Treating content as a product requires new thinking inside organizations. Indeed, it's much easier to simply add article writing and publishing to overflowing plates. Without redesigning the flow and enrolling new resources this is a recipe for failure — and burnout.
While we have an intellectual understanding that change is a must — as individuals and organizations — change is really hard to do. Because habits are hard to break, and they go something like this: we think, then talk, then do within certain patterns.
And especially when success comes, continued success is a product of or the result of repeating those behaviors over and over again. Until we become very good at what worked.
Rewiring yourself for content
It's possible to move into a new direction, or to find direction once again. One little secret people don't talk about as much is that good content is personal. It requires you embrace who you are, that's what your customers are buying. That's what they respond to.
If your corporate DNA is for and by engineers, write for and by engineers. Take a look at what Indium Corp. is doing, for example.
Do you have a group in charge of thinking about and making change happen in your product mix and services based upon customer insights? Are you paying attention to the marketplace? Are you connecting with opportunity? Put content in there, too.
Planning, and a long term vision need to be part of the consideration. Original, engaging content is valuable just in the same way great copy that sells is — you benefit from it in proportion to your investment in it.
Change the way you write
The question is not whether change will happen or not — it will, it is happening. Every industry and business is being disrupted — in products and services alike. The people you thought of as your customers are just buyers now — going from one transaction to the other.
You know what that means, right? High attrition rates.
People respond to people, not features, not lifeless content.
The real question is are you willing to change how you write? Do you want to ? Om Malik has an excellent piece about corporate DNA. It's excellent on many levels:
- it's rich in information you can use
- it's conversational in tone
- thus it's very personal
- therefore engaging
- because you relate to it, even if you haven't met Malik
- yet, it makes you want to meet him or get to know him better
- in fact, you probably want to be a better person when you're done reading it
The three main elements can be distilled down to: person to person, which frames and gains permission to talk about business to business, and a call to action at the end. Wouldn't you want to elicit the same kind of visceral response when customers read your content as you get from his post?
Relate to them in human terms
In many organizations, content is still an afterthought — campaigns rule, connecting the dots is still an aspiration. Going from marketing at to publishing and interacting with is a stretch. Writing in ways that make you more relatable to is one way to build muscle agility toward it.
Malik follows a fairly simple structure in his post. See the narrative in his post by viewing the slides up top.
You all have stories that are personal, that create intimacy, that people can relate to, and that you can relate to those of other business people. What are you waiting for to share those stories? Passion for your idea should drive you to invest in its communication.
Save yourselves, write like you mean it. What content behaviors are you going to change?