I recently watched Oprah being interviewed by Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. Aside from it being very interesting to see Oprah on the other side of the interview process, I was interested to hear how she articulated her “vision” for what she’s been able to achieve. I’ll let you watch the interview, in fact I highly recommend it, but one thing that jumped out at me, is that she explained how she wanted to take big ideas, and break them down to help people identify themselves, and how they can improve and be better.
This was fascinating to me, as I’ve always tried to achieve exactly that with Ice Blue Sky, but obviously with a marketing focus and on a slightly smaller scale! I firmly believe that the secret to great content is great communication, and great communication that helps people (be it staff, customers, partners, consumers) is the result of the ability to take that big, overwhelming, complex idea or technology and break it down into easy to understand concepts, that are both interesting and relevant.
I used to work for a software company, and train customers from very large companies on very big enterprise software, and I always tried to use this principle when teaching. It made it more interesting for me too, breaking down complex and dry subject matter into stories and examples that those people in class would have experienced day to day. It was always interesting to see how much more lively and engaged people were when you were able to tap into their passion, I admit I didn’t always get there, but I learnt a huge amount about what motivates people.
What really resonated with me in Oprah’s interview, is that what you do has to come from an authentic place to be effective, which is one of the reasons there is so much “less effective” content out there (yes, I’m being polite). What does that mean? Being authentic is writing about things that interest you, that you’re passionate about, that you are curious about. It’s about sharing it with people because you genuinely believe it will help, and make a difference.
Not everyone is built to be passionate about technology, or supply chain, or retail for example, but those of us that are love to research it, uncover new ideas, and work with new technology that just might change the world. If you’re a good communicator as well, you can take this passion and align it to how people communicate, what makes them tick? What are their motivations? What do they need help with? The psychology of marketing is fascinating, and endless, working out how you find the balance that will strike the chord?
Summarised brilliantly (not by me) as hitting that spot with your target audience of what they want to do, and what’s expected of them. Get that right, and your message will hit home.