I daydream about ideal content marketing writing clients.
Visions of thoughtful topics that allow me to be creative and helpful, a robust audience of brand followers ready to take it all in and a smooth editing process with teachable moments dance around in my mind.
When an email landed in my inbox from Everyday Health magazine, I pinched myself. Was I awake?
I’m passionate about health topics. I love to share my journey navigating chronic health issues, and they noticed. Then, just like that, I was penning a column called “Living Well With Rheumatoid Arthritis.”
Manifesting My Ideal Projects
As I read the guidelines to prepare for my first post, I realized I had to be brutally honest with myself and my readers about what it means to have a medical condition that affects me daily, in every aspect of my life. I had to write about myself — not some health study or new treatment option. There were no interviews to conduct. Instead, I had to listen to my inner dialog, and share it with my readers.
I was excited and terrified.
How would I be received? Would I be judged? How much would I share? Long story short, I dove into the project, baring my raw emotions, explaining daily choices and loving every word that was published. When my contract ended, I was genuinely sad and even a little lost.
Since that experience, I’ve had the pleasure of working with several content marketing clients who also want a candid look at real-life topics. The writer’s guidelines’ are often stuffed with popular buzzwords.
Authenticity. Engagement. Empathy. Honesty. Relatable. Genuine.
As a writer, I’ve found the best way to implement many of these ideas is to simply tell a story based on first-hand experience, often with a conversational tone. Sure, the facts and statistics come later in the text. But, launch with a narrative if you want to be relatable and drive genuine emotions from your audience.
Yes, talk about you.
How I Can Relate to You
As a writer, I know it can be difficult to break out of second or third-person mode to reveal personal insight. It can feel intrusive to have a client ask for first-person language or anecdotes from your life. Whenever I feel a little uneasy about sharing my take on a topic, I think about my reader.
Will sharing my experience give them confidence, make them feel empowered or less nervous about the topic they’ve chosen to read about? Can I help the reader in a comprehensive way by being open and honest about my experience with this topic?
If the answer is yes, I’ll start writing.
Do Set a Few Boundaries
Of course, I still evaluate how deep to dive or what direction to go, especially if the story goes beyond myself and involves friends or family. After all, they didn’t choose to become writers and spill their life stories.
But, I did.
When I first started writing content marketing assignments with a first-person voice, I was cautious and a little inhibited. Now, I’m more forward and blunt simply because I see the good it can do.
An email from an empowered reader might change your mind too.
How do you feel when assigning, or being assigned, an article with a first-person approach? Do you think this type of language resonates more with your audience than other approaches? Why? Feel free to comment below or chat with me on social media!