothing else, it’ll serve as a place you can easily direct people who call your reception area with the same questions.
Pick One Individual and Write Directly to Them
When we write, all too often we write as if we’re addressing a room full of people, but people don’t read in groups, they read alone, and they typically learn alone, and they definitely ask questions alone.
When you’re creating content for the web, think in terms of one person who has a specific question and create your content as if only they would see it.
Over time, enough people will have this same question to justify the resources needed to create the answer. Start with the questions that are asked the most (and will have the highest search volumes from your readers and prospective readers) and work your way down.
Create content as if you are responding to one person’s exact situation.
Are you answering their specific question? Or will they turn to a search engine to find someone else?