I thought I had had a great conversation and made an amazing new connection. Then my wife pointed out just how wrong I was. Instead, I made the oldest networking mistake in the book — and it turned out to be an amazing trick to create fantastic content.
How did I mess up? I spent most of the time talking about myself because I got overly excited. The funny part was, I could have sworn I spent most of the time asking questions. I thought the other person was amazing, but, as it turns out, they barely said anything at all.
Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves, and taking advantage of that is the secret to creating content that compels, converts, and causes people to engage.
Unless you’re super famous, self-centered content doesn’t work.
Just like spending an entire conversation in person talking about yourself, when you make content that focuses on you, other people are less interested. The difference is, online they simply scroll past your stuff or hit the back button instead of desperately trying to find a way to escape the conversation.
Yet the natural tendency is to create content that centers around something you’ve done, achieved, or are in the middle of doing. It’s highly interesting to you because it’s your life, and if it’s highly interesting to you, then others should also find it interesting. But everyone else is thinking about themselves, their needs, what they want, or how they feel, and you’re not as important.
Flip the script and cater to your reader instead.
Consequently, the easiest way to create content that people consistently engage with and are highly interested in is to make it oriented around the reader. Funny thing is, when you’ve created content focused on what matters to the reader first, they end up liking you more, for the same reason that I thought I had had a great conversation: the topic was me and the other person listened.
The question at the foremost of your mind needs to be: How can I help the reader’s life be easier, share in their emotions, or fulfill what they need or want? Doing so creates a magnetic appeal behind what you’re doing and hoping to achieve, whether that’s closing a deal or building a following.
The three highly effective ways to produce the content.
- Answer their most pressing questions with unique insights.
- Create content that supports their arguments, viewpoints, and marketing strategies.
- Solve their problem without asking for anything.
Google is the most highly trafficked website on the planet because it does one thing well: help people find answers to their questions. When someone has a question, they’re actively looking for something of immediate concern to them. By creating content that answers those questions, you’re creating something highly interesting to them by default. Do it while providing unique insights others haven’t shared before and you’ve created a fan.
The content creation strategy I like the most is creating content that supports my readers’ arguments and viewpoints, especially if they use it to market and sell their stuff. Writing articles that help others sell results in them sharing your post, quoting you (giving you expert authority), and doing it enthusiastically while they build on it.
That means more sharing, more exposure, and being seen as a true thought leader because you’re actively being quoted. That exposure means more followers for you and ultimately more sales for you. Plus, because it was someone else pointing them in your direction, you’re instantly more trustworthy.
Finally, just flat out solve someone else’s problem. The solution to the problem could be providing the information, a guide, tools, or actual work. For example, contributing insights and expertise to journalists without any expectation whatsoever for a mention or link. It could also be doing the work for someone and simply recording it while you do it.
Solving a major problem that is relatively minor work for you creates something beyond trust. It creates a situation where the person you helped is typically so exuberantly happy about it that they do the heavy lifting of referring and promoting you as much as possible — without you ever even having to ask for it.