How Much Is Too Much Information?
This isn’t one of those posts about whether you should write long posts or short posts. Instead, it touches upon a professional question that many businesses find themselves confronting at some point.
That question is just how much information should they be giving away for free and how detailed should any articles they write be, whether it’s on their website or in a blog or even in marketing material.
It’s an interesting question and a telling question because almost all the time the question is asked it means that the person or business isn’t generating the type of money they think they should be making and start to wonder if people don’t hire them because they’re learning everything they need to by reading what you’re writing.
Let me ask you a question. How many blogs do you read? Are you one of those people who, whenever you need an answer to something, immediately heads over to a search engine and looks for the information you need to address your issue? Do you always understand what you’re reading enough so that you can fix your problem with no outside assistance?
I’m pretty good. If something goes wrong with my computer I can do the research for the answer and pretty much fix anything. I also have many years of working on computers so I’m not afraid to open them up and take some chances with someone else’s solutions.
If something goes wrong with my car… no matter how much I read I’m probably not going to be able to fix it. Just a month ago I didn’t even know where the fluid went for my windows; that’s just a shame.
The point is that unless you’re really popular or your intended audience are professionals who you believe can take your information and put it into practice without any help, there’s always business out there. If you’re a floor tile company that does installations, you could write out a step by step detailed synopsis of the process and probably 95% of the people who saw it still couldn’t do it. It’s more likely that if you’re going to get calls that they’re going to come from people who don’t read blogs to begin with.
If that’s the case, why do I recommend businesses write articles or have blogs on their websites?
It’s all about web presence. The more you have on your website, and the more that it’s pertinent to what you do, search engines will look at it, love it, and move you up in their rankings. Then, when someone goes looking for what you do, you have a better chance to have them find your website, contact you, and if you know how to land a potential sale you’re good to go.
I’m not saying that you always write as much as possible for everything. If you write too much on a sales brochure no one’s going to read it. The idea of brochures is to entice the eye and get people interested and curious and wanting to check you out.
You don’t write too much on an outline of what you’re going to do, nor put too much into a contract. Reason being, some companies will either use your words to compare them with what someone else is offering, even bargain with your words. Also, some companies will take your outline and put their own programs or processes together, and never take your call again. That’s happened to me; major lesson learned.
How do I decide what’s enough? It’s about two things. One, decide what you want to write about; two, write it. That’s it, plain and simple. Look at this article for instance. I’ve given some pretty good advice if I say so myself. Can you take everything I’ve given you here and put it into practice? Maybe, maybe not. Did what I write here give you an idea that I might have some knowledge that you can use? Maybe, maybe not; depends on your needs.
Overall, my advice is to write what you feel is necessary to get the point across. Don’t under-deliver, don’t over-deliver, but be as thorough as possible. And if you’re not certain, share it with someone you trust. You’ll usually end up being just fine.