Is your client or boss telling you your content needs to be more “compelling?” 


And you’re going, “What does that mean?”


Many writers get stuck in the technical weeds of writing — nailing spelling and grammar just right or searching for the best turn of phrase. They lose the bigger picture, and it sends readers fleeing in every direction (except toward your content). 


In business writing, we can’t forget the number one consideration: Communicating a message clearly to your audience. And the elements we use to do that are where compelling content originates:

  • Meet the needs of your target audience
  • Teach them something new
  • Enrapture them in the narrative

Altogether, these elements give you the skills and abilities to respond to your boss’s feedback with a piece that makes them go “Wow!”

Meet the needs of your target audience

Remember: your reader, whether they’re newer to the industry or a grizzled veteran, will come in with expectations on what they’re looking for from a piece. Writers need to communicate within the boundaries of those expectations. 


For you as a professional writer, that comes from understanding the industry you’re writing about. So, do your homework:

  • Regularly review industry publications
  • Sign up for relevant newsletters
  • Watch what competitors produce
  • See how they all structure their content and speak to their audience.


And then experiment with your content. You’ll gain more knowledge working to apply those learnings than just banking them up.

Teach them something new

Your readers also want to discover something new or to be surprised by what’s in the piece. So, surprise them with a unique take they haven’t heard of before. 


If you’re saying the same thing everybody else is, then why should your reader waste their precious time with you?


Yeah, it’s a creative risk (and potentially a bit of business risk, too) to take a unique stance. But you wouldn’t be in business unless you had something different that you believe sets you apart from your competitors. 


Lead with those differences, and mine them for interesting takes you can add to your content. 

Enrapture them in the narrative

Time is your reader’s most treasured commodity. Don’t waste it with a lullaby of a piece.


People want to receive value for the attention they pay you. Reward them with an engaging discussion of the ideas in your content. Direct them through an easy-to-follow flow that takes seemingly little effort to do but leads to a big payoff. Don’t lean back on lazy language or bury us in word count


Make your engaging, enthralling — and fun (when appropriate).


Most B2B writing sucks at this element because people worry they won’t sound “business-y” or serious enough for potential buyers. You could have the best product or service in the industry, but if buyers have to suffer through your content to discover that fact, then you lost them anyway.


Buyers are people, too — entertain them with your content: 

  • Nail the hook in the first two sentences. 
  • Use great, relevant examples. 
  • Make them feel the pain you want to solve for them. 
  • Connect all this with clear transitions that guide me to the destination.


That’s the stuff people come back and read again and again.

Reward readers’ time with compelling content

Review that content piece your boss or client said wasn’t “compelling” enough. What do you see now?

  • Missing transitions to hold and keep a reader’s attention?
  • No unique or insightful take to teach them?
  • Off the mark on the expectations they have?
  • Is the message relevant and urgent to your target audience?


Adjust these elements, and watch compelling content emerge from word salad. Your readers will thank you. And your boss and client will love you for it.

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