One of the most engaging and effective forms of communication is sharing information. Useful information.
That doesn’t mean advertising, special offers, or ‘never to be repeated’ promotions. It does mean information, education and insights.
Look at it this way, when you pick up a newspaper, do you turn straight to the ads? When you’re browsing online, does your heart leap when the ads pop up? Unless you’re very much in the minority, the answer is almost certainly a resounding ‘no’. What we value in our journal or site of choice is the information, the insights, the education, the entertainment.
‘I don’t really have anything worth sharing’
One of the things that stops leaders and businesses from sharing information is thinking they have nothing to say – I have heard this common misconception many, many times. But every single time that I have gone on to talk in more depth with someone who’s uttered those words, I have found them to be untrue. We all have specialist knowledge and insights that are worth sharing, and are of value to an audience. We all have a unique perspective – sharing it might just be the trigger that the reader needs to clarify their own thinking, or the missing puzzle piece in their understanding.
Finding your ‘valuable information’
1. Observations of the changing business landscape
As a business leader, especially in a time of change and flux, you’re probably speaking to a lot of other people and organisations – clients, suppliers, staff, industry influencers, developers, manufacturers, distributors. You’ll have insights that others may not have had the opportunity to uncover. You’ll see patterns of behaviour, especially as business adapt to the new normal.
Business strategist Michele Carson of Influence realised that COVID-19 would impact businesses in three waves. She knew that businesses could tailor their response far more effectively if they understood these waves and shared her insights through a webinar and a blog article.
2. Solving a new problem
Your information might be about how to solve a new problem that your audience now needs to address. Videographer Tim Harris used his YouTube channel (previously used to showcase clients’ videos) to help people who found themselves thrown into the world of zoom meetings and webinars, by making and sharing tutorials to ‘inspire and educate busy professionals with all things video on their device and desktop’.
3. Interpreting someone else’s useful information
Don’t feel that the information always has to be your own original research. If you come across some useful third party information and can contextualise it with your own commentary, that is just as useful to your audience. They’ll remember that you brought it to their attention, just as much (probably more) than they remeber the original author.
Government engagement specialists, Mia Consulting knew that when the Victorian Government announced its ‘re-prioritisation around eight missions’ in response to the COVID-19 crisis, this was really useful information for the Mia audience. But they also knew that the original publication might not be seen or its import fully understood by everyone. So they added their own interpretation in a blog article that focussed on what the Government’s announcement meant for its suppliers.
4. Giving a taste of your ‘secret sauce’
Sharing useful information may be giving some insight into the skills that you offer the market. This form of information sharing makes many people nervous. ‘That’s my IP and if I give it away I’ll miss out on revenue’ they say. Of course, you don’t want to give away the recipe for your secret sauce. But unless you let people taste the sauce, how will they know how good it is and actually buy it? Unless you share some of your insights, how will anyone know if it’s worth engaging further with you?
StudioHawk is Australia’s largest dedicated SEO agency, experts in helping businesses to get found online. As an award-winning SEO agency, they’re in demand. Yet they ran a live SEO audit webinar, where they analysed attendees’ websites and gave them tips on how they could improve their SEO.
Of course, there will be people who’ll read, digest and enjoy what you share, without ever engaging commercially with you. But they were probably never going to do so anyway. At least if you share, they may tell others about how helpful and knowledgeable you are.
Use your judgement of course, but I would tend to err on the side of generosity.
How to share
The final step, once you’ve realised you have useful information, is how to share it. Some of the most effective communication tools are
- LinkedIn – either a short post or a full article – or other social media
- A blog on your website (the LinkedIn article repurposed)
- A newsletter or eDM
- A presentation or webinar
- A white paper or eBook – particularly good for a more in-depth exploration of a topic and something that will have a long shelf-life.
You’ve almost certainly got something to share and I hope the four categories above have triggered some great ideas. If you need help with getting the right words out, we can help you with our content writing service. Think your communication strategy as being like a newspaper – what your audience primarily wants is information. Valuable, insightful, useful information.
Information that only you can give them.