As a freelance writer, my challenge is to write content that leads to real results for my clients, whether that means simply boosting search engine relevance, increasing engagement on social media, or producing work that gets published in industry trades, and potentially, syndicated on major media outlets. When you’ve got a compelling topic or really innovative product or service, the job is fairly easy. The challenge of course, is that most clients don’t sell “Apple” worthy products or services that inherently draw attention, or get consumers excited about the latest product update. The client may be passionate about their product, and I may be too. But neither of us is the desired audience, and as such our opinions don’t matter. The trick? Figure out what the people you want to reach, want to hear (or, read).
I was recently struck by a video series I came across on Fast Company featuring the biggest brands in content marketing, and how they’ve figured out a way to be successful in their strategy. The most interesting piece that all small businesses and freelance writers can use to their own benefit? The fact that GE has an onsite journalist. As he shares in the video, his job is to be constantly “in the know,” to identify the bigger, more meaningful stories happening across GE’s product and service lines.
Though most companies have an internal communications department that is charged with releasing employee-facing communications, their tasks often include crisis management, or crafting the touchy feely stories of internal happenings, but they’re not really journalists so much public (or rather, private) relations experts. The idea of approaching content with an in house journalist is so compelling, in my opinion, because it’s a shift in approach that could solve for the ever lingering challenge all companies face in content marketing: What can we say, and who cares about what we’re doing enough to read it? When you “sniff out” the stories like a journalist, however, you may just find that there are much richer, more relevant tales to be told, that aren’t just limited to employees, or consumers–but that resonate deeply with both audiences.
The next time you’re short on content, put on your news hat: What piques your curiousity, what’s going on in the world that’s also relevant to your company and consumer. What are you doing that questions or challenges the status quo? What can you say that will help people find an escape or form of entertainment? What problems can you help them solve?