As a professional freelance writer, I know the way to continually improve is by doing lots of writing (meaning it’s my full-time gig) and ongoing learning (because it’s a gig that changes daily).
This comes with a tough realization. Despite continually honing my craft, there are people out there who will still choose to work with a competitor of mine: “Good Enough”.
Good Enough can be a worthy contender. Many people write reasonably well and know how to get at least part of their story out to the world. I am the first to say doing something is better than doing nothing at all. I also agree that Good Enough has a place in our lives when we need to protect our own well-being. I could write the book on perfectionism; I highly recommend against it.
Good Enough and I have a love-hate relationship, much like I do with other things in my life that aren’t good for me if I over-indulge (chocolate, wine and certain people come to mind).
What I can say is that when I work with clients and prospects, Good Enough isn’t at the table. There are many reasons for this but the most important, for me, is that since these people have given me the honour of helping to craft their message, I owe it to them to create the very best story I can.
In an email marketing webinar I recently attended, Carlijn Postma founder of The Post, a Norwegian content marketing agency, pointed out that while just about anything can reach a target group, it takes a lot more work to build an audience. In her words, “I am a target group to many but an audience to only a few.”
Your audience only allows those in they know and trust. You can only build that trust with meaningful, relevant content that is all about them, not you. The challenge here is to balance telling a business story that humanizes your product or service with a compelling reason for consumers to buy the solution you’re offering because its going to change their lives for the better.
In my experience, this requires more skill than just a surface-level piece of adequate copy or content marketing. It’s even more important if your audience has shown signs that they’re not that into you anymore.
Here’s my approach for clients who want to go beyond good enough.
- I ask a lot of questions and listen to the answers, during which the big picture of what we need to do starts to form. I may ask some things that haven’t been considered, and that may cause some discomfort, but working past that is necessary if we’re going to get to a better place. Things might get messy before they get elegant. These extra steps aren’t for everyone, hence the lure of Good Enough.
- I dig a little deeper than might be possible without some extra help. This includes interviews with others who are part of the story and a look through the latest research — to inform the narrative but also to assess what’s been done and how we can do better.
- I make sure that whatever we do aligns with the brand and its purpose and answers questions the audience might have regarding why they should care about the solutions that are being offered.
- I’ll bring the audience into the story—because again, it really is all about them.
So in answer to the question Good Enough: Is there a catch? I would humbly, and with full disclosure as a writer for hire, say yes. The catch is that you should consider some outside help to take you beyond good enough when you would rather not go — or just don’t have the time to go — beyond the first draft to the deeper layers of a story to really make a difference. It may also be that you need some additional expertise, an outside perspective, or the stakes are just too high to shoulder the writing all by yourself.
If you still want to work with Good Enough well, good enough and good luck! You are welcome to use the steps I’ve suggested to help ensure that what you’re saying has purpose, aligns with your goals, achieves results, engages and shows your audience that you truly care — because if you don’t care enough about the quality of the story you’re telling them, who will?
I’m one of the lucky ones, having worked with many people who are making a difference in the world (see below). I’m grateful they’ve put their trust in me to help tell their amazing stories.
If you’re ready to say good-bye to Good Enough and you’d like to talk about how MightyWrite can help create your business story, send me an email or visit mightywrite.ca and fill out the contact form.
Every project we do is customized to our clients and their needs. It begins with a conversation.
Who wouldn’t with this view?
With thanks to Mary Ann, Jan and Rona
I don’t hire Leanne to do work for me. I partner with Leanne to create great work. I get her involved at the brainstorming stage and she stays with me through writing to publishing. For the past decade Leanne has supported me with everything from a blog to web content to an entire book. Her work in interviewing over 100 key informants ensured that this book was much more than my personal perspective. Her attention to detail and to getting the facts straight is a testament to her professional integrity. Leanne also walked the talk of psychologically safe work by being especially supportive during a difficult time of my life that happened to coincide with the writing of this book. I am forever grateful.
Mary Ann Baynton, Mary Ann Baynton & Associates
Working with Leanne Fournier was an extremely positive experience. She is meticulous, thoughtful, and scrupulous. I felt I was in perfect hands. She understood the sensitive issues of mental illness and workplace-triggered depression. Each time she made a change, she ran it by me, giving me plenty of time to review and comment on her edits. I couldn’t have worked with a better writer and editor.
Jan Wong, Author and Professor
Leanne’s empathy, listening skills and knowledge of the perplexing mental health landscape made her a first-rate storytelling partner. At every stage of our work together, I was struck by her respect for honesty and accuracy.
Rona Maynard, Speaker, former Editor of Chatelaine and author of My Mother’s Daughter