The currency online today is attention, and every brand is fighting for it. The problem is that there is too much content, all fighting for the same audience who doesn’t have time to read it. If you want better content, don’t hire a writer; hire someone with an internet marketing background.
I’m usually always online, either with clients or reading business content. There is just too much content, and it’s too lengthy to read. Business Insider does an excellent job with its content by listing key points in bullets before the article. Still, there is usually too much background information to “get to the point.”
Recently I’ve started writing content for clients, and it’s not easy. To write good content:
1ne: See yourself as the reader and talk to them as a person.
2wo: Get to the point and skip the background information that has become standard in too many articles.
3hree: Understand the objectives of the content and ensure the client has signed off on them.
4our: What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from your content?
5ive: Keep it short. No more than one scroll.
6ix: It should be no higher than an eighth-grade reading level.
Having been in online marketing for a long time, I keenly understand how people use the web and consume content. Social media has zapped attention spans, so brands should not expect to get a lot of time if they’re posting content like “how to make a better pizza.” Some content is also like content in encyclopedias; it’s there only when people need it.
A great example of engaging content is the recent research that found that dark chocolate contains a fair amount of heavy metals. A small company specializing in dark chocolate bars asked me to write an article targeting women (their primary audience) that talked about their sourcing of cocoa and testing to ensure it met high-quality standards. On the first day, we had over 256 views of the content, which was also sent to buyers of chains that stock their products.
I didn’t go into detail; I just included links to the stories online and then went right into what their brand was doing to ensure customers got a quality product. The client even liked that I added some content about being a little bit more expensive to deliver the best-branded experience.
When I work with clients to develop content, I try and learn everything I can about their audience beyond demographics. I then do a lot of background research to see what competitors are doing and what has the highest engagement metrics. A writer normally can’t do this.
If you want excellent content, hire someone who has a marketing background, not just a writer.