Nick Morgan’s great book, Give Your Speech, Change the World, not only teaches what it takes to become a great speaker. His lessons apply equally to effective content marketing.
Poor presenters and mediocre marketers share certain traits.
- They cannot explain concisely why their audience should care about the information and services they provide.
- They lack focus.
- They do not understand their audience.
- They are more focused on themselves then on their audience.
- They fail to engage in dialogue with their audience.
- They don’t urge their audience at the end of their presentation to take specific next-step actions.
It might seem obvious that speakers who exhibit the traits above would do poorly and probably bore their listeners to tears. But, as marketers, we too often exhibit the same bad behaviors.
Here the six content marketing lessons we can take from Nick’s book, “Give Your Speech, Change the World.”
- Develop an elevator speech that drives all of your marketing, branding, and content creation efforts. Most of us have a vague idea that an elevator speech is what we use to introduce who we are and what we do in the time it would take to ride up 10 floors on an elevator. That’s good as far as it goes, but Nick puts us on the right track with an anecdote illustrating the need for every speech to have an “elevator speech”. He was riding in an elevator with a fanatic golfer on the day of his speech. The golfer noted that there was a great golf course nearby and asked, “so tell me, why should I attend your speech?” Nick answered,
“Because if you attend my speech, you will learn how to give presentations without fear, presentations that move your audience to action every time.”
Perhaps, another way to think of the elevator speech is that it’s your brand promise–what your customers can and should expect from you. That needs to be simple, relevant, and compelling.
- You have to understand your audience in order to communicate effectively with them. Nick insists that it’s vital that you learn everything you possibly can about your audience before attempting to communicate with them. Too often we begin with a feature set that we assume is important to our customers without having done the necessary research to know what they really care about.
- You must forget about yourself and be focused intently on your audience. Thus, great speakers pay attention to their audience and lose their self-consciousness. They continually observe their reaction to the presentation so that they can continually adjust and reengage their listeners.
The same continuous listening is a fundamental component of content marketing. Fortunately, such tools as “Google alerts” and Twitter let us monitor in real time how our customers are reacting to us, to our products, and to their top issues and problems.
- Use compelling stories to engage your audience on an emotional level so that they will remember and repeat what they heard. From our earliest bedtimes, we have loved hearing wonderful stories–and have learned from them. Decades after college, I can still remember wonderful stories my favorite history professor told that kept all of us engaged throughout his classes.
We need to wrap our messaging in great stories that our customers will love, remember, and repeat. Our customers may not remember every benefit our products provide, but they will remember well-told stories about how one of their colleagues solved a problem, saved a fortune or found the perfect solution.
- Engage your audience in dialogue so that your presentation is completely interactive. Your listeners want to be more than listeners. They want to be active participants.
This applies equally to 21st-century marketing. Our customers want to engage us in conversation. They do not want to be unwilling recipients of one-way product-focused communication. Moreover, these two-way conversations enable us to improve the quality of what we sell and how we sell.
- Conclude your presentation with action items for your audience. Don’t let them leave the room after a long drawn out Q&A session. Instead, finish your presentation by getting your audience to take specific actions that will begin their journey toward solving their problems.
Of course, this is equally important for online content marketing. It is vital to encourage your Web visitors to take an action that will move them toward a solution to their critical problems–and ultimately lead them to becoming customers. These actions might be subscribing to an eNewsletter, downloading an e-book or white paper, or signing up for free webinar. Each of these actions brings them closer to a solution and to you.
Nick Morgan’s book, Give Your Speech, Change the World, is must reading even if the only presentations you give are inside your company. If you follow his superb advice, you will have an excellent shot at changing the world around you.
Also, be sure to check out Nick’s blog for ongoing advice for all of us who need to communicate effectively in public.