I know what you’re thinking, this is total bullshit.
Content creation is about giving your clients what they want, right? It’s always about the client. There isn’t a day that goes by when the client doesn’t come before everything: your own child (in my case, dog), your personal safety—in essence, your actual life.
“Bitch, don’t you dare deviate from your client-centric purpose”
I read a lot of posts that talk about this (I don’t ever finish the posts because I’m usually so fucked off by them). One post, in particular, got me a little bent out of shape. The author was repeating the standard marketing party line:
“Create content that your clients want to consume”
How can you possibly know what ALL your clients want to consume?
But marketers say that, and as a content writer, I’ve said it—up to a point. And that point is my own fulfilment. I often wonder if some digital marketing types actually believe the stuff they peddle but that’s for another post.
You come first.
I have a keen sense of self. I revel in my own autonomy and I have no problem creating boundaries, or saying no. I have established all of those good habits despite enmeshment family relationships.
I don’t accept that the client always comes first, in the same way, I don’t think the customer is always right. It’s only after you build a decent relationship with your client that you value them and they, you but before that happens, it’s all about me—sorry, you. No one wants fake empathy. The obsession with putting potential clients (strangers) before your own desires is weird.
In the context of the content I put out for my business, my first thought is always, is it worth me getting out of bed for? If I only think about what my audience wants, and not what I like to create, what incentive do I have to carry on doing it? We all know that marketing needs a consistent approach, that’s another thing we hear on repeat. I’m not some selfless, altruistic person when it comes to how I make my living. Who am I kidding—I’m not like that in life!
If I’m just doing what my prospects want, what’s in it for me?
Content creation for me first doesn’t mean my audience disappears, they don’t sod off because they’re upset that I’m enjoying myself. They’re not sending me angry DMs stating that I didn’t put them first. Some of them are enjoying it too.
For the record, the DMs I get are…
“Do you have a softer, less scary side that’s more appealing to heterosexual men?”
“Would you be up for a synergistic business opportunity?”
If your ideal client works in cybersecurity, you’re probably banging out tailored content on that subject.
Let’s suppose the medium you use, is the one you like. Sadly some of that audience won’t engage with it. That’s because everyone is different, including people in your niche. If your media is primarily video, there will be a few Katrinas and Ahmeds in cybersecurity who hate video content.
So what do you do, do you stop creating video content because some of your target audience hates it?
You could vary your media to try and grab more of that audience. Ultimately it’s up to you but you could carry on doing what brings you joy and accept that you can’t please everyone. You’re lucky if you please a fraction of your audience, but pleasing yourself is always a good place to start.
Find your thing.
You don’t have to pick one thing, go and experiment, the point is to find something you like to do. I write, so it’s no surprise that I like text posts but I also like to make videos, and they’re often not business-related. And the reason I make those videos is because it’s fun. They make some people laugh believe it or not and I get a kick out of that.
I’m actually giving some of my audience what they want but I’d stop pretty soon if it was a chore to do it. Once you create content you like, you will then be in the best place to bring your message to your audience. We all want to give our clients something useful, and of value, it’s up to you to decide how you do that.
What is value?
I am really opening up a can of worms with this one.
Value is another overused word that has been stripped of its meaning. Value is perceived differently by different people.
Free tips and resources are valuable, making someone laugh is valuable. Your audience isn’t going to agree. Not only does it change per person, but each one of those individuals will see value differently within the context of each product or service they buy.
You can’t provide blanket value.
The content you like to consume is a great guide when you’re creating your own material because if you like it, chances are others will too.
We are all someone’s audience. You’re more than qualified to know how to create engaging, valuable content.
Let’s wrap this up.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know that I promote the freedom to just be. Yes, there is best practice, especially when it comes to things like SEO. You can’t just do what you fancy with organic traffic but your content should have fluidity. If you’re rigid about marketing practices you’ll end up sounding like everyone else, you’ll be using words like ‘authentic’, ‘mindset’, ‘entrepreneurship’, and ending your posts with ‘agree?’.
If you don’t break out from the marketing crowd you’ll forego your individuality, and we need that now more than ever. So, do what you want first and your audience will follow.
I’m a freelance business content writer at The Sarky Type®. My thang is SEO-informed blurb that sets your words on fire (ablaze with LOLs and engagement not to be confused with real fire that destroys everything in sight. Metaphors are better when they don’t require explanation. Note to self).