This post is part of a series relating to content marketing. The first post is here – content marketing basics. The second post is about the must haves of content marketing, and this post is the third in the series.
When you read, view or listen to content by someone who’s passionate about their subject, you’ll notice something special about it. It’s like that special dog’s whistle that sounds on a different frequency to human ears, you hear the joy for their subject, see it on the screen and read it in their words, if you were with them their eyes would light up and their conversation become animated.
You can tell they’re knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their niche / industry, and you’re able to sense that in any content they create. As much as I hate the word passionate, it’s the only one that describes how a talented amateur will infuse their work with love.
People are moved by those who speak with their authentic voice, they can sense it comes from the heart. Yet what most people don’t realise is that almost everyone who’s found their passion had to put in a lot of work to discover it. It doesn’t mean it comes naturally or easily.
And that’s where the difference lies between a professional and a talented amateur, you cannot fake the enthusiasm. You cannot stir people into a frenzy if you do not feel that electricity, that undercurrent of excitement, yourself. No matter how brilliant writer you are, you cannot write about everything brilliantly. Your best work comes from what you feel the most love, the most, anger, the most hate for - it seeps from every pore and you find it slipping into every conversation.
So how do you find your passion and voice as a content marketer?
Start with What You Love
I start with blogging. I love blogging, I dream in posts and comments… I jump out of bed (okay, as near as I’ll ever get to jumping out of bed) brimming with ideas – blogging is more than a job to me, I have 63 different blog sites and I’d still blog if no one read a single word. I live it and I breathe it. I don’t just read about it, I do it. I conduct hundreds of tiny experiments to see what works and why. The why is important to me.
And that’s why you must start with what you love. If you love internet marketing, get into the internet marketing mind set, read everything and speak it fluently, dream about it. If you love knitting, get your needles out and learn everything about knitting. If you love parenting, get on your soapbox and share with everyone.
The chances are if you are passionate you are doing this already in your content without even realising.
- What’s the topic that you could talk about for hours and hours on end?
- What’s a topic that you’d talk about and dream about (like me) even if you weren’t getting paid?
- What’s something that really energises you in life and gets you excited?
- What do your family and friends tell you to shut up about, as it’s the 79th time you’ve told them?
Okay, so not every passion can be turned into a career, but you’d be surprised at how many people do manage to turn their passions into money, even in very obscure fields.
Start with what you’re really excited about. It’ll come through in your content.
Express Yourself Naturally and From the Heart
When you’re writing content, try to write as if you were chatting to a friend. This will help you write more naturally, in a casual yet self-expressed and dare I say it… passionate manner.
Try to write without censorship. Don’t worry about grammatical correctness or political correctness. The worries relating to these can come later, you do not have to be perfect the first dozen times, in fact you’ll find yourself faster through your mistakes.
If you’re speaking with your true voice, you’re going to turn some people off, remember, you will always do better when you write for your ideal customers and they are only a small percentage of the marketplace. However, you’ll also attract the kinds of people who can relate to you and become a long term community of followers and people who will recommend you through word of mouth.
People who have strong voices are polarising – Some people like them, others might hate them. But that’s how almost cult-like followings are built, think Apple here. Have you ever met an Apple fan that doesn’t rave about their Mac, iPod or iPhone? Have you ever met one who doesn’t try and convert you? Seldom is a following built from people who try to please everyone and the only example I can think of is the Devil Wears Prada.
Remove the Miranda Priestly from your Content…
Have you read the Devil Wears Prada? Miranda Priestly struck fear into everyone’s heart yet her passion for fashion impacted upon everyone. She had such influence, such power that everyone felt compelled to like her. So much so that no one dared to criticize her and no one would ever say anything bad about her without balancing it with something bland but good, in the hope that it cancelled out the truthful bad thing.
Andy, the main protagonist, gets through the first 10 chapters telling herself that her job that’s soul destroying and making her miserable is something that a million girls would die for. Her passion was stifled. Her creativity non-existent in comparison to Miranda’s passion. Miranda did not care a jot who she offended and her staff cared too much, hence their neutralising statements.
If you find that you are sitting on the fence, and tip-toeing around an issue like it’s Miranda Priestly, then it has to go. Or you have to say what you think – without balancing / counteracting it with something bland.
Be like the Apple fan who tries to convert people, be like Miranda who doesn’t care, rather than attempting to be liked by everyone.
Care about Your Readers and Their Success
Can you tell the difference between someone who’s written something and really cares if you succeed, versus someone who’s just writing the content just to say… oh yeah I’ve also written a post about that?
Of course you can.
You feel involved with the first person and preached to by the second.
You can feel the difference. Naturally, it’s the people who really want to help us that we feel drawn to, that we start to build a relationship with, that we start to trust. Because they care, we feel involved. We feel as if we matter and we all need to matter to someone.
When you’re writing content, ask yourself:
- Who are am I trying to help with this content?
- How would their life change as a result of reading/viewing my content?
- How will I know if I’ve made a difference?
If you really want to help people, they can sense it. It can’t help but filter through into your writing, and in any other content you create. It builds loyalty and a personal relationship with your readers and it’s almost impossible to fake.
Passion is like cream; you can tell the difference between fresh and fake.
Your passion isn’t “one thing” that people can point to and say whether it’s good or not. It is something that is sensed throughout your content, in the words you use and the way you present yourself.
If you are passionate about something and create content around, you will be found. If you do it just for the sake of doing it then you know what? Ah, you know already… it will fall by the wayside.
Let’s look at the weight-loss industry for a moment. Say your trying to lose weight, do you go to the blog where the writer has always been slim and fit and writes lots of diatribes about eating less and exercising more? Or do you find and enthusiastic amateur who has lost weight and discovered that she’s good at it? Do you find the weight loss practitioner who understands you and your goals, the one that listens and cares enough to make you want to do something, the one that was once in your shoes and is uber qualified to help you? Or the one that’s number one on the front page of Google?
You will gravitate towards the weight-loss expert that creates their content with passion, because that passion is attractive. It’s magnetising, it’s hard to stay away from and you desire that some of that passion will transform you – and it will.
A weak voice will turn people off and they’ll go elsewhere.
And until you find your passion, there’s not a single thing you can do about it and that’s how talented amateurs beat professionals every single time.
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