Content strategy and someone like you

How can you keep the attention of your audience? That’s a big concern for anyone publishing anything these days.

The following sentence caught my eye in The Content Strategy Take Back to Work Toolkit in a Northwestern University class that I took on Coursera:

In order to hold the attention and interest of an audience, the writer needs to speak in a voice the audience will recognize as someone like them.

Wow! That’s a vote for writing in the voice of a human being rather than an institution, unless you’re an institution trying to appeal to other institutions. I think this is an important lesson for financial services organizations to remember when communicating with individuals.

Still, I’m not convinced that statement is always correct. After all, even if I’m a casual, relaxed individual, would I want the doctor treating me for a serious illness to write in a casual, relaxed style? Formality and gravity might appeal more to me.

Someone like you?

What about you? Do you prefer content in which the writer appears to be someone like you? I’m interested in your thoughts.


Note: In 2020 I removed the broken link to the Northwestern University class that I had taken on Coursera.