The other day I was surfing the web for some information about HTML 5 and I stumbled upon a few articles that were well written but did not really satisfy my need for information. I searched a few pages on Google and on the 4th page I opened an article that had all the information I needed but it read like a long press release, blabbering about the history of the web and html which was really beside the point. The article bored me to the core and the structure was queer yet I had to read it, it has got everything I need!
Effective content marketing attracts people’s attention. It urges people to be loyal to your brand and loyal users mean increased sales and increased profitability. There is no need for expensive advertising campaign to beat corporate beasts which is why content marketing or sharing can be the perfect weapon that would help your way to become famous and on Google’s first page results.
Set up your style
Many companies fall into a rather simple, honest mistake that may affect them negatively on a large scale which is creating content before defining their brands which leads to inconsistency and impracticality.
There is a huge difference between publishing content on the web and speaking or presenting to people in person. When you talk to someone in person it is easy to judge from their expressions whether they understand or not or whether you poked their interest or they are dead bored and do not get a single thing you speak of so you take action and clarify your points or change your tone and the way your speech flows. On the other hand, when publishing on the web it is too late to change as the web offers no feedback until and unless your content is published.
The first question you have to ask yourself when you are crafting your content is: to whom are you creating this particular content. Is it designers, developers, an average user or even five years old children!
Say you run a car selling business that sells exotic cars for speed junkies. You would want your representatives to be experienced and know about cars and engines and handling more than the car manufacturer itself but at the same time helpful and friendly as to help people who are interested in your products and you are able and willing to answer to their doubts and questions.
Being experienced does not mean you look down on your customers who do not know much about products you sell. Also being helpful does not mean pushy, you should explain and clarify any doubts positively and make sure all the relevant information is obvious and accessible but do not jeopardize your companies name by being pushy and annoying the customer by trying to sell him your product at any cost through jekery-pokery means!
Friendly does not mean talking to your customers as if you have known them for ages. In case of content on the web, make sure you have no grammar or spelling mistakes, always proof read a thousand and one times carefully and use an informal language and write as though you are talking to them in person.
Assigning tasks to the relevant people
You cannot expect a person who has never been exposed to programming to write articles for web developers or designers. Pick your people and your subject carefully know whom you are are writing for and whether or not you have the necessary skills and knowledge with which you can deliver good, reliable information that can benefit your readers. It is not always about the language and the grammar you use but it is always about the kind of information you can deliver to your users.
In many cases, there is this one person who performs all the researching, the writing and publishing without receiving any input what so ever from any one. This could work in small companies with a relatively small audience. However, as you grow, you will need to specialize since your audience grows with your company ( more audience means more variety in your content ). You may have the perfect skills to write but not quite keen on researching hence you should employ people who could be successful in their fields and communicate effectively. Have different people write, edit and proofread. It’s a good way to catch mistakes and to bring more ideas into the process.
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Great! I can speak Shakespear! But does everyone else speak in such language? When writing, you are not obliged to use unnecessarily complicated language to show off or sound professional.
“The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words.” Said George Elliot. So you need not to write in jargon, out-of-the-norm language as this would chase the readers away costing you valuable traffic. Lauren Keating has studied the effect of scientific language on the persuasiveness of copy. She found that most people respond best to advertisements that contain no scientific language. People found them more readable and persuasive, and they felt more willing to buy the product. Lauren’s conclusion was clear: copy needs to be plain and simple.
Express your opinions
Having an opinion or a purpose makes you interesting as people are always interested in hearing opinions. This implies on brands as well. Take duckduckgo.com for example. It has described itself as the one and only anti-thesis of Google, launching websites that criticize how the Google tracks you and puts you inside a bubble hence having minimal freedom. Duckduckgo.com saves its data in a cloud keeping it anonymous.
The way that duckduckgo.com is operating is rather magnificent since it is seeing significant growth. However, on the professional side, you need not to openly hostile or ravage your competitors. You may criticize the way they operate discreetly by not mentioning names!
Recent studies have shown that by default people are ideologically motivated. When you or I contradict people’s misconceptions they tend to hold on more to their misconceptions. However, if you were some sort of an idol to them (you belong to a political party or you are a religious leader) people tend to agree with you and follow you somewhat like sheep following a shepherd (don’t get me wrong!). Have an opinion and share it with people but make sure that you back it up with clear evidence and maybe some statement by a famous person.
Think politically: consider the popularity of your views and whether they will attract media coverage. Ideally, your opinions should be bold and popular.
One of the very important aims of publishing an article on the web is to give answers or advice to your audience since readers around the world always expect answers to any problem from the web, be it medical or technical.
Sadly, with so much content roaming around the web many fail to deliver satisfying and useful answers. That could work out for you as you can be there for the rescue and win the competition by paying more attention to what people want. Do a research and see what useful information people the web lack in your field and be the one who can provide so as to attract attention.
Good news!! The web is boring! Which is really good for you as this gives you the chance to shine with your content and beat the hell out of your competitors!
It is not always necessary to introduce something new. You can take something which has been repeated several times in a really dull manner and craft it in an interesting way making it sound friendly and interesting so that you can attract people’s attention to your content first before any other! Or you could gather information that has been scattered over several websites and combine them in one nicely summarized yet informing manner! You can also use more infographic means and if by chance you see many people writing about a certain topic that you feel a need to write about why not introduce it in a new way and shoot a video!
Rate Rush, a personal finance website, drew up an inforgraphic diagram to compare between digg and reddit visits and post updates per hour. Although Rate rush is a financial website, it researched the topic and found it to be very interesting and attention grabbing. you can also do the same research a viral and popular topic, present it in a nice way unique way and watch the magic.
Introducing a new idea is certainly much better. Being distinctive always pays off and having first hand information is even better. Come up with an original idea to research and then undertake a careful study. There is always something new, never say everything is already out on the web everyone is different and that reflects on your business as well.
Telling a story never fails to draw ones attention. It is a great way to connect with your readers, it is really useful in corporate communication and fundamental to human interaction. It can make your content more compelling and more engaging.
As said by Rob Gill in a sum up of a number of studies “It is believed people receiving the narration often come to the same conclusion as the narrator, but through using their own decision-making processes.” A narrative makes the message more personal and relevant and the reader will be more likely to remember whay he has learned from you.
The way you structure your story should contain suspense, conflicts and crises, in short a bit of emotions. Having the negative and the positive aspects of the story makes the reader more immersed and more welling to read as emotions plays a big role in our lives. For example saying “the web could kill you” can poke some interest! It is good practice to introduce some humor into your articles but not too much as to not lose the seriousness of your writings or any content in general.
Sometimes you’ll want to use anecdotes to make a point, and sometimes you’ll write a post or tweet to build a narrative. When you’re cultivating a story, keep the information simple, and don’t be afraid to repeat points here and there; some readers might have missed what you said before.
Introducing some personality
People engage more with you content if they could see you so use pictures, audio or video of yourself or whoever works with/for you. This will bring your audience closer to your brand.
Using eye tracking software, Jakob Nielsen studied people’s reaction to images on the web; he concluded that people usually ignore images that may seem decorative or generic even if it was generic ( those annoying google ads on the side of your page for example) images of people. But when they come across an image of a real person, the author for example, they connect with it for a longer time.
When writing on the web, one would think it is an easy task as many people do it. It is quite the contrary however, as people can be unpredictable and a lot of research has to be done. Also, you must be careful when picking your audience, your topics and your words it is a tricky business.
Always try to develop a compelling tone of voice. You cannot assume that everyone can understand jargon language and scientific terms.
The ingredients to craft good content may appear easy and rather obvious but implementation and consistency are the real challenge. Produce something informative that can benefit your audience and give your brand an identity and a personality that people will later recognize just by looking at your logo.