You need to hear this. When it comes to speaking about your brand, it’s not us. It’s you. Allow us to explain.
As we discussed before, there are some simple guidelines you should take into account when you’re creating content. (You’ll find all the usual suspects at that link—style, tone, target audience, and more.) But this conversation goes a little deeper.
We want to show you the three best ways to engage your audience. They may not be groundbreaking, but they can certainly come in handy when trying to get your point across.
Three Ways to Engage Your Audience
1. Always Start With ‘You’
You’d be surprised by the number of companies that focus on themselves when interacting with their audience. There’s an abundance of Us. We. Our. This isn’t about WHAT you’re saying. It’s about HOW you’re saying it.
When a company leads with their own attributes first, it automatically signals to the reader that the experience isn’t about them. This typically leads companies to then talk AT their audience rather than TO them. To avoid this pitfall, think about it as having a conversation rather than a lecture, except in this instance, the user replies not with their words, but their actions (i.e. clicking to learn more.)
Here’s what a common example of leading with WE looks like:
Such & Such is a company of creative business technologists comprised of industry experts that use our proprietary thinking process to deliver business value.
There’s a lot wrong with this sentence. First, use of the boring verb ‘is’ as their action word. Second, they define themselves with a term no one’s ever heard of – creative business technologists. Third, they talk only about what they do, but not who they do it for. Finally, they fail to realize no one cares about their proprietary anything 🙃.
There are a couple of fixes for this. Here’s one example:
You need business value. Such & Such delivers by partnering with your company to discover your needs and implementing a plan to meet them—every time.
Congratulations! You’ve just touted your company’s capabilities while staying outwardly focused.
2. Lead With Benefits
This goes hand in hand with focusing on ‘you.’ There’s a huge difference between touting your features and relaying your benefits. As a quick example, imagine a car maker telling readers how big their car’s engine is. Classic feature move. Now, instead, imagine them explaining how quickly their car gets users from point A to B. In the battle of features versus benefits, benefits win, every time.
Leading with benefits is another crucial tactic in ensuring you’re keeping your tone and copy as conversational as possible. When you’re locked in on your user’s benefits, there’s no room for you to let ‘we’ or ‘our’ or ‘us’ creep in and take over. This perfectly segues to our last point.
3. Keep It Short
A famous writer once said brevity is the soul of wit. It’s also the heart of good content marketing. This might be tough for you to hear, but no one wants to read your copy. This is especially true if they see giant blocks of text ahead for them. It’s a visual deterrent and often causes users to abandon ship sooner rather than later.
Often times companies fall into the trap of trying to say everything in their copy. This kitchen sink approach leaves no room for the user to click to ‘learn more’ (or whatever your preferred call-to-action is.) Keep your copy short and tease your benefits (see #2 above). Always leave the reader wanting more.
And there you have it. Three simple guiding principles to help keep your content as user friendly as possible. If you need help, you can always contact us. It’s what we do (for you.)
Kelsey is an experienced member of our digital team and an integral part of strategy for our clients. She is knowledgeable in all aspects of digital, specializes in UX and is responsible for developing and overseeing the strategy of all website projects within the agency.
Kelsey has broad agency experience with B2B and B2C clients. She holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado, Boulder.