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  • Julie Levitch

Don't Make Your Customers Read Boring Stuff

Updated: May 10, 2023

I confess. I’ve written some yawn-inducing content. I’ve used blasé, worn-out words like “enable” and “deliver” and “maximize.” And I’ve woven sentences together with a low-bar hope of just having them make sense. In the words of a classic Iggy Pop song, I, at times, have been the “chairman of the bored” subjecting unsuspecting tech buyers to read my boring stuff.

I’m truly sorry for that. But let me explain.

While I’m not particularly proud of content that I’ve written that was less than inspired, it was more often than not the result of receiving sub-par messaging. In other words, I didn’t get a sufficiently robust creative brief or enough input from a subject matter expert to tell an interesting story.

Blah blog posts, weary web content, and so-so solution briefs usually stem from someone not digging deep enough to identify the “WOW.” This is the single, most important part of content development. We’re trying to sell innovations that are saving lives, making people’s lives better, changing the world! There should be plenty of excitement to weave into the story. Yet, we all still see plenty of enterprise content unfortunately loaded with mind-numbing phrases like “XYZ solution will maximize the ability of your team to deliver successful outcomes.”

I can promise you that every customer and prospect has read some version of that above line 500 times. They’re not only tired of this type of writing; they don’t have the time to trudge through the rest of the content to get to the punchline. What’s in it for them?

Perhaps the single, most important piece of advice I can give to marketers working with content writers is to provide them with the “WOW.” Don’t throw a bunch of facts and figures our way and expect us to synthesize a compelling story that will pique an audience’s interest. That’s your job. It’s the old adage of garbage in, garbage out. If you provide us a boring or non-existent story, your content is going to be boring. It’s as simple as that.

Invest in the time to truly flesh out why a product, solution, or service matters. Go beyond features and focus on real-life benefits for the customer. Then, get that story down pat. If need be, run it past others, and see if it stirs interest, conversation, or debate. If so, you may have something. If you get blank stares or shoulder shrugs, go back to the drawing board.

Only after you’ve done this work should you be enlisting the help of a content writer. It’s our job to bring this messaging to life with compelling words. I don’t care if it comes via a conversation, email, content brief, or cocktail napkin, we can take it from there. But identifying the story, the so what, the “WOW” is first and foremost the responsibility of the marketers who work with the writers.

Song of the Day: I’m Bored, Iggy Pop

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