I've read a fair share of how-to articles about how to capture online audiences with great content. And I'd say 99.9 percent of them order you to "be interesting."
What on earth does this maddening generality mean?
To me, it means a lot of things. Which is why it makes me crazy whenever I see it in an article claiming to have unlocked the secret to great content.
What's more, "interesting" means something different to everyone. EVERYONE. It's very easy to direct someone to "be interesting," but how does that actually help someone trying to make true connections with people online? How can they possibly know what's going to capture the imagination of whoever happens to be viewing their content?
To me, "being interesting" is just the top of a much larger mountain that we online content creators are trying to climb every day.
In my opinion, there are a few pit stops on the journey toward being truly "interesting." And it all starts inside of you.
Step 1: Know who you are and what you're good at.
Trying to be all things to all people is never going to work. Focus. Truly assess your strengths and concentrate on being the best you can possibly be at those strengths. This holds true whether you're an individual or a business. When you're doing what you're truly good at, people will gravitate to your passion and natural authority on the subject.
Step 2: Talk about who you are and what you're good at with the passion and wonder of someone striving to be better.
When you know your own deal, and your own true talents, talk about them. Just don't be a pompous jerk about it. Bragging as if you are some be-all-and-end-all authority on a subject is a big red flag for fraud. Talk about what you love and truly strive to be helpful. Start a website. Blog. Use Twitter. Post to Facebook. Create webinars. Speak at conferences. But whenever you do, ASK FOR OPINIONS. Invite feedback. Facilitate a dialogue that allows truly interested people to talk with one another.
Step 3: Capture the right imaginations in the right places.
Ask your audience where they like to hang out online. Survey them. If you've started a blog with email subscription capabilities, poll that voluntary audience. If you have a website, put up a poll. Repeat periodically to make sure you're still on track. Let your audience guide the breadth of your online presence. If they don't really hang out on Pinterest, guess what? You don't really have to invest a lot of time on Pinterest. If you concentrate your time and resources on your audience's favorite online places to converse, they will inherently understand that you truly care about keeping them loyal to you.
Step 4: Be truly interesting.
When you are truly passionate about your work, you'll naturally find new and creative ways to express not only the fundamentals, but the new and emerging ideas in your industry or field. Be opinionated. Let your true personality come through. Relate what you do to the joys and struggles your audience faces in everyday life. Be vulnerable. Admit your own joys and struggles. Just be who you are: a unique human being.
What do you think? What are you doing to be truly interesting to your online audience?