It’s not easy. But it’s not magic either. The problem is there is just so much of it out there, how does your content ever get noticed, read/viewed, and even shared?
Audiences are picky, fickle and easily turned off. They want to see something amazing, relevant and easy to digest quickly. And that is your job – to create just that.
While there are no guarantees, there are few “rules” that will give you a much better chance. Here are six of them.
1. It’s Not All About You
You have topics of interest, you have something to say, you have a certain sense of humor and you have a tone and style. But here’s the thing: it’s not all about what you want to do with content. It’s all about what your audience wants to see and how they want to see it.
So, the first rule is to get the focus off of yourself and to get into the heads of your targets.
2. Know Your Audience
Today, this is far more than developing a customer persona that identifies age, gender, income and education levels. While this will tell you something, it is not enough. Today, you have to get much deeper into their heads. And gathering relevant data is easier than ever. You need to understand:
- Their values
- Their purchasing behaviors
- What brings them happiness and what concerns them
- Where they hang out online, and when
- Who they follow online and what they have to say in comments and conversations
- What inspires them; what makes them laugh; and what motivates them
You cannot create relevant content until you really understand your audience. When you accomplish this, you will be able to come up with content topics that will attract and engage.
3. You Cannot Write for Everyone
One mistake that content writers make is they try to write for a wider audience than they should. Once you have your audience persona fully detailed, consider that to be one person. And write with that one person in mind.
4. Use Your Authentic Voice
You cannot be someone you are not. You have a workplace culture and environment; you have a tone and style of speaking and writing that must be consistent with that culture and with your brand. The language and tone of a conservative organization such as a traditional bank will not be the same as that used by Jack Daniels or Under Armour. Stay true to your brand with your “voice” in all of the content you create – formal, informal, a bit irreverent, etc.
5. Now the Content Itself
If you have a solid understanding of your audience and your “voice,” you are now ready to craft that content.
- Begin with an amazing headline
Journalists get this. The headline is what first grabs the attention of a reader. The online news media service, Upworthy, generates 25 potential headlines before it ultimately selects one. There are a number of title generator tools out there. Do not think that they will create a perfect one. Instead, use a few keywords, get a list of titles, and use those to get your own creative juices moving about.
- The initial paragraph
Here you can take some lessons from great authors. They know that their first words and sentences will be critical to capturing their readers’ attention. And your first words and sentences must do the same. State a shocking statistic; craft a humorous or inspirational anecdote.
- Use visuals whenever you can to replace text
People process and retain visuals far more than words. They will remember a stunning photo, a humorous explainer video, memes, gifs, etc. Make your points with visuals as much as possible.
- When you do use text, you know the drill
It must be divided up into small sections with sub-headings and bullet points. You will overwhelm your reader if you don’t. And the vocabulary must be simple too. Write like you are talking to a friend. You want to use words and phrases that will resonate with your audience, and unless it is composed of scientists, dump the big words and jargon.
6. Creativity is a Must
Some believe that creativity is an art that is inherent and cannot be learned. This is not true. You can develop creativity in writing, but it does take time and a measure of inspiration. If you are creatively-challenged and need to write text, get the help of a professional, perhaps from a writing service that has a great creative copywriting department. Check out top writing services reviews before you settle on an agency that can provide what you want and need.
In the End…
There is no perfect formula for creating content that will resonate so much with your audience that they will become ardent followers and share all that you craft with their communities. Much of your efforts will involve publishing content and then testing the popularity results so that you can repeat the best and modify that which is not working.