Say what you will about Donald Trump – at least he’s not boring. And in his campaign for President, he’s proving the old public relations saw true: There really is no such thing as bad publicity.
Love him or hate him, people can’t stop talking about Trump. Every time he opens his mouth, Facebook and Twitter explode. The media covers him like it’s their job (because it is), giving his campaign millions in free publicity.
America’s inability to stop talking about Trump has helped him defeat 17 other candidates to become Republican nominee in a little more than a year. Regardless of where you stand politically, you have to admit that kind of attention would be worth millions to your brand.
Now, contrast Trump’s approach with what most brands are doing online, and the results they’re getting. Brands are churning out content, writing post after post, hoping to connect and engage future customers.
They’re talking and talking, but no one is listening. You know it’s true – because you’re doing it too. You’re writing words. The best words. All the words.
And nobody cares.
So what’s the problem? Why isn’t your writing getting Trump-esque levels of attention?
Good Writing is Compelling Writing
Here’s a statistical fact I just made up: 99% of the branded content writing on the internet sucks. Chances are, yours does too.
Recommended for You Webcast, August 25th: Leveraging Your Existing Customers For Growth
Time for a quick gut-check. Ask yourself the following questions about your writing. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, there’s a good chance your writing sucks.
- Does your writing play it safe?
- Are you trying to please everyone?
- Does disagreement frighten you?
- Are you desperate not to offend?
- Do you really know your audience and its needs?
Good writing should engage. It should be compelling. If yours isn’t, it could be hurting you more than it’s helping you.
The bottom line is, if you’re writing about a topic you care passionately about and if you know your audience, your passion and insight will have an impact on others. They might passionately disagree with you, but at least they care about what you have to say.
If a gut-check isn’t enough to convince you, there are some data-driven ways to tell if your content sucks. If you’re not getting likes or shares, if no one ever comments or engages with your content on your site or on social media, if visitors come to your site and leave in a hurry: it’s not them. It’s probably you.
When BuzzSumo analyzed a million articles, they found that 75% of articles get no links and little to no social media traction. There are two types of articles that beat the trend: original research and strong opinion.
“Brands that go big on opinion, that have the courage to say what other’s won’t say, are getting attention,” says Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media “In our experience, research drives links and opinion drives social shares”
How to Stop Sucking
The good news is, there are three things you can do to stop your writing from sucking.
- Don’t be afraid to take a stand. Great writing always has a strong point of view.
- Stop softening your language. If you’ve got something to say, say it loud and proud.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks. Being unique makes your writing compelling. Disagreement can open a conversation. Connecting emotionally with your audience and their needs drives engagement. So be funny, be outrageous, be the devil’s advocate. Maybe even be wrong sometimes. Put your strongest opinions out there. Go for it!
A great place to start writing content that doesn’t suck is to try answering this question in your content: “What is the one question that people in my industry are unwilling to answer?” Be the one to answer the burning questions no one else will touch.
As Trump might say, it could pay off “yuuuge.”
Lessons from Donald Trump – Stop Writing Boring Content!