There’s nothing better than returning home from a long day of feats of content finesse, putting my feet up in my favorite lounge chair, and sipping on an appletini while I shamelessly marathon all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. You can imagine my dismay when, appletini at ready, I pulled up Netflix only to find that TNG had been removed from its databases. I was so upset that I instantly subscribed to Hulu, vowing never again to be lured into Netflix’s snares of treachery and deceit-- But, I digress. As I’ve been rewatching one of my favorite shows, I’ve grown rather fond of the Enterprise’s on-board counselor, Deanna Troi. Not only is she a very wise mentor, but her job also has a great deal to do with things that are intangible. As a half-Betazoid, Counselor Troi has innate empathic abilities that allow her to determine when people are lying, to understand people’s deep-seated emotional needs, and even to read the thoughts of some humans. Without Troi, tensions on the Starship Enterprise would always run high, leaving chaos throughout space.
The more I think about it, having empathic abilities like those Deanna Troi possesses would be of great assistance to any content marketer. As a writer, I often deal in the intangible--but unlike Troi, I don’t have the ability to sense the outcome or determine the reception for my latest blog. What’s more, without those abilities, content writing can be a scary thing.
All too often, I see writers and content marketers transforming their writing into something almost too concrete. Of course, no one is going to argue that it’s not important to utilize Google Planner for keyword research or to look back at your previous posts in Analytics to determine a good upcoming topic, but that’s not all there is to content marketing. All writers should ask themselves the following before they click “publish:”
- Will my audience learn something new from my post?
- Do I feel completely comfortable clicking “publish,” or am I breaching into new, uncharted territories?
- Would I show my content to my coworkers with pride?
- Would I email my content to my parents and friends with that same sense of pride?
- Can my audience act on this content?
None of these questions have applicable metrics to back them up--they’re solely based on feeling and perception--and writing content with them in mind can be a little bit out of your comfort zone. Still, they’re crucial to ensuring your content is helpful and reader-friendly. Watch a couple episodes of TNG and hone your empathic skills. Think as your audience to understand what your audience might want and need through your writing. It may be difficult the first time you try, but as you get more comfortable, you’ll find you have the ability to boldly go where no writer has ever gone before!
Write on, Captain Content / @CaptContent