In our previous post, we discussed how to avoid plagiarizing the works of others when seeking out inspiration from other sources online. There is nothing wrong with seeking out inspiration from other news sites and blogs that cover or write about your industry. In fact, unless you spend the majority of your time attending industry events, or you are a publicly-acknowledged industry leader that others seek out for guidance and inspiration, it is absolutely necessary to stay up-to-date on the most recent and relevant news and “chatter.”
What Do Your Readers Want?
Plagiarizing the ideas and written words of others is not your only concern when composing content for your social media accounts and blog, just as purely writing content is not your only task. You are also the editor of your blog and social media accounts, and it’s just as important to determine what your readers actually need and want to read as it is to properly compose and write the content itself. How can you determine what your readers want to read before you decide what to write?
Your Readers May Not Be Industry Experts
Although it may sound obvious at first glance, one of the first mistakes that many professional writers and editors of blogs and social media accounts make is confusing the relationship their readers have with the industry they are writing about. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, it is likely that you are an industry insider, and through your professional and likely personal interests you have an expert knowledge of your industry and therefore seek out insider, in-depth industry news. However, just because you are an industry expert and insider, are your readers insider experts and insiders? An even better question to ask would be, do your readers want to become industry experts and insiders? It depends largely on who your readers, and by extension your customers, are. If your business caters to the general public, or to customers who are the intended or end users of the products or services you provide in a general manner, it is unlikely that they are or want to become industry experts or insiders. However, if your business caters to other businesses, either as a wholesaler or specialty reseller, or if you provide products or services to a hobbyist or niche audience, your readers and customers may be interested in becoming insiders and experts.
What Made You Choose Your Industry?
Misunderstanding the interest of your readers can be disastrous, especially if your readers may be turned off or even scoff at information that is too casual or commonly known. For instance, if you sell candles, your readers may not be interested in the intricacies of the candle industry, or in the chemical makeup of your candles. But if you sell skis or snowboards, your audience may be very interested in knowing which companies produce the highest-quality skis and boards and which ones are using the newest manufacturing technologies and materials. A good question to ask in casually determining the level of interest your readers may have in your industry would be to ask yourself why you decided to become an entrepreneur within this particular niche or industry in the first place. Were you an amateur or hobbyist who decided to turn your hobby into a career and/or business, or were you interested in the industry for professional or other reasons? By placing yourself back in the role you previous occupied as an amateur or hobbyist, you can often more easily determine if your readers and customers share your deep level of interest or even passion for the topics and subjects you will be covering with your blog and social media accounts.