The promise of the ‘viral potential’ of electronic media is very attractive but ultimately is a lost cause if what you have to say is not compelling. Whether you are setting up your company website, kicking off a blog, launching a Facebook page or using any of the other avenues for communication that are available today, the most important question to answer is: “Who would want to read this and why?”
It can seem overwhelming and there are firms that will promise that with just the right Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that your message will soon be in front of millions of potential customers. Even if this were true, remember that although it just took a mouse click to visit your site that it takes the same amount of effort to click away from it. Your goal is to attract the attention of people that will actually find what you are saying to be valuable to them. Whether this is a blog post, or a section of your website, an interested visitor is more likely to further explore more of your content and in time may even include a request for more information, ask for a quote or even make a purchase from your e-commerce site.
The secret to making this work is to provide only quality content. You will be much better received by the viewing public by offering an insight or a new perspective on the latest trends in your field than an ad for your product or service masquerading as an interesting article.
Writing great content is easier said than done. In the end whether it is great or not is something your readers will determine. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
For Blog Posts, Newsletters, White Papers and Application Notes
- Write down a list of ten article titles that are interesting to you. (If you find it difficult to do this at one sitting, consider a different topic area. If the area you plan to write about is truly aligned with your interests and passions this should be easy to do)
- Over the next month, start writing the articles for each of these titles. Don’t worry if the English isn’t right or if they seem a little bit rough at the beginning. Remember, this is a first draft
- Allow a day or two before revisiting your first drafts. Those that are good but need work will be easily distinguished from those that should be discarded with the clearer perspective you will have by reviewing them after a day or so
- Consider adding pictures, tables and/or figures to increase the visual interest and clarity of your pieces
- For blogs, consider keeping them to one topic per post. If when writing your post you find that there are several topics in it, split it up afterwards. (This allows you to increase the focus and relevance of each piece for the widest possible audience)
- Once you have 10 to 15 of these articles prepared and edited to final form, you are ready to publish them.
For Websites and Facebook Pages
- Be sure to check the site statistics from time to time to see which of your pages and/or content are most interesting to your visitors. Use the site analytics data to help you to improve your content over time by providing more of the things that you audience has shown an interest
- Edit your drafts with an emphasis on ways to make things more concise if possible. (Less is more here)
- Consider using bullet points and short descriptions rather than full sentences and paragraphs where possible
- Take advantage of illustrations, pictures and short videos to tell your story and/or explain your technology
- Consider using bolded or otherwise highlighted lines to head each paragraph of a multi-paragraph piece. This allows site visitors to quickly scan your material and focus on those areas that they find most interesting and relevant to them. Not everyone will want to read your entire piece
Creating quality content is a big job and requires significant time, effort and commitment to keep delivering the fresh and original materials that will engage your audience and advance your commercial goals. However, the extra effort you spend here will provide for far better outcomes than any SEO gimmicks and other tricks.