How To Write Powerful Content – Be Authentic
What content do you respond to right now? Why do you keep returning to these bloggers or businesses?
Think about it, what drives anyone to seek out an article, podcast or video by a certain person or company?
Sure, quality and authority are no doubt high on this list.
But they’re all overshadowed by a single strength: being authentic.
This is more than a strategic buzzword put out by marketers.
Being genuine is a cornerstone element for any business, whether you offer professional house painting services to homeowners or content marketing strategies to social enterprises.
And when it resonates throughout your content, it offers up opportunities to reach the people you want like no other avenue.
You could be looking to grow an email list or cultivate a fantastic customer base, and how genuine you are and the value you give to others is where content marketing helps you bring this into reality.
How do you nurture this authenticity?
Below you will find my tips on how to develop authenticity (and being awesome) into your content.
Your core values:
What do you stand for? What impression should people get from viewing your content?
Write down two or three short sentences describing what values you hold, both for your business and yourself. Maybe even two to three succinct words—have something that sums up your values.
When you know where you stand and how you want to project this to others, then you can apply it to your content creation.
In digital content, personality matters. By setting those values up for every content type you develop, your voice can become remarkable.
For bigger companies, it doesn’t matter which person creates a video, podcast or blog post because the organisation sets the guidelines for how their brand voice and values are captured in their communication.
Smaller businesses don’t have that luxury, so this responsibility falls to the owner or marketing manager (who could be the same person) to set this template down. This is important, as authenticity is all about cohesion.
Thank You, a social enterprise selling responsible products to fund health, education, food/water and sanitation projects around the world, is a great example of authenticity rooted into content marketing.
They understand that if you’re not honest, you fail.
What began as bottled water sales in Australian supermarkets, funnelling profits into their social programs, expanded into body lotions, food, baby products and gift boxes with the same goal.
While they grew bigger, their message and values stayed the same: pragmatic, community focused and deliberate.
Through their newsletter, ‘The Latest’, the Thank You team produce content that does what they say they do, treating their readership as part of the team.
When you run a business, you must stand by your words (especially social enterprises).
That’s exactly what the Thank You enterprise does.
You care about building relationships:
When you’re serious about any relationship, personal or business, you want to nurture it properly. Authenticity may narrow down your wider audience potential but that’s a good thing.
Being everything to everybody means you’re nothing to nobody.
When your creative output reflects your personality, the most ideal people start connecting with you.
Your specific audience engages with you when they know exactly who you are and how you can help them.
By being precise about the people you’re connecting with, you can better communicate with them and understand how your services/products can help them out.
Headspace, the meditation and mindfulness smartphone app, is all about building relationships.
Created by former monk, Andy Puddicombe, and former Advertising Executive, Rich Pierson, it’s aimed at people wanting to train their brain through meditation sessions to deal with all of life’s emotional states.
Every piece of content Headspace develops, whether it’s meditation app sequences or blog posts, goes to great lengths to grow a great relationship with anyone crossing their path.
Your profession, income or social status is immaterial; Headspace wants to support people taking the leap into the mindfulness headspace.
They incorporate the best scientific research into meditation to improve their sessions for subscribers.
Their content covers a host of emotional spaces affecting someone’s life—grief, anxiety, stress, focus, sadness and loss—while trying to be that helping hand that picks you up when you’ve fallen over.
That’s what a good relationship needs: strong foundations and someone to be there you when you need them.
Transparency means being open to criticism when you’ve published any type of content; it is also taking responsibility for it. Every content marketer or blogger I respect has this skill.
If there’s a point of debate over something within the article, they are willing to talk it through with people who have a different point of view.
Writer and writing coach Lauren Sapala’s blog is a look into what being open and honest is about.
She gives her readers insights into the business writing profession, the highs and lows, and the reality of living a writer’s life.
Her vulnerability in her blog posts and beautiful storytelling skills make you realise it’s okay to be honest in your content.
I recommend reading her post on ‘Calling bullshit on the myth that every writer needs to grow a thick skin’ to get a good understanding of how open she is with her readership.
Like I said before, having a well defined voice is useless without placing it into everything you write or record.
When people come across any of your content, they know what your voice is. As soon as there’s a clash of content styles, your authenticity can plummet dramatically.
Think about every important relationship in your life, work or otherwise. You categorise every person or business you deal with in specific ways; from this you know how to interact with them.
Say you know a customer who’s erratic with calls/emails and paying on time. You’re likely to finish the job then never work with the customer again.
Who wants to pour energy into a relationship with someone you cannot depend on? .
Joe Rogan is a big example of creative consistency. A comedian, mixed martial arts enthusiast and podcast host of The Joe Rogan Experience, he publishes a two- to three-hour podcast discussion with scientists, political commentators, entrepreneurs and other comedians almost four times a week.
He is so prolific you are surprised when he doesn’t pump out a conversation.
Podcast listeners rely on consistency of output, and someone like Rogan feeds this content appetite well.
With content strategy, similar rules apply. Once you set your content obligations, you’ve got to deliver them.
Content marketing needs a human-to-human connection to be successful.
When we define who we are and how we can help others, that authenticity shows up in our work.
It’s where the foundations of a winning relationship can take hold—something that’s worth everybody’s time to take care of.