I sometimes feel like everyone except me has drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid.
By: Jen Moss, Chief Creative Officer
I think it’s a writer thing. After 20+ years in the writing and editing business, I’ve noticed that a lot of us writers like to watch new trends — like AI, for example — from a bit of a distance at first. We let others rush in and gulp down each new tech fad like it’s a one-way ticket to heaven while we sit back and observe. Good writers know how to take creative risks. But first, we analyze, we assess, and we wait for someone else to fall over. Then we say, “I told you so,” as we calmly pick up the pieces.
I know, I know. The world needs doers, too.
So, if you’re in a rush, you can get AI to write this blog. It will be dull and possibly inaccurate, but it will get the job done on time. Honestly, sometimes, that’s all that matters. But real writers (humans) bring a different kind of value to your brand or organization — a much more strategic one.
Writers are the opposite of joiners.
We think independently. We won’t swallow your company’s messaging hook, line, and sinker — at least not until we’ve done our own research. But if you give us the space to work, we will look for holes in your theories. We will beta-test your assumptions. We will fact-check your source material and analyze the premise of your content strategy. We’ll look for relatable examples and high stakes that add up to a compelling story — one that engages your audience and complements your brand. We’ll make you look good, and we’ll do it in a way that is fresh, focused, and effective.
Good writers are essentially the lightning rods of branded podcasting.
Our job is to act as conductors; to identify important ideas floating around like electrical energy in the Zeitgeist and then connect those ideas to the fertile soil of your brand. This means tapping into something new, important, and interesting that an audience actually wants to hear. After all, YOU might be really jazzed about the latest flavour of coloured drink crystals, but your audience likely isn’t. If you want your podcast to gain momentum that goes beyond automated downloads, delivers real engagement, and stays out of the “advertorial” space, then leaning on an excellent writer (and surrounding creative team) to tease out a story that actually matters to your audience is imperative.
So, how do you make the most of the writer in the room?
You ideally want to cultivate a relationship where the writer gets to try out fresh, creative approaches in the same way that you occasionally take calculated business risks. That’s how you win. Chances are, what feels like a risk to you because it’s outside the norm of the content you normally deliver in a brand capacity, is the very thing that the audience will respond to the most. If you take the time to orient the writer by explaining your values, target audience, and the business challenge you’re trying to address, you can then sit back and watch what they come up with. It might seem out of left field. It might feel like you’re stepping out of your lane. It might not even be directly related to your product or service. But if you’ve hired a good writer, the story they tease out — and the way they tell it — will draw people to your brand. Not like hypnotized devotees, but like intelligent, discerning, curious audience members who are electing to spend time with a story produced by your company. This is a far richer, more meaningful form of engagement than clicks and downloads.
Today’s consumers want to feel they have chosen to walk with your brand.
They want to engage on their own terms, and they generally don’t want the content they’re enjoying interrupted by content that’s forced upon them. This is why brands need to pay attention to the potential of a well-written, engaging podcast that isn’t just a way to plug your products. The ability to provide entertaining, enlightening, and useful content positions your brand for success. Working with a great writer helps you tap into things like social relevance, pacing and tension, emotional stakes, character development, placemaking, debate, humour, and more. These are the qualities that comprise the lightning rod itself. The alchemy that writers bring can connect an audience to your brand and help you stand out from the millions of bland, product-oriented “branded content” strategies out there. These are the things that will help put your brand on the map.