“You speak an infinite deal of nothing” – Taken from Shakespeare’s, The Merchant of Venice.
I thought it appropriate to start this week’s literary musing with a Shakespearian quote, just to fortify a point. For most people content is a major minefield, it’s a place few want to tread. I have clients who start to violently shake and even convulse at the very thought of putting their thoughts to paper. If you belong to this category then fear no more because the purpose of this article is to help ease you into blogging and content management, while realising your new found talent for speaking “a great deal of something.”
Feel the fear. But do it anyway! This is a title taken from a book I read a few years back, written by the late Dr. Susan Jeffers. It epitomises what one should do in life. The main message conveyed is that we should all face our fears head on and without hesitation. So why is blogging and creating content such a major fear for so many people?
We are social animals, evolution having taught us that there is safety in numbers and it’s our longing to fit in, to be part of the pack and ultimately accepted in the eyes of our peers, that sometimes stops us from doing new things especially things that might expose us to criticism, ridicule or even the odd snarl. Like everything, blogging is a craft and it’s through practice that we perfect it. Don’t be deterred because you’re not a budding Charles Dickens, no one was ever born a writer. Take comfort knowing that even the greatest writers started off as shaky apprentices. It was through persistence and practice that enabled them to become world class! Every master craftsman was once a novice. So with this new found knowledge I beseech you to start writing without delay
Types of content
Content is not limited to the written word. You might want to try the following:
- Video blogging
- Audio clips,
- Informative posters. images.
- Downloadable booklets in PDF format
In fact it’s best practice to alternate between different types of content. It keeps things interesting.
Know your audience.
It’s extremely important to clearly define who you’re creating content for. Obviously your company services and products is going to be a major factor to who you will be targeting. But do take into consideration factors such as age range, people with a particular hobby, passion or occupation, etc. Another tactic I often use is to select a specialised group of professionals.
Example: You can create some of your content towards “Doctors” or you can concentrate it towards a specific category of doctor, say Cardiologists. I’ve found this practice to be highly effective.
So the golden rule is: If you’re addressing a target group of 18 to 25 year old students and your blog is singing the praises of retirement homes, please don’t be surprised if no one likes your post.
The content you post should be of real value. Advice, tips, travel pans, a review, how to. The list of possibilities is endless. Don’t be a knowledge miser, share your expertise. I have a basic rule when I post content. Give, give, give and then ask. You’ll notice that when the material is useful your audience will form an emotional bond with your organisation. -They’ll want to be part of your success.
“Takeaway” or “quick fix” content as I call it is when you link to other people’s stuff. This is never as valuable or appreciated as creating your own material. It’s okay to post links once in a while, but as a rule I don’t do it frequently. People will respond and appreciate original content far more than “I’ve nothing to post, quick lets link to CNN.”
Content and the rules of engagement
- Create your own style
- Be unique. “Be yourself, everyone else is taken” – Oscar Wilde
- Be factually. Quoting facts, look them up and quote your sources)
- Be entertaining. It’s not a doctrine for the people, keep it simple and lighthearted when possible
- Video – Video blogging is a nice way to connect with your audience.
- Sometimes it’s good practice to leave a call to action (CTA) at the end of content.
Call to action examples:
Press button to contact
Ask a direct question. “What did you think of this?”
Ask if they need extra assistance “Need any more information?”
A subtle proposal / offer
Offer to send free content or even product. (Download our free style guide in PDF format)
Experiment with content
Have fun with your content and don’t be afraid to try new things out. Don’t become disappointed if no one has shown appreciation for your efforts:
Just because people haven’t commented or liked your stuff does not mean that they didn’t find it of use.
It also takes time to gain a following. Patience is a virtue.
Things to stay away from
When you start off your content with the phrase: “Theres this [Place minority group here], [Place minority group here], [Place minority group here] and they walk into a bar….” you have already crossed the line of no return and you’re firmly planted in no man’s land!
Here is my list of some areas which are best avoided (In no particular order):
- Sexual orientation
- Offensive humour
- Gay marriage
There’s always going to be a fine line between funny and offensive. Unfortunately this line fluctuates from person to person. What some people find funny others may find highly offensive. Content containing humour should be carefully thought out and screened before the publish button is pressed.
I’ve offered you some ideas and thoughts on the labyrinth we choose to call content. There are many areas that my humble article does not cover, but I do hope it’s helped you get a rough idea of where you need to be and what you need to be posting. I’ll be very happy to answer any questions you have on a host of content topics such as: Where to post, link-backs, social media platforms and which ones to choose, Tags / SEO (search engine optimisation) Naming conventions for images and video clips.
I hope my article was of service to you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further help. – Happy blogging!Contact me