If you are a digital publisher, you probably know your brand identity very well – you are a communicator, after all! You know your niche vertical, what you represent (and what you don’t), and the value you bring to your audience.
Still, sometimes it’s a struggle to establish a deep connection with readers. And you want that. A deep connection leads to loyalty, trust, sharing, and best of all, inspiring some kind of action.
So why do some communications work and some don’t? It’s often about telling a good story. Good stories are memorable and sharable. They can be educational or entertaining. And they often change lives.
But stories out there on the web – whether they be for blogs, newsletters, resource materials, advertisements, or job descriptions – often fall flat. They’re descriptive but lack personality. They’re all about the company, but not the benefits to the reader.
Balance Heart and Head
Good Stories Make Strong Connections
Here are a few steps to evaluate your digital content to make sure you get the strongest connection with your readers:
- Who is the story talking about? Is it only the company or product? Make sure the story also covers the benefits to the audience so that they care. One good way to check this is to see how many times the story says “we” or “the company.” Think about ways you can add “because” or “so that you can”-type statements.
- Is the story purely logical? Or purely emotional? People are compelled by stories that appeal to their hearts and heads. Balance these two aspects to reach the most readers. For example, if you list all product features or partnerships, these are logical reasons to connect with the content. If you talk about why these features are important to the reader or how the partnerships will make someone’s life easier or better, these are emotional reasons to listen to you. Too much logic leads to a lack of a heartfelt connection. Too much emotion leads to cynicism and a lack of trust.
- Does the story have personality? Imagine the speaker as a character in a movie. What character is it? Would this character tell this story in this way? Oftentimes, content is written and rewritten so many times and by so many people that it loses any unique personality. Imagining a specific voice can breathe life into your cadence and overall storytelling.
- Does the content bring value? Stories that offer something of value will more likely be remembered and shared. To be valuable and useful, it needs to offer something different that others haven’t already provided: a different perspective, a different combination, or a brand-new method.
- Are the benefits to the audience at the bottom? Move those benefits to the top. If you checked off #1 and #2, you have your audience benefits included throughout your messaging. Now it’s time to check its priority. Some companies wait until the very end to mention the benefit, almost like an afterthought. But really, it’s the reason the company or brand exists!
- Is your language accessible? Many companies and brands are so caught up in their internal culture and way of speaking that jargon and acronyms slide into public-facing content, and the audience may not be immediately familiar with it. This can feel alienating. Consider getting an outsider – maybe an editor or an actual audience member or two – to peer-review your messages and make sure you’re saying things in a way that’s easily understood and digested.
The digital world is so rich with content that it might seem like a near-impossibility to stand out from the crowd and connect with your readers. But with the right story, speaking from the heart and the head, you may improve your chances tenfold.