I'm pretty sure *this* is the 11th commandment
I was reading an article yesterday (I know, I know) that was talking about how we should eat fast food because — the horror! it has carbs and calories! oh my word! — and I was deeply annoyed.
Not because of the carb and calorie fear mongering or because it was totally false information or because the article didn’t talk about any of the real reasons you might not want to make fast food a regular part of your diet.
(Don’t worry — this isn’t a health blog. And even though I am a certified health coach I’m way past the “shoulds” and good vs. bad foods. That kind of talk is ridiculously harmful. Ahem, Exhibit A. 👋)
But because I felt like I was on the wrong platform. The content didn’t feel like it was geared toward me (or similarly awesome people like me).
It made me realize there should be an 11th commandment (I’m always telling my partner not to be blasphemous, and yet, here I find myself...): Know thy audience.
Here’s a few reasons why knowing your audience makes you like the Creator of Content. The Commander of Copy. The Titan of Text. The Bishop of Blogging...
You can use their words.
I’ll talk about this until I’m Violet Beauregarde post-gum-incident in the face.
Client language is like having an avocado tree in your backyard: It just keeps dropping good things on you.
When you’ve got the right language, the exact words your customers are using, your copy is going to resonate with them SO HARD. But, when you’re using coach speak or the dreaded jargon, you’re making it even harder for people to get what you do, for them to relate to your copy even one tiny iota, and for them to have an inkling that you can help them.
(I think this should be the 12th commandment: Always, always, always ask yourself if your client would use those words.)
Whenever you get an email from a client, see a new comment on your blog post or IG story, or are chitchatting with a prospect, pay attention to what they’re saying. Not just so you know what they’re really looking to hire you for (which is pretty important I guess). But so you can use their words.
Example: I was talking to a potential client about some blog posts. We were having a grand old time, getting friendly, hashing out specifics, when she said these three words: “I despise writing.”
Well, that’s good to know because I understand why she’s hiring me and how she wants nothing to do with the writing process. But also! Those words actually came out of her mouth. Next time I’m writing some copy targeting this particular type of client, you bet your collectible bottom dollar that line is gonna be in there.
You know what to sell them.
Let’s revisit this poor unfortunate article I threw some avocado tree shade at earlier.
They weren’t necessarily selling me anything, but let’s pretend they were slinging some sort of healthy meal delivery service.
Even if I was interested in said service (not...am I the only one who feels like that stuff is beyond overpriced?!), I’d feel like their company wasn’t right for me. Because I’d feel like the food wouldn’t be adequate, they’d keep shoving their outdated diet advice down my craw, and I’d be starving because of the carb and calorie deficiency.
So essentially I’d be spending more money: a ton on this service and more to actually satisfy my hunger.
If they knew how I felt about food, they’d have a better idea what to sell me. Maybe an ebook of recipes that takes the mystery out of balancing my macros with #thatentrepreneurlife aka a sometimes erratic and hectic schedule. Or an easy weekly meal plan that allowed me to mix and match until my heart’s content without feeling guilty if I just eat cereal for breakfast for two days in a row.
Now? If they were to ever try and sell me anything, I wouldn’t even click on the link out of curiosity. I didn’t even self select — they ruled me out of any future offers by not knowing me.
You know what to write (and not write).
I got an email this week that made me a little sad (also could totally relate...). In a previous email, this business owner had asked her readers to do that oh-so-common CTA: Respond with your questions about this topic.
(This is fab when you’ve got an engaged audience who wants to have a convo. Not so good for clients who just like to read along.)
And there was white noise. No responses. (I know, not because I’m a mind reader like that, but because this is the email I’m referring to...the one that made me sadder than when animals get unnecessarily hurt in movies...why you gotta go and kill the dog? Come on!)
That’s a pretty good sign that either her clients weren’t interested in the topic, didn’t care enough about the topic to respond, weren’t familiar enough with it to have questions...or weren’t reading her emails. Which is a whole different topic that I won’t even pretend I can tackle here.
So she can effectively put a giant red x with one of those slab-tipped extra enormous permanent markers (I know you know which ones I’m talking about) through that topic and never talk about it again.
But, if she knew her audience a bit better, she might not have even ventured down that content yellow brick road.
She’d have a mental (or if she’s super organized and has her shit together like that) list of “yes” topics and “no” topics.
Makes content creation that much less of a mystery, no? Looks like we don’t have to call Scooby and his pals for this one.
You know what form your content should take.
Have you ever done one of those ideal client exercises? You know, the ones that ask you approximately 563 questions about what your ideal client’s age is, where they shop, what kind of car they drive, what hair color they’ve got, whether aforementioned hair color is au natural or au box-erelle. Oh, and make sure they’ve got a name. Lord, let’s not forget the name.
That can be a fun (albeit incredibly distracting for those of us with very active imaginations...) venture.
But a lot of that isn’t going to help you in the content contest of online business.
What’s going to help you is knowing:
Is your client busy?
Do they have a long commute?
Do they like to read?
Do they feel like they spend too much time fixated on screens?
Are they auditory or visual learners?
Because you’ve gotta match the type of content to how your audience consumes it.
Long blog posts (*cough cough*) might not do your clients any good if they’ve got a full-time job, a family, a side hustle, and still want to go to bed on the same day they woke up.
If your client spends a lot of time on the bus, on the subway, on the train, in the air, maybe they’d prefer to consume content in audio form. All the better to tune out the noisy crowds around them...
Think about your client and their life and create content that fits into it.
If you think I’m about to close out this post with a “leave a comment below” CTA, then you would be wrong. Instead, I’m going to further harp on client language and tell you that, if you’re unsure what’s client language, what’s jargon, what’s coach speak, then, boy have I got an offer for you. 😉 Check out Sales Page Second Look so we can giant-red-slab-tip-marker the hell outta your copy. (And, yes, I just made that into a verb.)