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Have you ever had a friend that just didn’t always get it?
Despite being perfectly sound of mind and despite being aware of all of the details of a specific situation, they behave in ways that make you scratch your head. It might be that they never processed the most important information, or it might be that they think they know best when that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Well, some companies are the same way when it comes to producing great content.
The leaders of tech companies are often the smartest people in the room no matter the room into which they walk. These companies, however, often produce content that falls flat with their audience.
Why? These tech companies don’t think about the emotional core behind great content.
Jessica Mehring is a copywriter and content marketing expert at Horizon Peak Consulting. She is also the creator of The Content Lab, She is also the creator of The Content Lab, which trains copywriters and marketers how to write more effective, resonant content for IT, software, and tech companies.
She knows a thing or two about connecting with an audience, so she can’t stand to see these brilliant companies fail to resonate (and neither can we).
We sat down with Jessica to talk about how she thinks about resonance on a daily basis, certain tactics commonly used to increase resonance, why it’s so hard for companies to resonate, and more. Check out our conversation below!
Absolutely, all the time. I believe that technology is this powerful force in the world that is changing the world on a daily basis. It’s changing lives, it’s saving lives, every single day. And when you go and you read content or consume content from these really brilliant tech companies, it falls so completely flat, because they don’t have that resonance piece to it. They don’t have that emotional core.
When I think about resonance, I think about connecting. Relating human to human. To move people and promote meaningful change. And that happens when we get to the emotional core of a subject.
Every business and every industry was originally built to change the world in some way. And this is the piece that so many companies, especially in the tech space, forget.
I listen to them. That’s the first thing I do, because the people that I work with are so smart. It’s almost intimidating talking to some of these startup founders and tech marketers and people that are in the tech space, because they are so incredibly brilliant. And what they’re bringing to the world is just so life-changing. I want to know where that comes from.
So I ask something, and I just listen. And they always have stories to tell me, whether that’s why they came up with the technology that they built or some way that their customer is using their product or service today that is so inspiring to them.
I listen to them for those stories, and those stories guide so much of the content that I write for them.
Yeah, absolutely. The thing is, if you don’t have resonance, the reader isn’t going to get the value out of it. Value is the lesson, or the information, or the story that the audience walks away with. It’s what ultimately changes them. But resonance is when that value is presented in a way that means something to them. It’s how they relate to the content personally, and what makes the value matter.
I might be a little different than most in this. When I read your question about the tools or techniques that I rely on to create content that resonates, I realize that there’s really one thing. And it’s not a tool, or really even a technique – it’s a mindset. And that mindset is thinking audience first – buyer first.
This is what a lot of people don’t understand, but the purpose of marketing content is to build a relationship with the buyer. If you’re thinking product first, you’re not writing content, you’re writing copy. So the most important tool, I guess you could call it, is that mindset of audience first.
It’s the same way you would measure the effectiveness of any piece of content – people’s reaction to it.
Are you getting comments, is it getting shares? And, are there sales coming directly from it? You’re going to see spikes when content really resonates. It’s going to get shared more. It’s going to get commented on more. You’re going to have people reaching out to you because of it.
So there’s one post that I have been actually referring people to a lot lately, because it got me really excited. It’s by Ann Handley. She does some really amazing stuff. And she published something – it was a blog post called “Calling B.S. On Facebook’s Edict that Writing Is Dead.” I loved it! I mean, I love everything that she writes. But this one really deeply resonated with me as a content writer.
And you know what? She’s a great example of how quality matters more than quantity in content these days. She doesn’t publish every single day. She publishes when she has something valuable to say.
When I see one of her emails pop up in my inbox alerting me that she’s got a new blog post, I rush to read that. All of her posts are so valuable to me. There’s always something in there that gets me excited, or changes my opinion on something, or gives me a new tool or mindset shift.
There’s really two reasons. The first is that we are in a hurry. Marketers are busy, and creating content is just one of the many tasks that marketers have on their plates.
The other reason that it’s so hard to create resonant content is there’s just a lot of noise on the Internet today. You have to provide so much more value and work so much harder with your content to cut through that noise, and to get your audience’s attention in the sea of content that is out there.
You know what really gets me excited, and keeping reading, and forwarding it to friends, is when the subject relates directly to my life in some way.
I’m such an educational nut. I love to learn. So I love to read content about how to do things. Or some kind of educational content that teaches me something new. And if it’s something that I can apply in my day-to-day life, whether that’s my work life, or my personal life, or my family life, or whatever – that’s the stuff that I’ll read all the way to the end, and then share.