Jay Baer & Sonja Jefferson: Great writing starts with empathy (Zest #31)


I met Sonja Jefferson and Jay Baer, two of today’s top content marketing experts, at WeContent 2019. Sonja has 20+ years of experience creating content for global brands and has co-written the award-winning book Valuable Content Marketing.

Jay Baer is a New York Times best-selling author of six books. His Convince & Convert Media division owns the world’s #1 content marketing blog & the world’s top marketing podcast.

In between speeches and coffee breaks, Sonja and Jay shared some of their writing secrets with the Zest listeners.

Photo credits: Andrei Zafiu / WeContent


Highlights:

Sonja Jefferson

  • Great writing starts with empathy.
  • The feeling of the imposter syndrome is so much bigger than I expected. But try to focus on the audience, on what they need. Focus on the people you’re trying to help.
  • People worry that they are not good enough for their peers. But that’s not your audience.
  • I have to plan myself into clarity.
  • Make sure to keep your content purposeful and focused, with a real person, real audience in mind.
  • It’s about knowing your audience, but also about knowing yourself. It’s finding the people who have the same sort of values. Forgive yourself if the audience selected is a bit wider at the beginning.
  • I’m always listening to my audience. It’s not just content I throw out into the Internet, it’s content answered to a specific need or question.
  • The publishing industry should focus on authors more, not just on the readers.
  • Recommended:
  • Try cold water swimming! 🏊‍♀️ ❄

Jay Baer

  • Write a book about ONE THING and explore that idea fully. Especially for business. A lot of books are about a collection of things and it’s a lot.
  • The best business books are full of stories.
  • Content that wins is the content that the consumers will talk about. That’s the test.
  • I keep a list of the questions customers ask us and, eventually, patterns will emerge from those questions. I use that as a basis for my speeches and, eventually, books.
  • Most people would write a book and then write a speech based on the book. I would write a speech, test it 20, 30, 40 times and then I would write the book based on the speech.
  • I listen to the questions people ask after my presentations and I ask them: „What specifically have you learned?”
  • The mistake a lot of authors make is that they promote a book by saying „This books exists now”. You have to make it clear to the readers how that book helps them.
  • Hug your haters. It doesn’t matter what you create, some people are not going to like it. Embrace it.
  • Recommended:

Listen here:

Spotify https://spoti.fi/2BjRRjr
iTunes https://apple.co/2Bg3zvn
Pocketcasts https://pca.st/7ss0
Stitcher http://bit.ly/2G5z4MH
Overcast http://bit.ly/2G4nLEx
PlayerFM http://bit.ly/2WE6gjl

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