What's your content manifesto?

Friday Scribbles: What’s Your Content Manifesto?

Every Friday, we’ll deliver some of our thoughts on content marketing, curate a few interesting articles we’ve come across (from the legal industry and otherwise), and tell you what we’ve been up to.

Vibrant and engaging content doesn’t just inform the reader; it also captures attention. Fascinating content that draws the reader in is difficult to create in any industry, but in legal and other professional fields, it can be even more daunting. The information you have to convey is complex, both the writer and, usually, the reader are crunched for time, and it is often easier to rely on the crutch of obfuscatory legalese and jargon than to simplify and explain concepts for the reader. (As Blaise Pascal explained, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”) And let’s face it—when you’re writing for a paying client, you don’t have to be all that engaging: your client was already interested enough to pay for your time.

But it’s a different story when you’re trying to convince an audience to give up their precious time to engage with your content. You need to be relevant, interesting, and valuable to earn their attention,  time, and business.

So, what should you do?

Start with a content manifesto.

A manifesto succinctly states your beliefs and articulates your methods. It identifies your purpose, so your audience will know whether you’re a good fit for them. A content manifesto immediately defines your relevancy to your audience. If you don’t (yet) know why you’re relevant, then, quite simply, you won’t draw an audience.

A solid content manifesto begins with the words “We believe” and completes the sentence with a strong definition of your purpose.

Stumped as to what your purpose is, exactly?

One way to distill your purpose is through an iterative interrogative process termed the “5 Whys,” which was championed by the Toyota Motor Corporation to develop its manufacturing process. It is a tool that you can use to uncover your organization’s central mission. Simply repeat the question “Why?” at least five times to reveal the core tenets of your organization.

For example, a large products liability practice section might ask itself:

  • Why do we defend products liability cases?
  • Why is that important to us?
  • Why does that matter to us?

This may be simple, but it isn’t always easy. Answering these soul-searching questions will have you delving deeper into the meaning of your work. It’s an exercise that requires critical, deep thinking and demands that you work to define and differentiate yourself from your competitors—enabling you to cultivate an audience that resonates with your values.

Once you can clearly and simply articulate your core principles in your manifesto, you can create content that delivers on these principles. Your content decisions will flow from your beliefs and drive your mission forward.

Don’t be alarmed if, as your business evolves, you find yourself revisiting your manifesto. It’s likely to change as you continually adapt and refine the focus of your business and your goals.

Ten years in, here’s the current iteration of our manifesto at Scribe:

We believe in the value of the work our clients do—and we want to help them reach more of the right customers. That’s why we strive to build a bridge that connects good businesses to prospective customers by educating, building trust, and breaking the complex down into powerful, creative, yet understandable content and thought leadership.

What’s new this week in the legal industry?

Looking for some (more) tips to improve your content marketing?

Need something to talk about while you’re shopping for holiday gifts?

So, what has Scribe been up to this week?

  • Being inspired by ediscovery heroes
  • Revising an end-of-year fundraising campaign for a major nonprofit
  • Uncovering the problems behind having an ISO standard for ediscovery
  • Reviewing copy for a major law firm’s new risk management service
  • Learning about digital preservation, thanks to yesterday’s second annual World Digital Preservation Day

If you’re stepping back and rethinking everything about your business so you can start the new year off right, please let us know. We’d love to see how we can help!

Published by

Kristin Walinski

Kristin Walinski is the CEO of Scribe, a recovering lawyer with corporate and law firm experience, and a prolific content marketer focused on helping law firms and legal service providers build their brands through strategic content marketing initiatives.