Picture this. You walk into a coffee shop to meet an old friend. You haven’t seen each other in years, but you’ve always had the best conversations. You value this friend’s opinion and love to hear the wisdom they always seem to share. The advice is always so unique to them, and you appreciate their special brand of being.
You both order something delicious and sit down at the comfy chairs in the back corner of the cafe, you’re eager to get down to the nitty gritty of catching up. You eagerly ask how they’ve been. And in response? “...fine.”
You’re confused, but you attempt to probe deeper, only to be met with similar one word answers and a general glossing over of all the things you had hoped to dig into with this friend. Disappointing, right?
When you half-heart your content, your ideal audience experiences something similar. You have a great website, a brilliant logo, and you seem so knowledgeable, yet personable. Then they start reading through the pages on your website. The copy is choppy, doesn’t flow well, and seems to contradict the special sauce you’re showcasing in other parts of your business. Your blog is no better, and leaves them conflicted on what to do next. They were really thinking about buying from you, but now they aren’t so sure.
This dissonance will lead potentially paying customers away from your site, and hold them back from engaging with your brand. The copy on your website and the content in your blog should match the overall attitude, voice, personality, and authority you’ve established for your business’ brand identity.
MAKE IT A HABIT
So you know you’re not supposed to phone it in, and logically you understand that you can’t half-heart your content anymore than you can half-ass it, but how do you make the switch from throwing it together to intentionally engaging with it?
A lot of people view content as the afterthought of their business. Seeing it as a chore you’ll get to if you have time left at the end of the day is a surefire way to never get your content game off the ground and thus, never fully engage your audience in the authentic, personal way that connects AND converts.
Instead of letting it fall to the last minute, try making it a priority. Start with just one week. Every day for one week, schedule an hour to spend on your content. That means an hour, every day, creating the content. Just one hour, but spend it writing. Turn off your phone’s notifications, close out of your internet tabs, and get personal with the keyboard and your screen.
At first, expect this to feel uncomfortable. The first fifteen minutes, you’ll probably stall. Don’t be deterred by that. Even if you write, delete, and rewrite your opening sentence twenty-five times in that first little chunk of your hour, be ok with that. You’ll find that after you’ve eliminated your distractions and are focusing solely on the page before you, the “flow” of it all will come. You will hit your stride. And once you hit that zone of flow, the rest of the hour will be easier.
RECONNECT WITH YOUR WHY
If you’re in business, you better have one. It’s that sometimes faint heartbeat that keeps pumping even when you want to give up. That little voice that tells you to keep going, to push through the messy lessons because what you’re doing is worthwhile. It’s what motivates you to do something you love instead of spending another day as the cog in someone else’s machine. Your why is compelling, because your why is the difference you want to make. In your own life, sure, but also in the lives of your clients and customers.
When business picks up or you spend all your time laser focused on the little nitpicky details, everything goes on autopilot, including your why. I beg of you, dear business warrior, do not put your why on autopilot. Your why was meant to be actively engaged every day, in every business decision, from the high level strategy to the small but important interactions you have with your tribe.
If you haven’t connected with your why in a while, take the time to go back and read it over again. Contemplate the things that made you stop waiting and start your business. Reflect on the thing that pushed you off the entrepreneurial cliff, and consider if those are the same reasons you’re running your business now. If the heartbeat is still the same, start infusing that into your content. If it’s time to adjust your why a bit, if you’ve discovered that you thought your why was one thing when really it’s another, make some changes and start infusing your new and improved, comfy and snug-fitting why into your content.
Keeping in tune with your why is beneficial for every aspect of your life as a business owner, but it has an especially positive impact on your content and the word-related messages you put out there.
EMBRACE THE EMOTION
When I say don’t half-heart your content, I mean that on a number of levels. Perhaps the most profound is the inclusion of emotion and emotional awareness in your writing. Tug at heartstrings, inspire action, leave a reader filled with conviction or in awe of what they just learned. Let’s return to our coffee shop scenario for a moment. The friend is one of your favorite people because they engage in lively conversation. They tell you stories that make you lean in closer, stories that make you laugh, cry, get angry. And at the end of your conversation? You feel closer. That’s the power of emotion.
As disappointing as it would be for your friend to suddenly tell you monotoned, facts-only stories without an emotional arc - that’s how it would feel to your audience to constantly receive facts and figures with no anecdotes or feeling behind it. Leaving behind your half-hearting ways is all about making a conscious decision toward transparency. Decide it’s time to trust your audience enough to be real with them, consistently, and they will reward you in spades.
Writing driven by heart, emotion, and authenticity will connect and convert 10 times better than the SELL SELL SELL strategy that is still, unfortunately, so often touted. It might take a little longer, but if you’re running a business, you’re playing the long game anyway. Wouldn’t it feel a lot better to look back and know you build a community for your business you’re proud of? I’m voting yes, firestarter.
SCHEDULE THE EDIT
Back to the brass tacks to finish this puppy off. In the same vein as making the writing a priority for a week, I want you to set aside time every day for a week to do the editing, too. It doesn’t have to be another whole hour. Take 30 minutes every evening and come back to the content you wrote earlier in the day. Or take 30 minutes every morning to re-read and refine the content you crafted the evening before.
Nothing you write will be perfect the first time. I’m a professional writer and nothing I write is perfect the first time. The edit is a big freaking deal. It is the time when you ruthlessly cut the parts of your work that don’t support the lesson you’re trying to convey. It’s where you massage the words until they say exactly what you intended. The edit should not be taken lightly.
Have you been half-hearting it? How do you write to cultivate community and conversions?