Writer’s block got your tongue?
Trust me, every writer will know what that feels like and it isn’t fun. There are several ways to combat this situation but one that many people don’t think of: ask your audience. Let’s see how this idea can transform the blinking cursor to words on the page.
Read the room—a tactic in the back pocket of every seasoned public speaker.
The faces in the room help guide the presenter through their material. They dictate the examples used, stories told, and narrative arc. Public speakers have an advantage: they can see their audience staring back at them. They know if the audience laughed at the joke they painstakingly recited to themselves in the mirror not minutes before stepping on stage. They can read the expressions in the room, whether the point made was clear, confusing, or thought-provoking.
As writers, we don’t have that luxury. We can’t see our readers on the other side of the computer screen, whether they are hanging on to each word written or are distracted by multiple tabs and email notifications.
This just means that we need to work harder to keep them engaged in the material we present. Somedays when writing feels more difficult than others, I often envision my audience reading the post that I have written. I think about how they will respond and what I can do to better meet their needs and that rejuvenates my words and brings new life to the pieces I write.
You can do the same thing!
I’d like to show you 3 ways that your audience can help you with your content.
Sometimes it is hard for people to ask for help, but asking for help is an important quality for success. You may have your own notions about what your audience wants and what they need, and most times you are probably right. But sometimes it can be helpful to pull your audience in on the things you aren’t sure about.
Create a short, digestible poll or survey for them to help guide the direction of your content. Are you catering to pre-retirees who are nervous about retirement? Perhaps you will find that they need reassurance and want posts about the psychology of retirement, encore careers, local volunteer opportunities, or lifestyle planning. They may also be concerned about their changing cashflow or enrolling in Social Security, so focusing on those topics would help give them the information they need.
Your audience’s feedback is crucial to the success of your content strategy. Asking them what they think and areas for improvement will only help propel your writing and elevate your content to the next level.
On top of seeking out audience feedback, you can also do some investigating on your own to discover the posts your audience responded most to. Use your analytics tools to decipher which posts and content materials performed the best. Which post had the most engagement (likes, shares, comments, clicks)?
Once you find the pieces that did well, take some time to analyze them yourself. Was the post extremely relevant or timely? Which aspect of your audience’s lives did it target? How was it written? What was the length? By digging into the topic, length, style, and tone of the posts that had high engagement, you will get a better understanding of what your audience likes to read, and therefore what you should write. When you do some research on your own, you’ll be able to be proactive in providing the type of content your audience craves.
Sometimes the answers might surprise you. You may be creating excellent content, but if it isn’t what your customers want, then you won’t see the results you are looking for. Be receptive and open to what you find and flexible in altering your content strategy to further tailor it to your audience’s needs and wants.
You won’t be able to engage your audience if you aren’t engaged in the material as well. Your passion for the content you create is the first step to conveying that same zeal to your audience.
People are drawn to others who are on fire for what they do. Give your readers the opportunity to see that in you. This will help you be proactive about your content planning strategy and keeping your audience in mind as you create it.
Here at Perfectly Planned Content, we love all things writing; how it connects, engages, and impacts relationships and in turn promotes a genuine content marketing solution that really works. We would love to help you create content that speaks to the true nature of your business. Set up a call with us; we can’t wait to learn more about you and your story.