87% of buyers of B2B services say your thought-leadership content can be fun and informative at the same time. Here’s how to make it so.
Can your thought-leadership marketing and business development content be entertaining and informative at the same time?
Yes, and perhaps it should.
The line between our work lives and our personal lives
We live in a world where there is still a line between our work lives and our personal lives, a line between what we would consider “professional” and what we would consider “personal.”
We’re not going to post on LinkedIn the same things we might post on Facebook.
We’re probably not going to talk at a work event about the same things we might talk to our family and friends about at personal social events.
And even with COVID, where we have been virtually invited into other people’s homes with video calls, there’s still a line between our work lives and our personal lives.
Traditionally, legal thought-leadership marketing and business development content has adhered to that line. It is rare that you’re going to see a lawyer, law firm, or a legal tech company present an article, a blog post, or a client alert in a way that’s informal and that rivals something you might read from a newspaper columnist, an online lifestyle publication, or your favorite blogger or newsletter author.
This kind of thought-leadership content tends to be formal, buttoned up, and stuffy. Must it be? Is there room for more fun and more entertainment in the thought-leadership marketing content that lawyers, law firms, and legal tech companies publish?
Yes, there is. Lots of room.
Three ways to safely erase the line between professional and personal in our thought-leadership content
The Edelman public relations firm and LinkedIn recently released their 2021 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. There are many interesting findings in it. But for our purposes, a notable finding is that 87% of the global business executives interviewed said that “thought leadership content can be both intellectually rigorous and fun to consume at the same time.”
That’s an invitation for all of us to think about how we can make our thought-leadership marketing content more entertaining to the people who consume it. But how can we infuse entertainment into our thought-leadership content without coming across as too jokey, or offending the consumers of it, or undermining our perceived authority?
Try these three strategies.
Observe the “Dad Joke Rule”
We all know what “dad jokes” are. They are the corny, cheesy jokes our dads make that might get a laugh while causing an eye-roll. However, they are not offensive and they’re not going to rub anybody the wrong way.
If you observe the Dad Joke Rule, you commit to telling non-offensive jokes that do not make anyone (except maybe yourself) the butt of any jokes. These jokes are rated “G” as opposed to “PG-13” or “R.” They are meant to warm up the relationship between you and your audience by making them smile while they gain insights as they read your content.
Discuss shared experiences
If you know the demographics, including the socio-economic demographics, of the audience you are talking to, you can make entertaining references to pop culture that you know are likely to resonate with that audience given your shared life experiences, normally in the form of analogies, metaphors, and similes.
If you are talking to people around your age, you can make references to the shows you were watching in your teenage years or your experiences at college. If you know you’re talking to people who have kids or own a home, you can make references to things kids do or issues that arise when you are a homeowner.
By making light of shared experiences, you entertain the consumers of your content while also establishing a bond built upon you and them experiencing the same things in life. Combine this bond with the authority-building nature of thought-leadership content, and you may be able to create both an emotional case and a rational case for the consumers of your content trusting you and giving you their business.
Use an informal style
If you are uncomfortable going the dad joke route or the shared experiences route, that’s ok. You can take baby steps before you start walking.
You can simply write your content in a less formal style. You can write it more conversationally than what tends to be the norm for thought-leadership marketing and business content.
But when I say “less formal,” I’m not suggesting you write your thought-leadership content the same way teenagers write their text messages. I’m thinking more like the style and tone you would use in a conversation you might have with a colleague over lunch or with a friend over drinks or coffee.
Don’t try too hard to be entertaining
While I’m suggesting you incorporate fun into your thought-leadership marketing and business development content to see if you can make it more entertaining than the standard fare, you must remember that we’re still talking about a professional marketing tool.
This content is not the forum for you to try out a stand-up comedy routine. This is not where you should spend a thousand words reciting a monologue about something your spouse or your children did.
This is not an invitation go “blue” and use expletives, or crack sexual jokes. This is not an invitation to make jokes at the expense of people—whether individuals or large groups.
Rather, focus on making little quips in your content that people smile at. As I mentioned above, make analogies, use metaphors, and try other attempts at humor that are non-offensive and that flow within the larger piece of content you’re writing.
Informative + Entertaining = A formidable content strategy
Remember, the whole point of thought-leadership marketing and business development content is to position yourself as an authority in the minds of your target audience. You want to position yourself as someone who knows about the issues your clients, or your referral sources’ clients, are struggling with and as someone who can help them overcome those issues.
But guess what? It wouldn’t hurt if the target audience of your thought-leadership content enjoyed being entertained by your content while they were consuming it and (hopefully) learning from it.
In addition to showing them that you have the intellectual chops to help them with their legal and business problems, when your thought-leadership marketing and business development content entertains your target audience, you begin to build a rapport with them that can make them that much more likely to want to work with you.
And that, my friend, is no joke.
Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a content strategy and ghostwriting service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service sets free the knowledge and wisdom trapped inside Big Law and boutique law firm partners by collaborating with them to strategize and ethically ghostwrite book-of-business-building marketing and business development content.
Thinking about bringing on an outside writer to help you craft entertaining yet informative thought-leadership marketing and business development content? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside writer is the right move for you and your firm.