In last week’s post, we talked about the top 20 mistakes content writers make most often. For this week’s post, we decided to continue the content development theme and highlight the 5 most important best practices for remarkable content development.
1. Know your audience
It’s very difficult to write for a particular audience if you don’t know them. Who are they? What is their demographic? Old or young? Educated or street smart? What do they know already? What do they need to know? Looking at this same issue from the writer’s point of view, what type of an audience are you willing to commit to? You need to “adapt” your writing to meet the needs, interests, and background of the readers who will be reading your writing, and although this sounds obvious, for many writers it is problematic.
2. Establish a unique point of view
You need to bring your audience a fresh perspective – something they either haven’t heard of before, or, something they haven’t considered in the context you are writing about it. Every story has a ‘view’, an angle, an approach, a premise that shapes the content. The unique-point-of-view is what makes one story very different than another story, even when both stories are about the same subject. By “point of view,” I mean demonstrating uncanny insights on a business problem in the world—its impact on companies and people, what’s driving it, why conventional approaches to solving it fall short. Even more important, a point of view must explain how to solve the problem, with real examples that substantiate the solution. Described this way, the challenge of creating a powerful point of view is one of creating a compelling argument—a case supported by irrefutable facts, dynamic examples, and inescapable logic. The argument must also be well–communicated. However, writing isn’t the core skill for point of view development. The ability to make a strong argument is.
3. Develop attention grabbing headlines
In a bookstore, the first thing people are attracted to is the bright cover, the title and the table of contents. The same thing happens with a blog, or website. Readers don’t read all your pages. Instead, they jump from headline to headline, and only if the headline grabs their interest, will they start to read the information below it. You’ve got just a few seconds to catch your prospects’ attention, spark their interest and motivate them to keep reading whether they’re looking at your web site, your blog or report. Headlines are the first thing your prospects read. Four out of five people determine whether they keep reading about your products and services based on the headlines they read. Therefore, the most important thing you can do is to make your headline interesting, compelling, unique, and fresh. Some good ideas are to state a benefit, help the reader visualize something of importance, use numbers & statistics, make a big promise, anticipate their fears, and pique their curiosity.
4. Creating original content
Original content is the most important thing about writing interesting and unique blogs and reports. No one wants to get stuck reading something they’ve already read a million times before (even if it is in a new package). To write something that is original, you have to have a very unique idea, concept, point of view or issue. You can find out how unique your idea really is by doing some research to find out how many other people thought the same topic was original. The easiest way to write REALLY original content is to find out what you want to know (or what others want to know) and then, answer the question. You can search the questions you come up with online and see if anyone has ever answered the questions in a fresh and original way – or better yet, anyway at all! Or, come up with a really intriguing headline and then, write around it.
5. Add eye catching images & illustrations
Research indicates that humans are 400% more able to understand a concept that is presented to them if there are visual elements in the presentation. After all, society is visual – which is why you only have a few minutes to make a first impression. If you are writing about something very technical, you can include charts and graphs which demonstrate the issues in a very profound way. These visuals can deliver your message in a much more compelling manner than plain old copy could ever do. In addition, pictures and other illustrations help to get your message across by bringing an element of emotion to what you are writing.
I was recently reading an article by Chris Brogan and in the process of watching the engagement of comments Chris commented and asked the question: “Is their anytime a company shouldn’t have a blog?”
I thought this was a great question and it’s obvious to me that each reason why a company shouldn’t have a blog can easily be overcome with better reasons why they should. Below you will find three very good reasons your company should have a blog.
1. Establish your company as the Industry Leader when people search for information about your vertical. For those leading their industry, blogging will help you maintain that competitive edge. Quick Stat- over 25% of the information results on search engines is of user generated content i.e. “blogs”.
2. Allows your prospects to engage. Over 80% feel better about a company who has a online “presence”, not just a website.
3. Drives organic traffic to your sales funnel. Each article you write has associated with it specific keyword content that will allow your prospects to find you. If the website is SEO-d correctly.
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