Ten tips to help you create unforgettable written content.
There’s a science to writing great content that helps you achieve your marketing goals. It’s a science we’ve been honing for many years, across almost every conceivable format and channel.
But regardless of your medium of choice, the same rules usually apply. Here are ten principles to help you create compelling content that will quickly get the attention of your target audience.
1. Hook the audience straight away
Headlines are your most powerful tool in hooking your audience, so make them interesting and try to evoke curiosity, but don’t overdo it. Your headlines should be short, punchy and to the point.
2. Make life easy for your audience
Use all the tricks in the content creation box as ‘signposts’ for your audience – headings, sub-headings, abstracts, pull quotes, summary boxes, key facts boxes and bullet points to break up long copy and help draw your reader in.
3. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes
Help your audience understand the importance and urgency of the issue, how it affects them and what action they should take. You’ll need good summaries, manageable chunks of copy and active language.
4. Match the right content to the right channels
All content, whether viewed on a desktop or a mobile, should be precision-made to suit your audience, wherever they consume it. There’s still a place for lengthier content as long as sentences and paragraphs are concise, well-crafted thoughts. Repurpose your content for each of your key marketing channels and make every word count.
5. Think about stories not facts
Talking in facts doesn’t help differentiate your content from others. Truly engaging with your audience is much easier when your communications tell a story. Research shows that the human brain processes stories differently than lists of facts, and this helps us to remember the information.
6. Curate your web content carefully
Websites too often become a dumping ground for information. Instead they should follow a meaningful editorial policy and be planned like other forms of marketing communications. It’s about quality, not quantity.
7. Remember that not everything is tweetable
While there’s an important role for digital and social media to present headlines and sound bites, the value of thought leadership is often in the detailed analysis. This is not always possible in a 140-character tweet.
8. Let your successes do the talking
Involve your clients or customers in your marketing. People want to understand how other organisations are addressing a particular issue and your client successes are often a valuable source of insight. So make the most of them. It’ll make your customers feel good too.
9. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time
If you know your content works and is well thought of in a market, think about how you can apply the same format for other services, sectors or regions. Tweak the content to get the right messages and tone of voice to suit your specific audience(s).
10. Find a good editor or ghost writer
Content is often written by a mix of people and most of them probably won’t be trained writers, so expert editing can make all the difference to the quality of your copy. A good editor will structure a story effectively so that it answers the relevant ‘who, what, why, where, when and how’ questions. And if you’re fed up with waiting for those words of wisdom from the MD or star performer within your business, make life easier for them and find a ghost writer to interview them instead.