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Should You Write Content That Interests You Or Your Readers?

Unfortunately reaching out for ideas in your brain is not as simple as plucking a record from your favorite music album (Enrique’s Insomniac, anybody?).

Old reference, I know. You can go ahead and switch this old school music library with an iPod in this analogy. But you get what I am saying, right? It’s not easy.

To add to the writer’s worries, the idea that your brain finalizes has to pique your readers’ interest too.

Fail over here, you fail the entire inter-galactic universe of readers.

Or is it?

Some people talk about what they want, and folks love them for their candid posts.

So what should you do, really? Write content about what your heart wants to sing-song about or focus on the words that your reader wants to read?

The case for writing about what your readers are interested in

But what with:

“There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”

as Hemingway famously said?

Google this issue, and you will instantly get your answer. Write what interests your reader. Since I am a full-time writer, I know this is one hundred percent true.

The internet is a crowded fair and people don’t have the extra cognitive currency to spend on reading posts that are centered around someone else’s interests only.

They don’t want to listen to your complaints. They already have plenty themselves. Readers want to read something that solves their problem. They want value, and they want it dressed in an engaging writing style.

So random musings written on a note won’t do.

The case for writing what you like

Long after computer screens have snoozed and the old lamp is all that illuminates the pages of a book, folks want to read what strikes a chord with their heart.

They read old tales and fantasy novels. They consume biographies and your experiences.

That’s why J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a household name. That’s why people burn through the pages of Twelve Years A Slave.

So, aren’t people reading what the heart commanded the fingers to write? Aren’t they connecting with your stories, your emotions?

The connecting point between your and your audience’s interests

There is one point over here that you may have missed. It’s the spark of relatability that connects the writer and the reader.

People like what they can relate to. What they can connect with. Something that strikes an emotional chord.

This is why Kaz Brekker from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows is every girl’s favorite. Or, the shopaholic from Sophie Kinsella’s chick lit series is such a hit.

Because the characters and the plot are three-dimensional, and as complicated as in real life.

Because Kaz is that strong guy, who loves his girl to bits. He’s strong. He’s influential. And, he knows how to make his place in a cruel society.

In a nutshell, he’s everything that a girl wants.

Taking a leaf from my Facebook page

Outside the content world, even before I knew that writing could make me a living (without having to publish a bestseller novel), I administered a Facebook Page.

content creation

I wrote and put up random musings with my sister. And, it was a hit.

Why? I wrote content that I liked, but I also wrote what people liked. Something they could relate to.

This page taught me two major lessons about content creation:

  1. Write at an emotional level so people can connect
  2. Write about what people like (mostly sad and dark in this case) paired with what you like.

So, I guess with point #2, we are getting somewhere.

Write about something that aligns with both your and your audience’s interests

Put simply, you need to blend your interests with your audience’s questions and create content for your business. Here’s a visual representation what I’m suggesting:

write content

Referring back to the FB page, I wrote:

What I liked: Beautiful literature. I wanted to write something deep.

What readers liked: Dark + sad and how the world is in reality without any filters.

To reiterate, write at an intersection of where you and your readers’ interests meet.

Some pros of writing content that you like 

  • You can write better
  • When you write better, you provide more value to your audience
  • You get to write about what you want to write about

Merits of writing about what readers like 

This is self-explanatory but:

  • You get greater reach, more readers, and better engagement
  • From a business point of view, greater leads and conversions

For the love of examples

Yes, we’ve already discussed an example. But let’s illuminate the matter with more instances. I have two in mind. SlackHQ and Trello’s blog.

Both solve their audience’s problems, but they write content about themselves as well to show how useful they can be.

write content

Source

Slack solves it readers’ problems by providing how-to pieces (Check the green tile). At the same time, it talks about itself – how it works and how it can solve the user’s collaboration problem (look at the bottom tiles as examples).

Similarly, Trello talks about updates and events (Plan A Vacation With Trello post on the left), showing personality and giving insight into their business (The Trello Team Toolkit for example) and helping solve their audience’s problems (The bottom two posts in the screen shared):

content creation

Source

Top tip for writing content about yourself

There’s no denying that you have to talk about your experiences. Of course, the reader knows that you have put the piece together based on your knowledge, experience, and research.

But too much of ‘I’ puts you forward as a self-absorbed person.

Think of it like having a conversation with someone who only talks about themselves. Repulsive, right?

Too much of ‘I’ can be a turn-off. Therefore, sprinkle it sparingly.

Wrapping it up

To conclude, write what you like to write about, showing who you are to add to your business’s personality. Meanwhile, mix in content that the readers can relate to, connect with, or get some value from.

What’s your take on the matter? If you’re not sure how to go about creating content for your business, feel free to drop me a line.

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