As with the death of most literary greats or public figures, social media platforms were set alight with various quotes at the sad passing of Maya Angelou. I was first introduced to her writing as a child and fell in love with her style. My mother proudly has a collection of her books so I recently ‘borrowed’ a book of poems to remind myself just how good Ms Angelou was.
I felt compelled to write this post in honour of a woman whose way with words moved many. Her language, both written and verbal, was captivating and at times penetrated the soul. She spoke with grace and possessed an almost stately presence in interviews. She was determined to leave the world a better place through the words she wrote and the life she went on to live.
As much as I try to avoid posting loads of ‘let’s float in the clouds with the unicorns’ type of content in my social media streams, I know that everyone loves a good quote! So I selected just three quotes by Maya Angelou’s for you, quotes I think are very appropriate for content creators that want to do more than just create stuff.
“When you get give, when you learn teach.”
Over the years you’ve gained tons of experience in your field. You’ve probably been given loads of advice that has prevented you from making mistakes in the early days of your business or you’ve attended various courses to learn about a particular specialism. You won’t go wrong if your motive for wanting to produce content is to generously share this knowledge with your audience.
How can you package what you’ve learned in a way that makes your consumers return to your website to learn more about what you have to say? What type of content would they be eager to share regularly or subscribe to?
Don’t be afraid to give away some information for free. The more generous you are, the more grateful your audience will be and the more likely some will be to purchase your product or service in the future.
A few ways for you to ‘teach’ your audience:
- Write informative articles, posts on your website.
- Post tips via social media channels.
- Produce great slide presentations.
- Write industry reports.
- Publish videos (you can learn almost anything via Youtube these days.).
- Do engaging podcasts, interview experts in your field, record short audio ‘How to’ guides.
- Do in person events.
A company that does a great job of this is Simply Business, an insurance company. Not the most interesting of industries to those of us outside the industry to be fair but in the last few years they’ve evolved from being just another insurance company with the standard corporate website, to now having a vibrant site and social media content that is a great source of information for small businesses. They know all about insurance for small businesses but they’ve been smart by putting their audience at the heart of their communication strategy and thinking about what it is visitors to their site and social media channels need to make their business successful.
“Content is of great importance,but we must not underestimate the value of style.”
The way you communicate, the words you choose and the way you frame them should be wrapped up in something that gives your readers a unique view into your world. The alternative is that you end up with content that is dull with zero personality.
It can be hard to shake off the business talk that you’ve become accustomed to. Take some time to think about what distinctive voice or characteristic you want to shine through in your content. It’s always important to answer this with your target audience in mind. What is their tone of voice? What type of content ‘style’ do you think they would relate to?
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
People will also forget what you’ve written if it doesn’t resonate with them. Chris Brogan refers to this as ‘echo’ in his book The Impact Equation. He writes, ‘the more you can connect with everyone, one at a time, the better’. Do you set out to make people feel comfortable? Does your approach portray you/your company as approachable? Or does the language you use intimidate?
People will engage with your content if it resonates with them. What do you want visitors to your site to feel, when they arrive, as they go through the pages? and what do you want the lasting impression of your company to be once they leave your site?
One thing that would help you is to pin down your business values, the things that are at the core of what you and your business stands for, as these will appeal to people’s emotional side. Once you establish these you won’t fail to attract visitors, subscribers, customers, clients that share these values.
By focusing on these three areas you will absolutely be on the road to creating content that has more depth and appeals to your target audience.
Let me know what you think about this post, in the meantime here are a few more quotes for you: