Start A Conversation With Your Users

I’ve always loved coffee. The smell first thing in the morning, the taste. Ah, it’s fantastic. One of my favorite places to go with my friends is our local coffee shop, Brown. But there is something even better than the coffee at the cafe. Something that makes the reason going for a coffee worth it. Something that organically happens I go and sit with my friends: conversations. We always end up having great conversations. It just happens, we actually hardly ever go with the intent to just talk. But the environment is so conducive to having a conversation.
And it’s those conversations where we talk honestly, openly. I bet more people have been broken up in Starbucks than any other place. At least it happened to me that way when I was younger. Despite the breakups, the environment is perfect for a honest conversation.

I’ve always noticed something interesting. We don’t talk online like we do in a coffee shop. Everyone is trying to build their brand these days. A lot of people are online trying to promote their work and it all comes across like a loud shouting match, not a conversation.

We are constantly trying to turn the conversation back to us. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat are all based around the idea that it’s all about me. I am at the center of this world. Which causes us to craft out an ideal picture of our life. One that doesn’t reflect who we truly are.

And I get it. I’m not going to post to Twitter every time my wife and I have fight. But I will post photos of my vacation or a #WCW post. As a real person, I have fears about things, I have desires to do things, and I want to engage people.

Last week I wrote about building an online profile for your audience. Today, I want us to focus in on the next step: pick a person to have a conversation with.

Often when we are writing online, we are not really focused on writing for any specific person. Usually we just try to write anything that comes to mind, lacking focus, clarity. And our message or idea doesn’t really resonate with anyone.

First step: create a profile for a specific person.
Second step: focus on writing to that person.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

-Don’t write in a formal tone. Unless you’re really trying to reach PHDs, write like you would talk.
-Understand their pain points. By trying to learn all we can about their pain points, we cna speak to them with empathy.
-Imagine your user is sitting in the cafe with you. They are across the table, looking you in the eyes. Speak to them as a friend.
-Don’t sell them something. Just have a conversation. You’re not there to just get them to buy something from you.
-Write about something that they can use. Offer them something of value and they will trust you more.

About the author

Jesse Orndorff

The founder of Glean, an agency for change. Formerly Innovation Program Manager at DAI. He's now focused on building technology and startups that work on challenging issues and doing social good.

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Jesse Orndorff

The founder of Glean, an agency for change. Formerly Innovation Program Manager at DAI. He's now focused on building technology and startups that work on challenging issues and doing social good.

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