Recently, Chris, our VP of Marketing sent me an email. Here is a snippet:
The ” Transitional social media marketing document” you sent me is way too vague for a rookie, and makes me go…Blink, Blink. Again, yet another example of writing to your peers and not the target audience….
I thought or assumed I had sent him a good, insightful, explanatory document of how we go about our business in social media; and I told him he could show that to his clients and that they should have a pretty clear picture of what we do.
Lee Corso of ESPN College Football Gameday has a pretty popular phrase he uses just about every Saturday during College Football season…
“Not so fast my friend!”
There are a couple of problems with my “thinking” and it starts with my blog. I write what I know on my blog. I write to share my knowledge and I write to exchange thoughts and ideas of our industry with others. Yet very seldom do I write blog posts that our prospects or potential clients might understand. Occasionally I do, but the majority of the time I know I’m writing for my peers.
And that’s a problem. A small one for me, but a larger one for others.
In writing that document for Chris and our prospects, I was writing something that I understood, and those of you in the social media bubble understood. But not too many “other” people outside the bubble, like SMB’s or people just starting out, would have been able to grasp it.
We need to (I need to) step back and understand who we are writing not only our blogs for, but also our white papers, our web copy and our sales literature.
If it’s for SEO purposes, then chances are it’s speaking to the search engines and not really to your customers. If you can somehow straddle the line of SEO and write for your customers and prospects, good on you.
If you write your blog for the sake of peer approval-that’s cool, but then what is the strategy for your blog? To be liked by the folks in your industry? If that’s it, well then good on you.
It’s funny but we stress all the time about the mechanics of writing good blog posts and making sure its thematically written, has all the right links, a good title and what not but really…There are only 3 questions you need to answer.
- Why are you writing it?
- Who is it for?
- Will they understand it?
Not only does that apply to your blog but every other piece of written content you crank out for your company. You may understand it, but will they?
Often I come across such blogs and me being an net savvy gets confused the way they write and explain things! The one main reason for this, as you said, they write it for peers 😉 Then I think about those bloggers like this: can these blogs atleast get feedback from those peers? However, I think if bloggers can realize the importance of language and topic they want to write for, they can reach beyond what they are expecting.
Marc, this is a great example of “our own proficiency becoming our deficiency” when teaching others.
Your three questions are a great (and quick) quiz to test if we’re on the mark and not getting ahead of ourselves — or our customers.
@ Mike thanks, love your proficient/deficient line! aka, the cobbler who makes shoes for everyone but his kids..