Many German brands talk about themselves on the social web: “We did this”, “We’re happy about that” – the self-centeredness in brand communication can quickly raise the question of relevance among readers. The honest answer is often: There is no real relevance for the reader. The content would also have made a good internal mail, an external effect remains questionable. If you communicate in this way, you lose out in the battle for digital attention. The solution: communication according to the “pull principle”.
Connect with Stefanie Soehnchen on LinkedIn.
In social networks, our content has two seconds to overcome the skepticism of users and arouse their interest. That’s not very much.
Anyone who presents messages in this contested field – the attention of the addressees – that do not immediately encourage them to stop scrolling and devote themselves to the content on offer is bound to lose out in the face of the overwhelming choice of alternatives.
This means giving away a valuable brand touchpoint every time. At the end of the day, it’s also a waste of resources on the part of corporate communications.
This can be avoided. And that is precisely when communicators go to work with a user-centric mindset even before writing a post.
However, such a mindset does not mean approaching communication purely “outside in” and only telling things that are demanded by the target group.
Of course, corporate content and messages still have their place in user-centric communication. They should only be packaged in such a way that the added value of the communication is real and, above all, easily recognizable for the reader.
Basics for user-centered communication
In the first step, communicators sort out what the corporate messages or focus topics are or should be. All too often, such messages were formulated a long time ago or are derived directly from the corporate strategy.
Identifying and evaluating messages can simply happen informally – or in an organized way, for example in a messaging house.
Once this part is clear, the target groups and associated personas should be determined. Here, too, there are often only vague ideas in the heads of some of those responsible, but unfortunately these have never been written down in detail.
If you want, you can use our free template for this purpose for persona development.
If you now know what the company wants to talk about on the one hand and what the target groups are interested in on the other, you can identify overlaps that are exciting for both sides.
These are then precisely the focus topics. When you talk about these topics, you can be sure that they are relevant to both the brand and the audience.
Writing content in a user-centric way
So equipped, you can now start writing. Almost.
Because writing user-centric posts is something new in most cases and does not happen intuitively. Very often, communicators grab a topic and start writing without really delving into the user-centric mindset beforehand.
Therefore, we recommend a structured approach that allows your posts to have greater relevance even in the first version:
- Define what the goal of your communication is in this specific case. Why do you want to tell exactly this or that? What does it bring to the company / brand to send the message?
- Think about which target group (or better: which specific persona) you want to address with the post. Who do you want to listen to you? Who do you want to interact with the content? The smaller the group of your defined target personas, the more focused your copywriting can be.
- Think about what might interest or motivate these personas about your messages.
- Write text that can serve both your goals and the target audience in terms of content.
Why user-centric pays off
It sounds like a lot of work at first, before you can hit the “publish” button. And in the beginning, it’s certainly more work than simply “writing it out”.
But it’s worth it: the return is an engaged community that has a lasting positive brand experience through your communications.
The posts will most likely generate – as experience shows – more engagement, more reach. And the comments you get will most likely be interesting for all stakeholders.
Presumably, your posts will be shared more often because they offer real added value and the community will spread the now actually interesting content.
If, on the other hand, you continue to communicate in self-centered “we-messages,” you have to live with the risk of being organically overtaken by competitors with value-added communication.
If you want to practice user-centered writing using the “pull principle,” you can use this free practice template.
For business-relevant communication content like this, why not sign up for our newsletter “FleishmanHillard Quarterly”, follow FleishmanHillard Germany on LinkedIn or Twitter, get to know our team on Instagram or visit our YouTube channel.