Content is not that thing you posted or sent or made into a pretty little meme.
Content is a conversation. It springs from focused messaging delivered in your authentic voice.
Small business owners sometimes push back on the term “conversation.”
“Doesn’t ‘conversation’ imply a two-way dialogue?” they ask. “So much of my content is just me talking and no one responding.”
That may be, but that doesn’t mean someone isn’t listening.
For instance, I connected with a business colleague I hadn’t talked with in a while. I started by telling her that we were no longer living in Chicago. She interrupted me. “I know. I read it in The 23rd.” (That’s my monthly newsletter providing info and ideas about communicating well.)
Or there was the business owner who I met briefly at a networking event. Even though it was a quick meeting, she stuck in my mind because she dissed my business model.
“Content coaching? No one wants that. We want freelance writers who will create this sh*t for us.”
Still, she “liked” 4.23 on Facebook and many months later called me because she was revamping her website and needed… you guessed it…content coaching.
She knew her voice, she knew her message and she knew that finding and working with the right writer* would be as much, if not more, work than just sitting down to do the writing herself with my support, guidance and editorial reviews.
The annoying truth is this: There is an ROI of content, but it is not immediate.
I read the blog of my business coach for years (yes, years) before I started working with her. I was getting to know her, know her style, know how she approached coaching entrepreneurs, what she valued and what she didn’t.
It was the path I needed to take to get comfortable with making a large investment in my business. (I was also thrown off course by a few major corporate projects…I don’t advocate waiting years to close deals.)
Keep that in mind as you’re creating content and feeling dejected. It can feel like you’re talking to yourself. You’re not. Someone is always listening.
You can’t control what they do with what they hear, but you can absolutely control what they hear from you…and that they do hear from you.
*I am in no way implying that there aren’t fantastic writers out there who can write to your voice very, very well. There are. But what you can’t expect is for them to magically capture your voice without your input and interaction.
BTW: “Conversation” is one of the four pillars of 4.23 Communication; read about the other three here.