When I started Wild Spark Creative, I knew I had to have an awesome resource ready for you business warriors and wildfire starters to help you get unstuck in your word-related mindset. So I created the ebook I offer, 7 Deadly Content Sins that are Killing Your Business (and How to Fix Them). I talk about some of the biggest no-nos small businesses make (and honestly, a lot of large businesses, too) in their content strategies and how to not only avoid them, but actively take steps to fix them in your own writing. It's a great resource, if you haven't checked it out, you definitely should!
The first sin discussed in the ebook is a biggie, so I wanted to share that chapter here, as well, because it's a message I believe everyone who owns a business or hopes to bring in customers/clients needs to hear.
The Cardinal Content Sin: Ignoring Your Audience
You write for you, about you, your products, and the goings on in your business. It’s natural for you to write about and it’s fairly simple, too. Plus, people love to see behind the scenes and know all about what’s going on in your business, right? Honestly? Not really. Not until you’re already an important daily fixture in their life. And you won’t be anyone’s go-to resource if you can’t stop yapping about yourself.
First and foremost, if you’re selling through your content, specifically your blog - STOP. Halt. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. There is a time and place to sell your products and services (*coughsalespagescough*) but the high quality content you provide is not that place.
What does it mean to ignore your audience? If you’re doing any of the following, you’re probably falling victim to this deadly content sin, and seriously hurting your business:
Writing from a product standpoint
Answering questions that have already been answered tens of times before
Consistently posting short, quick updates with little value
Refusing to step into your customer/reader’s shoes
Writing only about your business
Writing about the features, not the benefits
Not creating any content at all
Ignoring input from readers and customers
- Not meeting your ideal customer where they are.
This trips people up most, because it happens when you create content that comes really easily to you. That’s the bad news, but the good news is - it’s also an easy fix if you’re willing to adjust your mindset. And really, that mindset shift will make avoiding or fixing most of the other content sins muuuuuch easier. Cue the sigh of relief.
THE FIX: THINK AUDIENCE FIRST
Then think about them second, third, and fourth. Think about them at every point in the content creation process.
Focusing on your audience does require some groundwork first, namely: determining who exactly your audience is. Don’t cast a wide net with this definition, it will only confuse your messaging and make it harder to produce content that truly resonates. Hone in, hammer down, and think about all the nitty gritty things that makes your ideal customers who they are, what their heart’s desires are. Write down their emotional triggers and hang them up everywhere you brainstorm and create content.
Create an ideal audience heartscape - draw a giant heart on a huge piece of paper, and write down all the emotional triggers that pull your ideal audience member toward a brand. Write down their three main problems, and HOW they want them solved. Then gear your next batch of content toward solving those problems.