Five Hallmarks of Terrific Written Content
These days, it seems every company has a blog and other written marketing content—it’s just not enough to simply post regularly. How can your written content help your business to really rise above the competition? You have to attract a loyal following and retain it, and you can do that by consistently delivering great material. Review these five hallmarks of great writing.
It’s easy enough to throw together a couple hundred words and post them to a blog, but that doesn’t mean users will enjoy or share it. When you’re developing marketing content, it’s important to put yourself in your readers’ shoes. What are they thinking about? What makes them laugh? What motivates them to share an article with friends and family on social media or via email? Depending on your corporate culture, you want your blog posts and other written content to be any or all of the following: interesting, clever, colorful, funny, relevant. The reactions you want to inspire in your readers include “I feel like this person read my mind, because I can totally relate!” “Wow, cool, I didn’t know that,” and “This is hilarious—I have just got to share this with my coworker/roommate/cousin/best friend.”
We’ve all run across one of those blog posts with zero helpful information. It’s generic, boring, and doesn’t tell us anything new—in other words, it’s just filler. It might as well be “Lorum ipsum dolor sit amet … ” Users will pick up on this quickly and search for superior reading material elsewhere. Be imaginative: share an interesting development about one of your products or services, breaking news in your industry, or one-of-a-kind ideas for using something your company offers. If you need some inspiration, imagine a reporter for a local newspaper has just called you to request a tip on what’s going on in your field. You really want to give her some information she can’t find anywhere else. What would you tell her? Think about it and get writing.
What keeps readers coming back for more? You’ll attract and retain a loyal following by providing them with useful information. Without being too obvious about it, every post you make should answer a question, solve a problem, or suggest a new way to complete a task. (Think about it: you’re still reading this post because you feel you’re getting something out of it, right? You want to do exactly this for your own readers.)
One of the major ways to keep your content effective is to make sure your topics are always timely. Give your readers something they can use now—information about advance reservations for a future product release, a breaking news story related to your business, or upcoming events shoppers might want to attend. If you sell apparel or shoes, you want to be talking about trends and the upcoming season’s fashions. To stay ahead of the competition, you also want to stay on top of what’s going on. Posting old “news” makes you look out of touch.
This one’s pretty straightforward: content writing should be top quality. You want it to be newspaper-caliber, so make your 11th grade English teacher proud by proof reading for spelling and grammatical errors, and making sure your style is impeccable. It never hurts to ask a second pair of eyes to read things over and make adjustments that will ensure your content is truly successful.