“Why does it have to sound so stiff and uptight?”
I asked myself this question the other night when writing an article. It was late, I was tired and the day had been absolutely nuts.
Actually, writing that the day “had been absolutely nuts” just gave me anxiety. And this is part of the problem.
You see, I was writing an article in a tone that I knew would work. That tone that says, “I know what I’m talking about. Na, na-na, na, boo boo.”
It is a tone that a lot of copywriters, such as myself, fall into. We get into a mode where we feel like everything we write needs to be pure genius and sound like pure genius…or else. Although knowledge goes a long way, no one truly wants to read content that puts them to sleep way before the call to action.
And no business wants content on their website or blog that does that either. Why? Well, since I cannot possibly answer for the rest of the consumers out there, I will tell you how uptight content makes me feel.
- So, is that a fourth quote from Forbes or are you just happy to see me? I get it. High-quality quotes and knowledgeable cites are great. However, it takes away from what YOU have to offer.
- A lot of people like to skim articles for the good and actionable stuff. If I have to get through paragraphs of uptight business jargon, I may just have to find action somewhere else.
- I gravitate towards content that makes me feel something. Whether it be hope, excitement, love or even anger, I want to feel some emotion. Emotion creates relationships. If I cannot connect with your content, how will I connect with your brand?
All in all, I appreciate knowledgeable content. I appreciate content that is useful and is backed up by example. I appreciate content that is smart, before its time and earth-shattering. However, I don’t appreciate content that tries to do all this while making me feel dumb for even attempting to read it.
Here are a few tips to ensure your content stays helpful and on point, while remaining thoughtful and genuine:
- Write for human beings. We are not robots who skim your article and count how many times you use a certain keyword. We are humans that want to earn something from reading your content. Maybe an emotional response, or maybe an actionable tip we can use.
- Don’t oversell yourself. As a consumer, we know that at the end of the day, you need to make money. However, build a relationship with us first. You can’t see the gold without mining the cave first. Don’t use your content to just sell your product or service. Tell us WHY we need it. Convince us.
- Don’t just rehash your sources. I love sources. All of us want some extra assurance that a fact is real. However, content that just uses source after source takes away from what idea you are trying to share. It takes away the personal aspect of content and gives us the article we probably passed up on Google in the first place. We want MORE.
Give us MORE. Give us emotion. Give us something to share. There is no reason to think you have to sound uptight and oh-so knowledgeable. If we are reading your words, we already believe in you enough to let magic happen. Don’t force it.