Are you giving away too much information?

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When is casual writing okay?

We were recently listening to Newfangled’s Agency Marketing Matters podcast on not giving it all away and it got us thinking: how much information is too much? Are you demonstrating your expertise or are you giving your readers enough information to confidently handle their problem without your help?

Here’s our take on how to give away the information your readers need (but ensure they still need you afterwards):

Explain the Concept Exhaustively

Show your readers you’re an expert. If a concept is difficult, explain it at length.

For example, if you help clients with Social Security disability claims, write a post about how the SSA calculates their monthly benefit. In your post, explain the calculation. Dive deep into primary insurance amounts and average indexed monthly earnings. Be detailed but clear. And give examples. In addition to showing what a complicated concept it is, it also shows your mastery of it.

Note: Remember that if you use jargon, always define it in layman’s terms. You want to demonstrate your proficiency; you don’t want to confuse readers into leaving your page.

How does this convert readers into customers?

There’s the old cliché that says no one will buy the cow if you give away the milk for free. But not if you tailor the information to your audience. That’s how I like to approach content I write and edit.

Here’s a quote from the Newfangled podcast referenced in the intro:

I think it comes down to the value of having a coach, you know? Being able to not only … I mean, there are a lot of really smart people that can go and kind of synthesize this information by reading it and then trying to apply it on their own, but that does require a lot of trial and error and I think to be generous enough with your expertise to demonstrate that you do know what you’re talking about kind of also inherently makes the case that you are the right coach to guide somebody through it and I think there’s inherent value in that.

Essentially, if you give your readers the information they were looking for, they might be able to go off and fix their problem alone. But if you can offer a helping hand, provide enough information to hook your reader and show you’re an expert, and then use that information to show why you’re the right person to coach them, giving away your knowledge is actually more valuable than keeping it close to the chest.

But remember, you need to present the information the right way. You want to convince your readers you can be that coach, which speaks to really knowing your audience. If you know your reader, you know what they’re looking for and, most importantly, how you can help them.

Show Your Value

Your reader initially came to your page for information. Of course, you should give them that information, but use it to convert them into a customer. For example, almost everyone expects dealing with the aftermath of a car accident (e.g., filing a claim, dealing with insurers) to be difficult, but not everyone understands just how difficult it is. While you explain how difficult the process is, show them your value.

If you are writing a page about what to do after an accident, don’t just write “you need to do this…” Instead, explain how complex it is and use language that suggests you will handle the process for them.

Consider these two examples:

1) After a car accident, you need to do the following:

  • Call 911.
  • Get medical care.
  • Report your accident to your insurer.
  • Gather evidence.
  • File your claim

2) After your car accident, do these three things. It will help us build your claim and protect your rights.

  • Call 911.
  • Get medical care.
  • Report your accident to your insurer.

This creates evidence of the accident and of your injuries we will use when we open your insurance claim. We also gather further evidence, interview eyewitnesses, work with accident and vocational experts, and more. We will also protect you from any tricks the insurer tries to pull to reduce your settlement. With over 30 years of experience handling car accident cases as lawyers, we have insider knowledge of how the other side works.

If you had to choose one of these lawyers to represent you in a car accident claim, which would you choose? The first one who simply tells you what you need to do or the second who explains exactly how they will help you?

Just put yourself in your reader’s shoes: determine what they want and then how you can help them.

As always, the method you use depends on your business and your readers. Get to know your readers and you will know how to approach giving away the information the right way.

For help with content marketing, give us a call: 888-521-3880.