Empathy and Imagination: How to Think Beyond Your Demographic to Create Client Pleasing Copy
Whether you’re a writer who pays the bills from blog posts, or email marketing copywriting, when it comes to churning out a high volume of content to the same audience, it’s easy to experience burnout. Sure, we all like writing to our natural strengths and interests, but what happens when you run out of things to say to your chosen niche audience of moms, carpenters, or home owners? One way to expand your content writing comfort zone is to actively cultivate your sense of empathy as well as your imagination. Not just the stuff of creative pursuits, these “soft skills” can actually help your stamina and eventually increase your content writing earning potential.
Cultivating a sense of empathy for people unlike yourself can be tremendously useful when tasked with writing content outside of your own demographic. Let’s say you’re a married man in your 40s who works part-time as a content writer. What could you possibly have in common with a young single mother looking for the best deals on products for her home? By thinking about the basic realities of another person’s life, their struggles, their wants and needs, you can come up with more meaningful ways to reach out to the target audience your client is trying to reach. One way to do this is to create an “avatar.” Come up with an idea of a person who may read your content, and try to flesh out a realistic backstory for this type of individual. While this can be initially time-consuming, it can also be a good way to stretch your writing abilities and get you over the feeling of resistance many of us encounter upon seeing orders that we don’t know anything about. Are you a happy apartment dweller with no interest in real estate? The ability to think about the fears and desires of a new home buyer can give you the insight you need to successfully write content for the real estate industry and expand your reach as a writer.
Imagination As a Bridge
While we don’t often think of content writing as being “imaginative,” it’s actually vital to use our imaginations as a bridge between ourselves and the people who will ultimately read our content. Empathy is, at its heart, an act of the imagination. We can never truly know what any other person thinks and feels, but we can imagine ourselves into other people’s lives and situations. When faced with a challenging new assignment, think about the audience until you can get a clear idea of who will be reading this, then allow your mind to wander, to imagine what it’s like to be that person, and what they most want to read. Forget about yourself for a moment, and allow yourself to imagine your way into someone else’s head. Not only will it give you more organically persuasive copy, it just might make you a more compassionate human being.
Caitlin C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.