Are you bothering people with your content?

Do you ever feel like you’re bothering people, when you create/share content?

A participant in my Authentic Content Marketing Workshop wrote:

“Consistency of communication is my key reason to be here. To hold myself more accountable to this and get over the problem I have with feeling that I am bothering people by sending them content via email or other means, even if they have signed up for my list!!”

Your audience is part of your audience because they want to hear from you:

  • Your newsletter subscribers want your newest content
  • Your Facebook friends are interested in your opinions
  • Your business followers on social media want to hear about your business

Especially when you create and share content in these ways:

  • from a spirit of helpfulness
  • or a desire to connect
  • or an intention to delight them

This is true of everyone that is subscribed to your newsletter or follows you on social media:

1. People are bored… even if they’re busy. Some time during the day or night, they are looking for something that might pick up their spirits, educate them, or entertain them… something that makes them feel or makes them think.

2. People are hurting… and looking for a solution from you. If they are subscribed to your email list, that means they are either actively wanting to get out of some current pain (which you can help them with), or they are at least interested in learning more from you.

3. People like you… If they are following you on social media or subscribed to your email list, they seek your perspective, and they like your presence. Otherwise, they wouldn’t still be following you or subscribed!

When you create content, first bring to your mind and heart someone specific from your ideal audience. Maybe it’s one of your best clients. Or someone who comments on your Facebook business posts, and might be a prospective referral source.

  • Can you see that person in your mind’s eye? What do they already know about your area of expertise, and what don’t they know, but would love to?
  • Can you feel in your heart what they might be feeling, when it comes to your area of expertise? (Are they scared, overwhelmed, excited, eager, passionate, etc?)
  • What’s going on in their life/work/relationships/health right now, that is relevant to the kinds of things you talk about?
  • Is there a major current event in the news right now that they would care about, that is somewhat related to your area of expertise?

What could you share that would be helpful to them right now, that you’re qualified to talk about, more than an average person in their network?

By creating content with your ideal audience in your mind and heart, and what you know about their situation, you are being of service.

You are genuinely wishing to help them, connect with them, or delight them.

When you’re of service, you’re a blessing, not a bother.

It’s also good to be aware of some basic etiquette around sharing content…

How often is too often to share content?

  • Email Newsletters — are you sending it more than 2x per month? (One every other week?) Unless they requested a weekly email, I wouldn’t recommend more than 2x a month. In my email newsletter signup I ask subscribers to choose monthly or weekly, so that I align expectations.
  • Social Media — are you posting more often than most people? Posting more than 2x on Facebook in any given day is increasingly a faux pas, and so is posting more than 3x on Instagram, more than 1x on Linkedin. See the latest advice: posting too often on social media?
  • Private Messaging — this could be FB Messenger, text/SMS, individual email, Linkedin private message, etc. Are you sending content privately to people who didn’t ask for it? If they don’t already know you, then it’s bordering on spam, unless you’re sending a thoughtful, customized outreach about a possible collaboration. If they do know you (friends, colleagues, classmates) it’s fine to privately send content you think would be relevant to them, maybe once every few months. If they’re subscribed to your email newsletter then of course follow the frequency etiquette there.
  • Posting about your business — Don’t post about your business on your personal social media (e.g. Facebook personal timeline) more than occasionally, not more than 5–10% of your posts… unless you are setting the privacy of those posts specifically to the FB friends who want to hear about your business. To learn how to do that, watch my Social Media Caring video. (On the other hand, it *is* acceptable for you to post often about your business on your FB Business Page, of course.)

Evidence that you are *not* bothering your audience:

  • Email Newsletter — each time you send one, you get fewer than 1% of the recipients unsubscribing. That is normal. However, if you notice that your Open Rate is going down and down over time, that just means you need to care more in your content. You’re not bothering them, you’re just boring them.
  • Social Media — if your follower count continues to organically rise (without buying ads specifically to increase follower count) then you’re doing fine. However, if the proportion of engagement in your content doesn’t rise with your total audience, then again, the problem is that you need to care more in your content.

In summary, create content with your ideal audience in mind and heart, and share it with them at an expected frequency, and you will be a blessing to them.

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George Kao

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"