Oct 17, 2019
This week on our micropodcast, 🌟The 4 am Report🌟, we speak to social media strategist and all around hilarious person, Denise Alison, about something that’s been keeping her up at night: the mountains of sub-par content brands and people are putting out that’s cluttering up our digital landscape.
Do you know the main reason content like this isn’t connecting with audiences?
To put it simply, it lacks personality. It’s not entertaining. It’s bland. 💤
All content should do two things: inform and entertain.
Most people do a good job of informing. But are they making it interesting? And going a little above and beyond to make the content experience enjoyable for the user.
If you want to get some content creation inspiration from an expert, on simple things you can be doing right now to up your content game and make your audience smile, give it a listen.
Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:
Denise: I think that by now most businesses and entrepreneurs, we figured out that we need to create original content and that means educating our audience on whatever it is that we're an expert in, passionate about or whatever it is we're all about. But when you're creating content you really have four things that you're trying do. The first is to educate. The second is to entertain, which you have mentioned and we'll dive into in a second. You also want to engage your audience and excite your audience. So entertainment doesn't mean that you need to be a standup comedian, you don't need to be juggling fireballs, you don't need to be doing cartwheels. It means that you need to capture the attention of your audience and that means that you can't just type or sit there or create your content like the professor on Ferris Bueller that nobody is listening to.
You need to capture their attention in some way. For me, like you mentioned, I do comedy so humor is what naturally comes to me. If that naturally comes to you, that's great. That can be a great way to connect with your audience, capture their attention. If you're not a funny person, then don't do that. You might be a really bubbly and compassionate person or there's lots of people do these cute things when they're like, “Hey love, I'm really not like that. So that wouldn't fit for me.” But it's really finding your voice, putting your personality into it and just being you not trying to be someone else or not trying to be like a really washed down version of yourself where you applied so many filters and edits where you sound like everybody else but like nobody.
Susan: 100%, it's all about that engagement and it simplifies engagement. I think it's such a big word and everyone keeps talking about it, but at the bottom of it an engagement is a conversation, right? You're looking to get a conversation started. You put something out there into the world, hopefully someone will say something back and then you've got it and if you simplify it that way and just try to do it the way you would actually have a real life conversation when you went into the room with a human being, you usually get it right on social media.
There was this funny video that we saw some while ago which was trying to superimpose the average Facebook interaction, which is just like, Oh, hello, someone comes rings your doorbell and you're like, I vaguely know this person. And then they're like, “I knew you from 27 years ago. We went to middle school together or whatever.” And then you're sort of accepting that and letting that person into your house. And it was, I guess, trying to make a security point, but you know what we're trying to say here is super impose your social media interactions into real life. And you'll handle it way better, right?
Denise: Yeah. Engagement has become one of those buzzwords that's become meaningless. I'm not going to walk into a party and say what I'm looking for today is engagement. And then again just engagement for engagement's sake where I'll say a phrase or a statement and then people are going to look at me and do a thumbs up and also say, yeah, great, great statement. And then that's it. Like you said, the purpose is to start a conversation and so not engagement for engagement's sake.
Engagement is like a word that social media has put on their interaction and really your goal is to start a conversation or to make that person feel closer to you, for you to feel closer to one another or connected. Get the ball rolling on, building that relationship based on some common points and hopefully they become a loyal customer at some point. Or maybe they become a collaborator or, a supplier or something or maybe they're just a supporter. But the goal is to build those relationships.
Will: Something else I wanted to talk about that I think is interesting for me. Someone who, I was trained academically to write and then I was writing PR using the CP Stylebook. It was almost like when I segued more into this digital side of marketing, I had to unlearn the rules that I thought had to apply - unlearn those rules of how to write properly. And I learned from Susan a lot, like when I saw her writing and I was like, this is so grammatically incorrect, but it so works for her voice for how she communicates. And my writing style is totally changed. I write for social media a lot more how I talk and I've found it really helped me find my voice on social and my voice for our company here as well.
Denise: Yeah, I mean you want your copy, so the written text on your social media posts just sound like you might talk. If it sounds like it's from a textbook, or something, you didn't do it right. So I've definitely had that struggle because I come from a world of academia as well. And the challenge for me was when I was doing my masters and writing a thesis and all of these things to my professors and peers or classmates, they tell me that my language was too casual. So okay, so got to put some big words in there.
And then I went to work for government and then they told me, well my language is too academic. Okay, you got to speak in government terms and use a whole bunch of jargon and the short versions of things, but no one else understands. And then when I became an entrepreneur and a marketer, it was like retraining my brain to forget absolutely everything, how to speak like your average person might or someone in high school or, not an academic or government person, but really sound like a real person, sound like me. And then when I'm writing it, to try to translate that as well. The hardest thing in the world for some reason is to be yourself both in video and in written content. So it's a really, really weird catch-22.
Susan: Yeah, I think you're right. It's like on video, it seems to bring out some of that imposter syndrome/vulnerability that so many of us have. I would rather write 1000 words about my deepest darkest feelings than go on video. And which is why on many occasions recently we'd had to push ourselves out of our comfort zone to go and do some slightly more casual LinkedIn lives. Because honestly, when a tool is new and people are interested, that's when you're going to leverage that “engagement”, right? So you got to sort of practice what you preach. But something about videos sort of things get most of us get a little anxious. And I know this is your particular zone of genius. So hit us with your tips. What is it that you're channeling that you'd like for the rest of us to do on video?
Denise: Yeah. No matter who you are, your first dozen videos are going to be a pile of garbage, and that's just how it is. Because you're talking to a robot and you don't know how to talk to a robot because you've never met one. And so really what you need to do is imagine that you're talking to one of your best clients or one of your best friends and not look at the camera, but just imagine you're having a casual conversation where you're informing that person. It helps you be a little bit more of yourself and who you are, and it helps you relax a little bit.
So on video, I mean there's a few other tips. When I first started, I would look incredibly nervous. So it was about forcing a smile on my face so that I'd actually smile because that's how I am in real life. Again, if you never smile in real life, maybe that's bad, but forcing a smile, knowing where to look - I know it is a little thing, but if you can look at the camera in a way that you're making eye contact with a person, that can go a long way - and having a little bit of a plan for what you're going to talk about can be really, really great.
Now you don't need to script out the whole entire thing. In fact, if you do that, you might have the habit of wanting to read it and then that's going to look really bad, but you also don't want to wing it because then you're just going to ramble on. Especially in a live where it seems like most people just click “live” and have no plan and are just rambling the whole time. You do want to have some kind of plan. So imagining a friend, making eye contact and having a bit of a plan - those will get you started on the right path.
Denise is a social media strategist, entrepreneur and part time comedian who loves getting entrepreneurs noticed by the right people on social media.
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