Effective Content Writing Tips for Different Platforms

author imageWriting 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 andactionable” 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.

Girl on Floor Writing on LaptopWriting 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.

5 Ways To Increase Your Blog Following

Crowd of peopleMany more small businesses are waking up to the idea of blogging. This makes us at Design Theory pretty happy because we preach about the importance of a blog for our clients and partners. Though not all blogs are created equal, there are different platforms, designs, and purposes. Still each blog’s purpose is to capture an audience and keep them coming back for more week after week, post after post.

Idea 1: Make Your Blog Easy to Leave Comments

This one should be a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many blogs are out there that have great content, yet lack the ability for readers to post comments. There are so many plugins and applications that allow users to use many different social and popular mediums to easily submit a comment. A free and commonly used one is Gravatar. Receiving a comment on your post is one of the most gratifying moments of blogging. Good or bad, it’s still people taking time to speak out about your work. Be sure to promptly approve your comments and reply. Unapproved comments is a sure-fire way to show a reader you don’t care about what they have to say.

Idea 2: Make Your Blog Easy to Be Shared

It’s safe to say most blogs out there are using open sourced platforms like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. So utilize the plugins available to allow your readers to quickly share. Most are pretty easy to install and configure. Since a lot of blog article titles get shared through social media be sure to choose some of the more popular ones in your settings. Some examples are TweetMeme, Shareaholic, Google+1, and the Facebook Like Button.

Idea 3: Write More Help Topics

A common misconception with business blogs is to use this as an advertising stream. That’s actually not a good way to use it. In fact you’ll want to write more posts that actually help your readers and less about your own services and products. More successful blogs out there are blogs that constantly offer quick tips on fixing, making, creating, and developing things. And if you can condense a long dissertation to some cliff notes and still offer a productive outcome, you’ll create a nice following.

Idea 4: Get The Word Out

If no one knows about your blog, then no one reads your blog. An easy way to start promoting your blog is with your friends and family. Get them to read it to find errors and offer suggestions. For them that may be enough to get them to read it to try to tell you all you’re doing wrong. Its better coming from them than strangers. Then use social media like Twitter and a Facebook Fan page to further spread your great articles. Install some SEO plugins to help optimize your content for Google too. Include tags in your posts to help with indexing. Lastly, sign up with directory sites like Digg and StumbleUpon and submit your articles to them.

Idea 5: End With A Call To Action

Sometimes finishing your post is harder than starting. How to leave or Segway from your final points without sounding redundant. Try ending off with asking your readers to perform an action. Encourage them to comment their own points, a controversial rebuttal, a quick assignment that they can perform on their own for their own gains or improvement. This is also a great place to plug your service to help wrap up all that you talked about while offering your reader a time-saving deal or money-saving opportunity.


Twitter: Big Numbers Don’t Mean What You Think

TwitterFor those of you who question the validity of Twitter in business, I’m here to tell you to stop. Twitter, much like other mediums of social media, can affect your bottom line if you know how to use it. There is no one tactic to fit all, I can admit that, but that’s because each business is different and unique in its own way. Now lets talk about the numbers. You’ve seen some Twitter users with hundreds if not thousands of followers. From people you’ve never heard of to celebrities you have. However I’d like to expose a misconception in what novice people view in these numbers.

Follow for Follow: Now I haven’t been on Twitter since its original launch, but I have been around for a few years to see the evolution in its use. One of the things that annoy me and my team the most is people who follow only to get a follow in return. Oh they’re relentless too. I’ve even received followers that un-followed me months ago that tried to follow again to see if this time I’d bite. If I wasn’t in business to pay attention to who I follow and who follows our brand online they totally would have gotten me. So this thought that you must follow someone just because they’re following you is rubbish.

Follow Your Interests: I stopped short of saying “follow your heart” because that could easily lead you to trouble online. If you’re into woodworking, do a Twitter search for the keyword “woodworking” and see what pops up. Aside from the Tweets look at who said what and how long ago. See if you can jump into the conversation by @ replying. If the conversation or dialogs are of interest to you, go ahead and hit that follow button. Again, don’t hit it with the intent of getting a follow in return. Hit it because you value what that person has to say about that subject.

Thousands of Follows: Yea this is all too common these days. Check the screenshot below. How can you have 3,800+ follows and following 3,800+ and you’ve only tweeted 36 times? No website listed, No real name, No location. Clearly you bought all of those follows, and more than likely have a bot scrounging the net to follow people automatically. Don’t believe the hype people. When you come across these types of profiles just leave them be. Chances are they’ll latch on for a few days and drop off when their program notices you haven’t followed back.

Twitter Follow

Celebrities: They have big numbers because of the obvious. However they also have influence. The influence is what I strive to teach our clients to regard as important. If some pro-basketball player like Dwayne Wade said he was going to be at a Miami local night club, there would be a huge buzz around Twitter because of all the people who follow him. They’d RT that message and relay it to their followers by the hundreds or thousands just because of who he is and how highly they regard what he says. So be your own rock-star or celebrity in your local market.

Understanding social influence is what will keep social media in check. If we all went with the mentality of follow one and follow all, our timelines would be saturated with crap and Twitter wouldn’t be as fun anymore. I also think that’s what makes it great because you actually choose your level of noise.

There are sites out there where you can actually see some true numbers about Twitter handles if you really want to investigate the influence of a user. Sites like Twitter Grader, Peer Index, SocialBro, and Klout do just that. What you want to focus on in your own tweets, is the engagement. For a business, you can’t just run out there promoting your products and sales all day and expect orders to  flood your site (unless you’re selling $2.00 Jordan sneakers). But seriously, find people who are talking about your industry or products and talk with them. Answer some questions they may have regarding their needs. Be a positive influence. Through the courtship, you’ll establish a relationship. Offer more information by answering a question and insert a link to your website or blog post that talks more about your answer. Being a great source for answers or information is where the true value is. That’s what gets you more followers and RT (re-tweets).

Have any other real tips about Twitter, please share with us in the comments below.