You’ve got a website. And a blog. And every social media platform there is. Aaand you’ve also got a limited amount of hours each week to create content for those platforms.
So how can you use that precious time wisely to create content that helps your company gain visibility, credibility and potential customers? The answer in < 280 characters: Write great content.
Content, Content, Content
Content is everywhere. It’s essential. And unfortunately, it’s easy to mess up. I can’t tell you how many times a day I open an email or see a post in my feed full of boring, egocentric or irrelevant information. You are better than that — and so are your readers.
When I see a piece of content that inspires or helps me, I stick it in a digital Content Inspo folder to refer to when I need a little extra spark of creativity. Here are four tips for creating content that belongs in your Content Inspo folder.
1. Stop talking about yourself. Imagine you’re on a first date. Dinner is fantastic and you’re having a great hair day, but your potential flame spends the entire time talking about themself without so much as a pause to ask you a question. After 45 minutes of patiently waiting for potential flame to demonstrate interest in you, you make your way to the “bathroom” never to return again.
Don’t be someone’s worst date story.
2. “Relentlessly, unremittingly, obstinately focus on the reader.” That’s the advice professional writer and marketing expert Ann Handley gives when it comes to creating content.
Think about your reader. What do they need to know? What problems are they facing? What questions do they have? When you consistently work through the answers to these questions and figure out what your readers need, you develop what Handley calls “pathological empathy.”
Develop pathological empathy and use it to create content that serves your reader. Then speak to them directly by using customer-centric language.
Company-centric: We are the leading website search tool. We use search, data, feedback and alerts to improve user experiences and websites.
Customer-centric: Sitka Insights search was born out of working with people just like you to help solve problems you face every day such as unreliable search results and outdated site content.
3. Know thy platform. This is second only to know thy audience.
Do you know anyone who has tried to publish a book on Twitter? How about Instagram? No, because those platforms weren’t made for plotlines or theories that require chapters and a printing press. Twitter is made for simple sentences and GIFs. Instagram is for visuals. Your blog is for longer-form ideas that can be broken down into lists or paragraphs separated by scannable subtitles.
Know thy audience. Know thy platform. Create accordingly.
4. Keep it simple. Your customers are busy people who see a million messages a day (digital marketing experts actually estimate it’s closer to 10,000, but you get the point). Simplicity is the best way to stand out in a sea of fuzzy, cliche-laden content. Simple content is not simplistic. Rather, it honors the reader’s time and energy by being clear and concise.
Here are some examples of how to simplify wordy-phrases:
When it comes to = When
Despite the fact that = Although, Though
In order to = To
Utilize = Use
Care, Create, Repeat
Repeat after me: I respect my writing and I respect my reader. Now feel free to jot that on a sticky note and tape it to your wall. Or get it tattooed on your forehead — whatever works best for you to remember that your role as a content creator is helper, problem-solver, supporter.
You have valuable information to share. Share it simply. Share it in the right place. And share it in a way that shows how much you care about your customers. Now, go get to creating some magic. ✨ Your readers thank you in advance for your help and wisdom.