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Tip: when writing business content, write to 20 people

August 22, 2011

The other day I was doing a social media coaching session and I really wanted to explain the notion of “what works”.

What doesn’t work is starting something digitally, be it a blog, a Twitter feed or a podcast without having a goal.

We have come up with a simple way to determine success, and it starts with who.

Picture 10 – 20 people you want to touch

Before even beginning to create content, pick 20 people or job titles or caricatures of people who you want the content to touch. You should have an idea what these people care about, and how your content can help them. You should find pictures if possible of those 20 people and have them close at hand. Take a little time to research them on LinkedIn or Google. Find out what they care about and begin to create an archive of knowledge aimed directly at them.

When one becomes a client, talk to that person about the content you have online. Ask them, briefly, what worked and what didn’t. Then add another person to the list of 20.

Keep that list of 20 people as your who. Then figure out how to measure it.

A really clever person I know once started a blog to get content to just 3 people. He wanted to attract 3 journalists, and he wanted his blog to inform them.  In setting that goal, he also had to determine how he was going to measure whether they were reading it. Being clever, he thought outside the metrics box and decided to ask them directly if they were reading his blog.

Goal achieved.

You can do that as well. If you have the e-mail address of one of your 20, you could e-mail them a piece of content and ask for their feedback.

Archived knowledge.

Archived content, or archived knowledge comes in handy when you’re at a real-life event with one of your 20 people. You see them, strike up a conversation about the thing you are an expert in, casually let them know there is a place to read more about this very topic. “You should see the blog post I did title “what you care about in your business”, why don’t I send that to you?”


You use other methods to land one of your 20 people (marketing, etc). The firm finally gets a meeting. That person will Google you.  And when they do, they will see your archive of knowledge. Since you will have written it in a way that speaks to his or her needs, it will enhance your expertise standing with that person.

Note: they might not Google you today. But they will in 1-3 years. That is, if they aren’t using LinkedIn to find you already.

Once you have the who, the content is easier to create. Then you just have to figure out where you will create content. More on that this week.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2011 12:30 pm

    Agreed, this is a great way to consider ‘what’ to write about and ‘why’ to write it.

    I also look at it from the context of tagging. How would someone tag my work (ie. Google Reader, StumbleUpon, Delicious) so they could retrieve it quickly later. That helps me in focusing my work.

    Good Hunting.


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