The Not-So-Secret Ingredient Missing from Most Content
My clients call it content. I like storytelling much better. But, I likely won’t grow a client base if I call it something they don’t recognize. So, I’m stuck with calling it that C-word. Content.
The thing about most content is that it’s uninspiring. It’s noise.
It’s said that the sum of all human knowledge is available on the Internet. That’s really cool, but most of us don’t know what we don’t know. The information might be there, but what we really need is perspective.
Unfortunately, most companies don’t make that easy. They produce content, which they believe is valuable information. They lead with their solution – with pretty much places knowledge before the perspective. It’s why so much content on the Internet is just more of the same old blah blah blah look-at-me static.
Don’t want that
Companies who push a signal through the noise understand that we really don’t want content. We want stories that help us validate our problems, reward us with perspective, and aid us in putting solutions into our worldview.
This content is mostly just noise because it’s missing one very important thing.
And, hey, it also starts with a C. Most content is written without confidence.
Must be true
Have you ever read a blog article or watched a video and said to yourself, “This person knows what they’re talking about.”? Something about the language and presentation communicates that what you’re being given information and perspective by someone who believes what they’re saying is important. It’s true.
What you’re hearing might be rather distressing, but you discern the confidence. Regardless of what it ultimately means to you, a strong signal has been pushed through the noise. So, even if you just might have been told that you’re in really big trouble, you sense the confidence from which is was communicated. You believe this person. (It’s usually a person who’s taken on the responsibility of speaking on behalf of a company or brand.)
The confidence you sense gives you a level of trust that you’re going to be guided by an expert.
Expertise is what we seek out when we’re making decisions about companies or brands to trust. We don’t want to be led by amateurs. It’s why we have such a strong negative reaction to content – or storytelling – that lacks sincerity. You don’t believe them because they couldn’t bother to be believable. You’re outta there.
You will never find an example of successful content marketing that lacks confidence. And, it’s why the best content you come across leads with confidence. It’s because we want to be encouraged to continue as quickly as possible.
What are some of the elements of confidence we find in content that hit the mark? One hallmark is what you won’t find. Confident storytelling needs no lipstick. There’s no embellishment. You aren’t bombarded with jargon or buzzwords. There are few, if any, adjectives to modify the information you’re discovering.
It’s as if there’s just you and the storyteller. That storyteller just says what they mean – in plain, everyday language. Confidence needs no embellishments.
Sharing is caring
Something curious but interesting occurs as a result. You find yourself enjoying what you’re reading or watching. It’s because confident storytellers are focused on telling you the plain truth. They enjoy telling you the story. Sure, it might be an unpleasant story – and they’re not enjoying that part. In that case, you sense their empathy.
You realize that they care. You are made to feel relevant, which means you’ll place value on what you’re learning. Back to the idea of it being just you and the storyteller. You understand that you’re consuming conviction, and it’s imprinting in your mind as knowledge and perspective.
It doesn’t have to be 3,000 words long – even though research shows that longer content gets better search returns. Confident storytellers make their point. Then they stop.
There’s no beating around the bush. You know what you’re getting into by the time you finish the first couple sentences, or after watching just the first few seconds of a video. Confident storytellers have no need to obfuscate or digress. They stay on target. As one of my former co-founders used to say, “They’re on a word diet.”
Passion of intent
Confident storytellers let you know what they’re up to right away, too. We’re all selling something, and confident storytellers don’t shy away from that. They believe in what they’re telling you, and it’s their priority to make you want to share their worldview.
Which is also why confident content never shies away from making sure you understand what it wants you to do next. It could be to buy something. This is content marketing, after all.
Successful content is bold. It’s not afraid to zag while everybody else is zigging. It’s consumed because of the passion of its intent, and it sets you in fire, too. You’ll either believe it and want to hear more – or declare it to be bullshit and look for ways to tear it down.
Either way, it’s succeeded. Confidence pushes a signal through the noise.
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