Social Media Examiner is a blog for marketers interested in making better use of social media, and it’s a quick daily read I’ve come to enjoy. What often surprises me is how the advice pertaining to social media can be applicable to a much broader array of communications topics.
An example: A recent post by guest-blogger Amy Porterfield offered five tips for creating “shareable blog content.” Having created executive communications to employees for many years, I was struck by how much better these senior-level missives are when they follow these same five principles. Let me explain.
You’ve told your audience what you want them to know; now, tell them what you want them to do – inspire them to take action!
Porterfield’s first admonition is to “build instant rapport” by being “personal, friendly and inviting – writing to one person at a time.” The best leadership communications I have read (or written) always demonstrate an authentic personality writing to a specific reader. If you can picture one reader and understand the impact your message may have on that reader, you can dramatically increase the appeal (or, at least, the effectiveness) of your message.
To ensure that readers return to your blog, Porterfield suggests that you “create relevance” by providing “engaging, actionable and relevant content.” In other words, she says, “make your posts meaty.” What are the proof points that support your message? What evidence can you provide to underscore your assertions? Senior leaders are used to being taken seriously, but that doesn’t mean the rules of logic and persuasion don’t apply. If you want to be persuasive, make your case with supporting facts.
Porterfield warns about “staying off the tangent train.” Social media done well provides “high-quality content in bite-size pieces.” Employees often complain of information overload. An effective executive cuts to the chase with a clear, concise message.
Porterfield also suggests occasionally using content that isn’t directly related to business concerns but that is intriguing to you personally. For example, write about a book you find particularly interesting or about a conversation you’ve had with a customer. It’s a different take on communicating what’s important to the business in a way that can be challenging or inspiring.
How many executive memos have left you thinking, “So what?” Her last bit of advice: “Make your closing count.” Don’t waste the opportunity – include the call to action. A surprising number of senior-level communications miss this important opportunity. You’ve told your audience what you want them to know; now, tell them what you want them to do – inspire them to take action!
Porterfield ends her post by pointing out that better content leads to better results. Isn’t that what every senior leader is striving for?