Starting Point for Great Content: Nobody Has Time and Nobody Cares
By Craig Landes on April 17, 2019 in Content Strategy, Writing
If you’re reading this, you are probably putting off a long to-do list, or this is the 18th tab open in your browser, and/or you are quickly scrolling through at the end of a long meeting/day/commute.
So first off, THANK YOU! You are honoring me with your time and attention (and also helping me make my point, right off the bat!)
Last month I posted a quick video because I had a sudden revelation. I realized that my approach to content creation–which hopefully translates into good, memorable writing–involves starting with two negative assumptions.
- Nobody has time
- Nobody cares
My Dad would tell me, “That’s stinkin’ thinkin’!” But these assumptions play a vital role in how I approach any given topic for a client or for myself.
They force me to think about my audience first.
We’re all busy, and there are plenty of other things people could be doing besides reading whatever it is I have to say. And why should they care? Dang, we’d better get some answers on this!
Saying “I’m so busy” is the currency of our age. It makes us feel important. The truth is, we’re not so much super-busy as much as we have so many choices available to us to clutter up our time. So we do become busy–yes with projects and hustle and getting things done–yay us! (*eye roll* in case you didn’t catch the sarcasm.) But we’re also busy with those things that just fill up our time and our social media feeds. We’re often busy heading down wormholes of escapism/information. That’s not a judgment, it just is the reality we are living.
So whatever I’m sharing has to cut through that time clutter. I have to hone in on the target audience that needs this information at this moment, in the midst of all the other stuff that is taking up their time.
“Nobody cares!” sounds like the kind of negativity Anthony Robbins would want me to break through. Wayne Dyer, don’t be displeased, from whatever astral plane you inhabit now!
But starting with the assumption that nobody cares forces me to create something that cuts through that attention clutter to find those nuggets of truth that the right people will find and find interesting.
So those are my starting points in creating good content. There is SO MUCH competition for time and attention out there. Remembering that your audience is armpit deep in that reality should help you make the most of your words.
First, figure out who you need to reach with your message. Then, with that ideal audience persona in mind, overcome their time and attention objections with the clearest and most compelling message possible. They deserve it!
That’s what I do. I start with where you are coming from–busy with your day, your goals, your interests, and all the crap you have to do whether you want to or not.
It sounds simple, but when you are under deadline or just not feeling inspired, it can be tough to keep the audience in mind and create something that fascinates and delights.
But that’s the job! When you’re at that point, take a few beats (or get some sleep, honey!) When you get back to it, keep these two simple negative assumptions in mind and deliver a message that the right people will find the time for and truly care about.
Because for the right stuff, we all have the time, and we care deeply.