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They don’t want to know everything you know

Writing great content for your marketing emails, your blog, or your company newsletters, requires two things. The first is that you know what you’re talking about better than the reader. And the second is that the reader wants to know about the subject. Without those two things in place, you shouldn’t be sending out anything. The key is the intersection of what you know about and what your readers find interesting.

For example, I know a lot about SEO, Google AdWords, Ipswich Town Football Club and the band Half Man Half Biscuit. I read and converse about these subjects almost every day. So I can write about them confidently and – I hope – informatively. As a reader and prospect, you’re almost certainly interested in two of those subjects, or you wouldn’t be reading this. The other two …well perhaps not. (If you are, I’d recommend this and this). So we have our intersection. I write about two of those subjects in these emails, and the other two somewhere well out of sight.

Stuff I know about

Now apply this thinking to all that stuff you’re sending out on behalf of your company. Think of your last company newsletter or blog post, if they exist. Did all the content fall in the intersection of what you know about and what your readers want to know about?

If it didn’t – and it’s quite possible that it didn’t – then it’s time to think about how to change things. Most marketing departments have a subject they know about and that their readers want to know about: it’s called new product announcements. They also have a subject they know about which their readers do not want to know about, including the stuff which is filed under the loose heading of “company news”.

There are two things you can do avoid sending out filler material which does not fall into our intersection area above. One is simply to create less content. Nothing wrong with that. The other is to increase the pool of material which you know about and your readers want to know about, by widening the scope of the word “you” to mean “your company”, rather than you personally. There are people in your organisation who have no end of useful stuff in their heads which your prospects and customers would find fascinating. It needs to be used more.

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