When I was in college, I had one professor who stood out from all the others.
She was a fast-talking sister (of the Catholic variety) from New Jersey. I was taking a two-hundred level theology class with her, and her opening remarks to the class blew me away.
In retrospect, they shouldn’t have. But her approach to teaching was just so different from anyone else’s.
She stood in front of the class and said, “I will identify the person in this room who is working the hardest and has the best understanding of this material, and I will teach to them. They will set the pace. The rest of you will have to strive to keep up.”
And then she said, “Anything else would be unfair to all of you. I won’t ask the most committed person in the room to slow down. When I teach to them, everyone will learn more. If I teach to anyone else, I’m short-changing members of this class.”
She acknowledged that this might put strain on anyone struggling with the material and then listed all the different ways she would be available to provide extra help, made several recommendations for how they could be sure not to fall behind, and shared several resources the university had available to support them academically.
And then we dove into the material.
Now, I have to acknowledge that academics were a strong suit of mine. In most of my classes, I experienced days where we didn’t cover anything new and I felt dreadfully bored.
So, her approach was refreshing. A lot of my classmates resented this structure, but they learned more than they would have otherwise… and that was her goal.
She identified her target audience and made them and their needs her first priority. Everyone else was welcome to keep up.
She would have been a great content marketer.
Most content marketers slip up on the step she took in her classroom. She wasn’t afraid to alienate anyone as long as she was reaching the people who were committed… giving them her very best.
Most content marketers give in to the temptation of trying to appeal to everyone. They water down their message and even dumb down their material.
That’s always a mistake.
Instead, you want to identify the person who is excited about what you’re doing, who is more than interested in what you’re saying, and who is eager to keep up with you… and then strive to deliver what they want.
Will you alienate some people? Sure.
Will the people you attract hang on your every word? Absolutely.
And that’s when you’ll discover just how amazing content marketing can be.
Cultivating a big audience of lukewarm “followers” always produces disappointing results. Cultivating a smaller audience of excited, committed fans will deliver big results… and those results will just keep on growing.
Don’t be afraid to lose some people by giving the very best you have to the people who want it most.
New on the Site
Do you have dreams of full-time travel as a writer? For many, the two — travel and writing — go hand in hand. If that describes you, you won’t want to miss the two years’ worth of lessons Andrew Murray shares about writing and traveling full time.
LinkedIn is an excellent tool to help you grow your freelance web-writing business, and success begins with your profile. See how you can polish your profile to attract attention from the best prospects.
Your audience has three dimensions of thought, and the better you can tap into their existing thoughts, the better your copy will resonate with them and the better your results will be. John Torre identifies each one and shows you how to appeal to them.
Mark Your Calendar
February 21: These days, “freshness” is a big deal with the search engines. They want to see that pages on your website are given regular updates. This can mean a slew of new project opportunities for you. In this live webinar, I’ll show you how to go about optimizing an existing web page and I’ll talk about how you can start offering this as a service to your clients.
Around the Web
Want to get smarter about email strategy? You’ll find some good tips here…
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Most of these time management tips are pretty familiar, but #18 was new to me. What about you?
Search Engine Journal analyzes NASCAR’s content marketing, and shares eight powerful lessons. Check it out.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!