On a recent call with the global marketing director of a major fitness brand — someone responsible for managing messaging across all channels — she paused to ask me a more philosophical question: “What do you think the secret to creating compelling content is? These days, everyone seems to be in the ‘game.’ ”
It’s true, and admittedly, something that I often wonder about. It seems that anyone with a Mailchimp account wants to say something…or feels that they should be saying something (whether they really have something to say or not). With the rise of social media, email and web marketing, communication platforms are ubiquitous, which means that ads and campaigns — and in turn subjects, headlines and body copy — are earnestly written, edited, and sent, from anyone who can.
Some do it well – we click every time, because we feel disarmed or moved or paused by what they have to say.
Other campaigns remain unopened, invisible in the marketplace. No matter how much noise they make, if nobody cares…well, nobody cares.
Inner monologue aside, my answer to what makes good content is simple: if you can sink your teeth into an idea — go beyond the obvious, unveil a truth that’s on people’s minds but not yet on their lips — you have something worth broadcasting. Rich content can be everything from useful/everyday DIY, to big ideas, unpacked into smaller bites we can all understand. But compelling writing actually comes from thinking original thoughts, first. Writing is the last step in that process.
Here’s my personal litmus test:
Am I saying something new, and if not new, in a refreshing way?
Does this feel personal, persuasive, disarming, useful?
And most importantly — does anyone care?
And when I write for myself, I go one level deeper:
Does this feel truthful/vulnerable and connected?
Do I think that saying it will help at least one person feel less alone in their thoughts?
Anyone can contemplate, aggregate, pontificate. But to matter today, you have to relate.