No one likes a smarty pants. No one likes the guy who knows he has all the answers. 

The paradox is that your readers want knowledge. They want to know about your industry. They just don’t want to hear it from the guy who’s writing from high up on his perch.

So what does this mean for you?

First, you need to stay up on your industry knowledge. There’s no sin in being smart. You need to keep reading all those magazine articles, books and blogs that give you the knowledge you need to stay ahead. You need to keep talking shop with others in your industry. These are your sources to learn.

Next, put your stamp on it. Go ahead and give readers the information they need to know, but do it with a little spunk and personality. I see a lot of aspiring bloggers giving the same tips and tricks as everybody else in the industry. The fact they’ve done their research is evident. However, there’s nothing there that is definitively them. 

You can easily get around this by offering your opinion. Or connecting two ideas or subjects that aren’t obviously similar on the surface. Or working a little harder to find resourceful blog ideas that go into a bit of depth and explanation.

Whatever you do, before you hit publish, think for a couple minutes about who you are talking to.

You have to know your audience to understand how to relate. 

If you fail at this one simple step, it looks bad. Check that. It can cause your message to tank. It can make you look like the snob mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Think about a couple things:

  • Who are you writing for? 
  • Are they a bit more removed from your industry?
  • What’s their education level?
  • Is your customer base mainly comprised of men or women?

All these things will impact how you talk with them. Think about it this way. You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a networking event, shove your card in their hands, pitch them and walk away. Or if you would, you’re probably not going to get much business.

You have to learn how to relate.

When it comes to content marketing, a lot of people are talking about the necessity of providing value, but we need to break it down one step further.

That value needs to be in a package your readers can unwrap. Otherwise it’s useless.

Unless you work in the industry, you probably don’t know enough about medical supplies, insurance, mortgages, taxes or the law to keep up with a professional in any of these industries who wants to talk shop. The same is true for countless other professions.

It’s on the professional to uncomplicate things for their readers and make it a bit more simple.

As you return to writing your own posts, I leave you with this: don’t make your readers hate you. Don’t disregard your audience. It’s bad for business.

What do you do to relate to your audience?

Matt Brennan is a Chicago-based marketing writer and copy editor

 

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