Where to Start
Before writing, before shooting a video, before recording a podcast, before publishing that book—ditch the computer, shut the smart phone down and find a quiet spot where you can answer this question:
"What’s really, really important to the people I’m trying to reach?"
This next vital step is difficult. You have to kick out what’s really important to you and focus on what’s really important to your customers/clients.
Who Cares about Tomatoes?
I remember reading an article a few years ago by a restaurant owner/chef. He spent two pages obsessing about tomatoes. Specifically how he didn’t refrigerate his tomatoes. Now, to the chef, not refrigerating a plump Roma tomato might be really important but to me, the person looking at the restaurant, I’m more interested in having a good meal with friends in a spot where it's relatively quiet.
In 1992, I started to publish one of three successful magazines. I quickly discovered what was important to readers.
“Micro” news about the area: anything from Eagle Scout awards to a new manager at a local restaurant. I also wrote frequently about education and included long interviews with important and well-known people in the area.
I’d throw in some recipes, some directory copy, plus an aerial photograph, mix it altogether and I’d shift upwards of 40,000 magazines off the racks each quarter.
Something I discovered early: when people are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, you cannot provide them with enough information.
For example, I can’t get enough information about direct response copywriting and direct marketing. If I didn’t have to write, I’d spend all day every day reading about copywriting. So when Bob Bly’s emails arrive in my email box (and he sends about three a week), I stop everything and read.
Bob Bly is a copywriter who has published close to 80 books and sells his own information. He’s been extremely successful and I’m more than just a little interested in what he has to say—his content hits my ‘sweet spot’ every time.
Here’s a short checklist to help you determine what’s important to your targets.
- What motivates your clients? Money? Fear? Ease? Spiritual fulfillment?
- What’s important now?
- What’s the one piece of information your clients would pay for?
- Who are the ‘rock stars’ of the business and can you include them in your content?
- Ask for some testimonials—you’ll find out what's important to your customers.
- Ask your current clients what’s especially important to them. The answers will surprise you.
Once you know what’s especially important to your current and prospective clients, you can start to build your content.
If you have any questions about the content that will appeal to your target market, leave a comment and I’ll answer.
I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment for clients around the world. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here for a direct response copywriting quote.