Creating checklists may seem like a daunting task to some, but in the world of content creation, it can be one of the best tools to focus the intent and execution of stellar writing. Inaccurate or “bad” writing can be avoided by eliminating a handful of common mistakes – once you know what they are. This may be a time-consuming process at first, but once you command these “one-and-done” items, you’ll have all the necessary checkmarks to go from draft to publish more easily than ever.
Have a Clear Focus – Do you have a clear objective for the piece you are penning? Once you are clear on the intent or objective, you can create a brief outline of key points you want to make. This helps to keep the flow of your writing smooth and helps to avoid rambling or inadvertently veering in an unproductive direction.
Great Expectations – Nothing entices a reader like a compelling and intriguing headline or title. Think creatively about what grabs your attention when surfing the web, watching television or listening to your favorite radio station. And don’t be afraid to interject a little humor or allow it to be slightly politically jarring. Keep it clean but not boring!
Consistency is Key – Erratic writing makes for limited reading. Nothing frustrates readers more than schizophrenic writing, positioning and tone. So make sure you are consistent in these areas.
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder – Imagery is what most people will hone in on once they read the title. Therefore supporting imagery is very important and please make sure it is indeed supportive of the written content that surrounds it. Remember- in this busy, digital age, most people don’t fully read-they skim. So give them something eye-catching to capture and keep their attention as long as possible.
2 Sets of Eyes Are Better Than One – When writing content, it’s easy to make obvious spelling, grammar and formatting mistakes. So don’t be afraid to let someone else take a gander at your masterpiece before publishing. Additionally, its helpful to get a reader’s perspective before exposing it to the masses. This is critical when publishing blogs or on a business website since once it’s on the web, it’s there forever.
The Wrap Up – There are a ton of other content creators out there clamoring for reader’s attention. Therefore, quality content is a must if you want to stand out from the crowd, have your craft respected and captivate your audience. By following even a few of the tips listed above, doubtlessly your content will improve. Don’t forget – writing good content is an art and being an artist takes practice.
What are your tried & true content creation writing tips?
Writing content for different platforms requires a varied approach for websites, social media platforms, and print collateral. It requires a certain level of skill to know the difference as well as what ways are most effective. What should remain constant however is that your content be reader-driven and “actionable” to keep readers engaged, educated (i.e. informed) and entertained.
Writing for Social Media
Set the Hook Quick -More concise writing in social media (SM) is the key. Most people are on the move while on SM platforms so it’s imperative that you set the content hook quick with strong points up front and in a pronounced way. There’s so much content out there so this a key way to stand out, engage and create a faithful reader. This ultimately affects the breadth of your audience and long-term followers.
The Risk Factor – Social Media social graces aren’t the same as traditional forums. So feel free to take a risk every now and again. If you have a quirky yet innovative way to capture an audience, SM platforms like Facebook & Google+ are the places to do it. Feel free to mix your SM writing with audio sound-bytes or other platforms like YouTube to really engage and entertain.
Writing for Websites
Standing Out – What ever the main point is of your content, it should be conveyed in a standout way that doesn’t require a lot of upfront reading or navigation. Using bold or differential typeface, different color fonts, graphs, images or infographics allows the reader to get the “gist” or the most important information in 1 minute or less. Make sure these standout points:
include bold statements about your business;
engages the audience visually; and
encourages them to act.
Write Easily Scannable Content – Don’t expect people to pour over your every word on your website. Scannable content is engaging content that allows readers to understand the general basis sweepingly, at a glance. It is easier to read than word-for-word and it allows readers to easily digest the primary information nuggets.
Writing for Print Collateral
Be Promotional & Motivating – Most web and social media content has to appear more informational than promotional. Subtle promotional content requires a certain finesse and is not overly stated or extremely brazen. A great print piece conveys to your clients that you take pride in your business, products or services. Your print collateral should persuade prospects and inform them that you have something valuable to offer them. Ultimately it should showcase your talents and strengths while clearly motivating to purchase your product or service.
The Bigger Picture Copy – Print collateral does so much more than explain your product or services. The quality of our product should be exemplified in your content copy and the copy should reflect in-kind. To me, sloppy copy conveys sloppy business. Remember once in a prospective client’s hands, you have the chance to make not just a client out of them, but hopefully a long-term advertiser via word-of-mouth.
Tail End Tip:Make sure all your content flows smoothly to minimize boredom, confusion or frustration.
Good morning all – Jean and I had a great discussion during our video blog yesterday and we hope you enjoy it. However, if you don’t have time to watch it or take notes, we’d like to share some of the key points made. The next time you take on a new client, consider these questions or issues to raise, dialogue about and seek answers to in order to successfully manage your clients expectations.
1st Element: Understanding Who Your Client Really Is
A. Find out the type of personality they have & how they best communicate (email, text, telephone or in person).
B. Through discussions, try to extract the purpose of the website and their business goals even if they aren’t clear on them.
C. Stress the importance of branding & being clear about their business identity & its goals so that the website and/or branding efforts are successful.
A. What’s the vision of the company?
B. Who do they believe their customers & consumers are?
C. What do they think their consumers & audience want to see & expect from them?
D. Take the initiative through dialogue/research to get a firm understanding of their product or service and how they want to market it.
E. What are the goals they want their website and branding to achieve?
3rd Element: Setting Client Expectations for the Project
A. What is the projected costs & overall budget (with wiggle room)?
B. What are the time frames for benchmarks and completion?
C. Are you requesting and receiving all relevant content for each page of your website upfront? Consider how this affects time & workflow of project.
D. Are their images web-worthy (i.e. are clear, look professional), of high-resolution and large enough to scale down for editing if needed?
E. Have you established a good client relationship that can endure project delays and/or disappointments?
F. Can that rapport endure if there are issues with responsiveness from the client that affect workflow, benchmarks & completion dates?
4th Element: Clients Expectation for ROI
A. Make sure you set realistic expectations of the actual ROI and timeframe in which they might see the fruits of their investment.
B. What do you do with a client that has unrealistic expectations of ROI?
C. Explain why advertising their website is crucial once it is launched and the need for continued marketing efforts.
– They need figure out how they are going to notify current customers about their new website.
– Make announcements via Social Media platforms.
– Invest in marketing materials that reflect an online, worldwide presence.
D. Encourage them to think outside the box to market their website.
– If you’re a Mom & Pop, consider Small Business Association meetings, posting marketing materials in coffee houses & restaurant/business lobbies.
E. All businesses need to focus on and execute strategic customer outreach campaigns to see profitable ROI.
The Wrap Up It’s important to set the expectations from both parties from the beginning. Set your workflow & do your best to stick to it. Hold your clients accountable for their website’s success. Help them understand that the success of their website requires THEIR initiative, drive
& passion for THEIR business. Remember, good content does wonders for customer engagement and willingness to purchase the product or service. Understand it’s about client relationship & the longevity of that relationship.