Three Sure Ways to Create Signal with Content

Signal_Strength_Bar 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:

  • write, write, and write some more. The best way to became good at something is by training for it.

Story will win over the update stream. Read that again. Story will win because it's baked in our human DNA.

(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: 

  • creating a forecast that chronicles developments in a specific area, for example the maps and forecasts by the Institute for the Future

You become the curator of the information, and by sharing it, you increase the likelihood it will be augmented with reality.

(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.]

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0 responses to “Three Sure Ways to Create Signal with Content”

  1. I love that Ira Glass piece and have used it many times to prepare people I train on storytelling. Most of the work is done in finding the story. He has such a good feel for stories now and I love his honesty about how bad he was when he first started doing radio stories. Thanks for sharing this advice.

  2. Story is a superb book, and essential reading for any serious writer, regardless of the type of writing that you are doing. I second your recommendation!

  3. Interesting post. I feel like the small fish in a big pond and have no signal at all. However, I have not really pinpointed a niche, genre or idea, thus no signal. I am now seriously hammering those issues out. Thanks for the recommendations.

  4. @Tom – mistakes are the surest paths to learning. My goal is to make new ones, not to repeat the same ones. Studying those who do it well helps with framing. Practicing helps with getting a feel for using stories.
    @Tim – I deduct you’re a fan 😉
    @Debra – you do know what you need to do next, and that’s really important. These are such early days with social and conversations that once you find your direction, you can really do a lot with it. Looking forward to your progress.

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