Writing from the heart

Written by Hazel King

As new regulations come in to force that will bar you from emailing everyone on your contact list without their explicit permission, how can you create engaging content that will get readers ticking the ‘more info please’ box?

In the words of Bob Dylan, times they are a-changin’.

GDPR will be upon us before we know it – May 2018, in case you’re wondering – and is set to drastically change the way we address our target audiences. No longer will marketers be able to automatically opt people in, blindly emailing all and sundry with your latest campaigns in the hope of getting leads. You’ll now need their permission, and if they’re anything like me (with the amount of emails I swipe to delete on my iPhone, it’s surprising I don’t have RSI), that’s no mean feat.

So, how do you get people to say yes to receiving your content?

In my mind, the most interesting content is that which is drawn from personal experience. I don’t always want to be sold to. I want to know what makes a company tick. I want to understand how they think the industry is developing. I want to know what TV programmes they’re watching and what they’re eating for lunch.

Perhaps the last two are a bit far-fetched, but you get my point. Let people in to your company. Give them an insight into how your teams work together, what they’re talking about over their mugs of tea.

And when it comes to getting the copy written, get everyone involved. Have the sales guys write blogs about how playing sport has made them a better team player, ask the IT crowd to talk about their favourite online game and the platform on which it is built. Even the management team could impart some knowledge about the good old days and how they’re evolving to keep up with the kids. Be bold. Be emotional. Be controversial. After all, any publicity is good publicity, right?

And you don’t have to position every piece of content in a way that will generate leads. You want your prospective clients to engage in what you’re saying, so sometimes just writing about what interests you will be far more effective than writing something with a thinly veiled sales pitch as the conclusion.

By writing more emotionally-driven articles (although keep them loosely based on industry topics, no one wants you to divulge all the details of your most recent Tinder date), it’s likely you’ll engage with far more people across the wider industry. You might not appeal to everyone, but then again you don’t want to – you want to attract the right people and you want to leave those people wanting more. That way, they’ll sign up to receive more emails or direct mail from you, and then you’ll have that GDPR-required permission to spam them with as much content as you like!

I’m kidding, of course. But you will have their permission to contact them with more industry-relevant stuff and hopefully, by building a relationship through this kind of personal content, you’ll be able to convert them into sales, which is the ultimate goal after all.

And don’t forget, once you’ve created all this lovely content, you need to make sure the rest of your team is sharing it! It shouldn’t just be the job of the marketing team to distribute the content to the wider world, your sales guys, the digital team and those management bods should all be spreading the word via LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, homing pigeon...which ever works best for you.

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