"Content" production is up—way up

But content engagement is down

What’s a writer to do?

Lara Zuehlke, director of content at Pierpont Communications, suggests a five-step plan.

  1. Set strategy—Why are we doing this?
  2. Identify your audience—Whom do we seek to engage?
  3. Execute—Focus on the channels where your audience is and let the others go.
  4. Measure—How will we identify success?
  5. Educate and empower—How can we repeat or improve?

Whom do we seek to engage?

“The most important of the five steps is understanding who you’re talking to—and not trying to speak to everyone,” Zuehlke told 30-plus attendees at IABC Houston’s Entrepreneurs Strategic Interest Group Thursday. “You can’t use a ‘push’ strategy these days; you need to create more of a ‘pull.'

“If you’re talking to visionaries (CEOs, leaders of nonprofits), think of it as a ‘heart share.’ If you’re talking to engineers or advocating for a change in direction, think of it as a ‘mind share’ of facts and figures,” she advised.

Write for your audience, not Google.

Not that Google isn’t important, she said, but stay focused on your audience. 

Make sure the keywords are in your H1s and the beginning of the story, but then tell the story

Write subheads for the readers who will scan your writing before committing. (That’s most of them, in my experience.)

Remember that it’s a story.

Zuehlke bookended her talk with a touching story by Paul Harvey about farmers, which she echoed at the end of the presentation with an equally touching TV spot by The Richards Group in Dallas. She connected her own story as the daughter of a small-town, small-time farmer—and emphasized that each of us has his or her own story to tell, whether individual or corporate.

Her guidelines: 

  1. Connect to inspire.
  2. Engage to educate.
  3. Motivate to action.

Visit Lara’s own blog on the subject.