We are in the age of information sharing. It used to be if you and a friend had an argument, it was left unsolved until someone could check their facts.
Now, with everyone having Siri, Google, or another know-it-all software, you are only a sentence or question away from the information you need.
What some companies have still not realized is that their customers are doing this with their businesses as well. Think about it: if you are searching for nonprofit in your area that specializes in after-school programs for elementary kids, which one would you choose…
- A 1-page website with a copyright from 2011, or
- A fully thought-out site with stories of their successes and experiences of the staff’s expertise?
The reality is, if your organization is not currently creating content to share your expertise and knowledge with the world, then you are behind the times.
But how do you write a captivating piece of content that is valuable and worthwhile for your audience?
Below, I will share my steps for writing content for Holmes Marketing and for our clients…
- Who is your audience?
- Why are they interested in what you have to say?
- What are their problems and what do they want to learn?
- How is this content going to help your audience?
- What are you already an expert in?
- What are all your initial thoughts about this topic?
If you are not already an expert in the area or, if it is going to be a fact-heavy piece, you are going to want to do your research. See what the experts have to say and draw your own conclusions from their research. If you do decide to use someone else’s idea, be sure to cite correctly. Citing sources wasn’t something they made you do in school just for the heck of it. Someone worked really hard to gather and share that information, and you owe it to them to give them their full citation.
Helpful resources for appropriate citations:
Don’t check spelling, don’t read back over anything, and don’t think too much about your sentence structure yet. By just allowing your thoughts to flow, you let your true opinions come out. You can review later!
I practice by actually writing out my outline and a lot of my initial thoughts on good old fashion paper. This has a couple of benefits: it gives my eyes a break from the computer screen and it doesn’t give me the ability to backspace, which forces me to just continue writing.
Tell a Story
While everyone has their own style of writing, I have found that particularly with blog writing, it is best to practice a style focused around telling a story.
So every time I write for the blog, I picture myself just telling a story to my coworker or a friend. By getting in this mindset, it allows my words to sound more natural and less forced.
It is important to sound educated in your pieces, but it is also important to sound real. If you write “above” your audience, they will get too frustrated trying to follow along and will give up.
Give your writing some time to marinate. You probably won’t love your first draft, and that’s okay!
I normally like to practice the 24-hr rule. This gives my brain enough time to focus on other topics. When I come back and re-read the piece, I am able to have almost a third-party view and a critical eye.
Assess what you wrote the day before. Are you still interested in it? Does it hit the points you wanted to hit? Did you write the piece at an appropriate reading level? Does it tell a story?
Don’t be afraid at this point to completely scrap the piece. Just because you invested time does not mean that you wasted anything if you no longer see the value in the writing. Maybe it just isn’t the right time, or maybe you want to take a new approach based off a new thought.
Don’t just go with the first stock image that comes up. Think about the piece and what would make the most sense and would captivate your audience. Also, keep in mind that this image will be next to the other imagery you have chosen for other blog posts. You want them to look unique and intriguing. If all your images look the same, it makes your blog feed look stale. People are less likely to continue exploring if they think they are going to get the same stuff over and over again.
****ALSO be sure to fill out your image description and alt text. This not only makes your site more accessible, but it also helps your SEO ranking. (And, it will make your web developer really happy!)
What good is your awesome new piece of content if you don’t tell anyone about it??
Once you have completed your post, take the time right then and there to write out the appropriate number of social posts you will need for your various channels.
Also be sure to find another image or two so that you have variation in your promotional feed.
Drop the link in a shared folder for your sales team along with a description of the piece so that they can utilize your fresh content in their emails with current or potential clients.
Onto the Next
And there you have it! Those are the basic steps to writing a worthwhile piece of content.
One more tip: be sure you shorten your url and write a captivating and relevant meta description for your post as well.
Don’t enjoy writing or don’t have the time/expertise? Give me a call!