8 Simple Tricks to Make Your Content Awesome
It's no mystery why content is so important to marketing these days. If you want someone's attention, you have to give them something to look at.
And that's probably why over 90% of businesses use content as some part of their marketing strategy. But, unfortunately, almost half of these businesses struggle with how to create content that actually engages their readers.* So, I've put together 8 tricks that have completely changed the way I write all of my content.
Wherever you are posting your content, people are looking for information that is useful to them — advice that will make their lives better. So, when you write, think about how you can help your audience do something that matters to them. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Good content requires that you to understand and have empathy for their situation.
2. Brevity + Clarity
In a culture that is drawn to top 10 lists and connected by 140 characters, brevity and clarity matter more than ever. Regardless of the service or product you want people to know about, there will always be other people who produce something similar. Highlight your defining key points to tell them how you're different and why that matters to them as quickly and clearly as possible.
If you don't know where to start, start with an outline. Regardless of the end length of your piece, the better your outline, the easier writing will be. The easiest way to go from idea to content is...
1. Single line summary
2. Add key points
3. Expand your points into sentences
4. Add transitions and smooth it out
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = your first draft
4. Primary Ideas First
Get to the point. Eliminate the distractions that come with all the added unnecessary fluff and get to your most important ideas right off the get go.
5. Write to One Person
Despite your imagination, groups of people aren't getting together to read your latest blog post. The ones reading your content are individuals sitting by themselves at their desk or on the couch, not the ambiguous masses. So, write to one person. Pick someone you don't have any trouble starting a conversation with, maybe your favorite client or even your mom, and start writing. Tape a picture of them above your computer and imagine that you're helping them with a problem and the words will start to flow. Just start, Dear mom...
6. Add Humor on the Rewrite
Trying to be funny, whether it comes naturally or not, can disrupt your flow towards the main idea. Just get your thoughts out on the first pass and then add all those comedic quips on the rewrite.
7. Write Regularly
If you want to get better at anything you have to do it often. The best free throw shooter in the NCAA didn't get that way by shooting from the line once a week. And a weekly habit of writing won't get you there either. Habits practiced once a week aren't really habits at all, they're obligations. Aim to write 30 minutes a day and it'll become a breeze.
8. Show, Don't Tell
When it comes to selling our product or service to potential customers, we can be quick to explain the features that make it stand out from the pack. But the truth is, none of that will really stick with them unless they can connect to it on an emotional level. People want to know how your product will improve their lives. Don't just tell them what your product does, show how is adds value to their lives.
*according to the 2014 annual survey produced by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute.