Weekday Wisdom, Episode 95
An interview with Content Creation Coach Sarah Schwab, Part 2
How do you develop a relationship using content?
In part two of my interview with Sarah Schwab, the Content Creation Coach, we’re going to find out how you build relationships with conversational copy.
Did you miss the first episode? You can find it here.
Carma Spence: How do you build relationships with content? Content is just there. You’re not interacting with your readers.
Sarah Schwab: Right. It’s a different sort of an approach. It’s almost like a conversation. But it’s a one-sided conversation. They’re not able to really have that other side of the conversation. But it’s in the way that you approach it.
For example, one of the tips that I give people, especially writing content or writing blog articles and things like that, is to look for the words “you,” meaning “you the reader.”
- “Hey, you.”
- “Can you relate to this?”
- “I know you‘re probably thinking this or that.”
What do I know about “you,” my dear wonderful reader?
And then also the word “I.”
- “I, Sarah Schwab.”
- “I the writer.”
- “I‘ve experienced it this way.”
- “I feel this way.”
- “I think about it like this.”
And when you use those words, “I” and “you” it feels more conversational. It becomes not as global or a generally informative paper. It becomes more personal. So that’s one of the of tips I give for building relationships through content.
CS: How do you strike a balance between the “I” and the “you”? So it’s not the me channel” Me! Me! Me! Or the you channel: You! You! You!
SS: Yes. We look for both, for sure. And then truthfully the meat of the content still has to be the meat of the content. You’ve got to deliver that value. Share the concept or teach them something new, provide that shift. And so the “I” often fits in. The whole thing isn’t an “I” story, but maybe in one of the sections, it’s an “I” example.
- “This is how I might illustrate this…”
- “This is how it happened to me…”
Or, maybe it’s how it happened to one of my clients.
- “I was working with this person and it went like this.”
I think of it as sprinkling. You want to sprinkle it in. It’s not just your autobiography.
CS: Yeah that probably get a little boring after a while.
SS: It’s not super productive, and honestly, not relationship building. But the “you” part, I think, is actually more challenging for people sometimes. It is easy to get on the “I” pedestal, but who are you really talking to? Can you keep their perspective in mind? Why are they reading this in the first place? What do they need? What are they struggling with? What are they asking? And really staying in that mindset of, “Who is that reader?” And “How can you reach and speak to them?”.
One of the things I created is a topic starter list: A list of 40 topic starters. And it is broken into the “you” section and the “I” section. To really ask triggering questions first about them. Who are your people that you’re speaking to? What do you know about them? What do they care about? What does that look like in their life? Really neat ideas to get some juices flowing around that.
And then the “I” section, as well. Because for some people it’s actually harder to share their own story. They can share their knowledge. But they don’t want to necessarily share their own personal, “I” thing. It feels vulnerable. So there’s a bunch of questions to get people to open up or think about, “What could I share from my perspective?
CS: Right. Now, I’ve been a writer since I was a toddler. And a lot of the content I’ve grown up learning how to write, because I was a science writer for many years, you tend to not speak in “you”s or “I”s, but in this sort of generic “they” or “one.” And so I found that my challenge is often how to balance when I say “you” compared to when I say “they” or “people” in general.
SS: The global we. Yes.
CS: So, have you had other clients that have this challenge and how have you helped them?
SS: With practice. The process works like this: The client does still do the creating of the content because it’s their voice. It’s their knowledge. It’s their stories. But I do a fairly involved editing process. And so I will maybe break it up. I’ll find some of those “we”s or “they”s and see if I can’t change it. And send it back to them. And over time, when you do that two or three or four times, they start seeing it and getting the hang of it.
We can also do it somewhat on the front end. We’ll have a conversation about what is this piece of content that we’re creating. If it’s a catalyst piece or an article. What’s the topic? What’s the outline? What’s the meat of it? The nuggets? But then let’s make sure we have: What is our story going to be? Where is that going to fit in? Where can we include that? How about “you”? And I’ll actually make that part of the planning process for that piece of content, so they know that those are going to fit in.
I hope you enjoyed today’s segment and I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for the next one in this series when Sarah answers:
There are all different kinds of content you can create and the types or formats available seem to be exponentially growing. How does someone decide what is the best kind of content to provide this piece of information?
If you liked this video, please give it a thumbs up on YouTube. And let me know in a comment below. I really sincerely hope that the content of today’s video will help you move forward in your content creation.
And as always:
Think outside the box.
Spread your wings and fly.
Because you — yes you — are capable of more than you know!
And that includes content creation.