When developing content, one of the most important – and overlooked – aspects is voice. Writers focus on making sure their keywords are used adequately but not overused. They focus on getting the information out as fast as possible so that they might have a shot at breaking news. They get plenty of ideas down in list form.
But they just don’t always consider voice.
Great content is the linchpin of any content strategy worth its salt. A strong content marketer recognizes that content marketing is about education. Let’s talk about that for a minute so we can recognize how crucial it is to have a strong voice when creating your content.
Once upon a post-collegiate time, I was a high school English teacher for a few years. One of the first lessons I learned in my education classes, and one that was reinforced for me almost immediately in my own classroom, was that there’s quite a sizable difference between imparting knowledge and educating.
Think back to your own days as a student. If you had a teacher who sounded like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, you might not remember so much from that class. Maybe the teacher stood at the front of the room and lectured at you for the whole period. He never got excited about much; he just transferred his knowledge to you (or tried to). You may or may not have remembered what he said long enough to take the test, and it slid right off of your brain like eggs from Teflon.
On the other hand, if you had a teacher who was lively and engaging, who told stories and interacted with you, the students, you probably not only enjoyed that class a lot more, but you probably also learned something. Maybe that teacher became one of your favorites or inspired your future career.
Are you picking up what I’m throwing down?
Content marketing is education, and even if you’ve never taught, you’ve been a student. You know the difference between a teacher with a boring voice who just imparts knowledge and a teacher with a strong voice who educates.
When you create content, be the teacher who educates. In your blog posts and on your website content – anywhere, really – show some character. Be enthusiastic about what you know and what you can share with your customers and prospects. Engage them and reinforce your major points. Yes, the purpose is to sell – the purpose is nearly always to sell (even for actual teachers) – but the real purpose is to leave a lasting impression.
Use your content to change the way your customers and prospects think about your field (note: your field. Not your specific product or service). Anyone can go in for the hard sell – they can find that anywhere. Not everyone is willing to thoroughly educate them. Create content with a strong, authentic voice that they’ll remember. Be friendly and personable. Use anecdotes. Use humor. Be a real person.
It may not look like it, but developing content – especially the effective kind with a strong voice that makes people sit up and take note – isn’t easy. Prove to your students that you’ve got the knowledge by educating them through a variety of well-crafted content.
And as for your sales? Use your voice to teach them lessons they’ll never forget and keep them engaged, and they’ll remain true to their school.
photo credit: affinity express