Be a baker, not just an eater. Paraphrased from Guy Kawalski, formerly of Apple, in an interview on CoppyBlogger today (http://www.copyblogger.com/guy-kawasaki-enchantment/#more-16673), this struck me. Here are 5 ways for health and wellness professionals to be bakers and reflect their love of baking through written communication.
- The Recipe Sets the Mood for the Party In other words, know your audience. Know the mood you wish to set with your written communication. Do you want to communicate a sophisticated ballroom soiree? Or an energetically-charged fiesta? There’s a big difference between tacos and faux grois. Chose words, topics, styles, and discussions that reflects the ambience (eh-hem, your brand identity) you wish.
- Select the Best Ingredients Reputable facts, thought-provoking insights, expert contributors, timely topics. Content is king, as they say. Select the best content possible. Build trust through quality content that challenges your readers to act.
- Don’t Forget the Secret Ingredient… Authenticity. Don’t try to make souffle if you’ve never boiled an egg. Your guests would far rather indulge in a huge “Sally’s famous walnut brownie (aka: doctored Dunkin Hines)” than suffer a flat puddle of chocolate in a cracked ramakin. Dig deeper and deeper into what you know. Add layers to your expertise instead of trying to be all things to all people. Use a voice that is true to you and your company. Your customers will sense this and, hopefully, come to trust you and your product.
- Taste test Nothin’s worse than thinkin’ you used sugar when you really used salt! Does your writing ring true to you? Does it really communicate what you want it to? Is your intent clear? ‘Cause if it ain’t to you, it ain’t to your customers. If you think you web article reads flat like a fallen cake, guess what? If you think it doesn’t make clear the action to be taken? You’re customers won’t know to top their pound cake with that gummy looking red sauce over there either. Did you really shed light on alternatives to Ritalin? Or did you just write about strategies parents have more than likely already tried.
- Presentation, Presentation…We Eat With ALL of Our Senses. In most cases, unless you are dealing with a sophisticated audience that you know is seriously interested in research and in-depth understanding, you are going to be writing in simple, visually clear chunks with subheadings. In today’s world, most people are inundated with information. They scan, key in or…tune out. Bullet points. Short paragraphs. Subheadings. Clean pages. Resources or links to read further. You’ve got to draw them in first. Nobody’s going to rummage through your cupboards to find the croutons for the salad. They’re not digging through the freezer to unearth the pint of chocolate cherry chunk ice cream that works beautifully with your flourless chocolate cake. Set the table. Artfully display your selections. Select the perfect garnish.
- ***MAKE ENOUGH TO SHARE*** I am willing to bet that there is not a baker in this world that likes to bake a 5 layer German Chocolate Cake just so he can eat it all by himself. Hey, but I’ve been known to hoard an entire package of Double Stuffed Oreos. Thus, the MAIN DIFFENCE BETWEEN BAKERS AND EATERS. In health and wellness writing, you must, must build trust. You must position yourself as a “friendly expert”. If you gorge the entire cake, or even snag the last piece, you’re going to have a lot of party goers RSVP, “Can’t make it!” to your next gathering. Share information with the intent of educating and informting. Share credit. Give fellow collegues, experts, and, yeah, even competitors a nod if the situation calls for it. Partner with other professionals. Give assistance, guidance, resources to your consumers. Share yourself, your business selflessly and you will find yourself and your company, all the fuller.
- Enjoy Your Guests Don’t just stay in the kitchen, join the party! Respond to blogs, tweets, editorial comments. Pay attention to the conversation, know your customers even more deeply, read the subtlties of language. Attend functions and write about them in an “events” section on your blog or newsletter. You can’t do that by hiding behind a spread sheet. You can only do that by hanging up the apron and putting on your party shoes.
So, don’t be just an eater. Don’t show up to a party with Tupperware ready to take home leftovers. Don’t anchor yourself to the buffet table. Set the stage, share the joy, pass out the goodies. And, at the end of the evening, plop on the sofa, put your feet up on the coffee table and delight in time well spent baking and sharing. You’ll feel so very, very full!