August Roundup: Reaching Target Audiences, Creating Content Strategies, and Not Writing Like Tolstoy
WriterAccess writers served up another feast of rich blog posts in August. Continuing our series of posts written by new writers were contributions on how to create content for particular audiences such as college students, accountants and business owners. We also focused on content strategy, which covered everything from email marketing to translation and transcreation. Tolstoy might raise an eyebrow at Katherine L.’s comment in How to Create Content for the Average News-Seeker, but we’re confident content marketers will find the many posts published in August practical and insightful. (No, none of them are written like a Tolstoy novel.)
Posts About Reaching Target Audiences
Katherine L. had three suggestions for how to create news content that’s made for the online world. Based on how readers consume online news media, she suggested keeping pieces short, engaging and professional. If readers want “a thick, winding river of prose, they will pick up a Tolstoy novel,” and no one likes clickbait. Stories that get to the point and are well done, though, are perfect for online news-seekers.
Takeaway: “Cut out the gristle – technical language, convoluted syntax or pedantic prose – and focus on giving people clear, concise and palatable information.“
Rita W. had several straightforward tips for breaking through the distractions that college students face and keeping their attention. Students will take the time to read what you have to say If you solve their problems, write from their vantage point, and use a reader-friendly format.
Takeaway: “News they can use, in a compelling form. That’s how you create content college students care about.”
Krishna W. offered up four questions to help determine whether accountants will find a post or article useful. As is the case in other industries, the best pieces are relevant and timely. They also must help accountants serve their clients, though. Accountants are always looking for content that will help them either solve their clients’ problems or better inform their clients. Additionally, Krishina noted that it’s especially important to pay attention to details when writing for accountants, as regulations are always changing.
Takeaway: “Content should be timely, industry specific, executable, and ideally provide information that can be shared with their client base.”
Michael M., another small business owner, had several useful tips for how to keep business-to-business content (which has a reputation for being dry) engaging. His recommendations included creating conversational content, forgoing technical jargon, writing in a skimmable format and appealing to entrepreneurs’ aspirations. He also noted that B2B content should be backed up with data and highlight the benefits that a business offers entrepreneurs.
Takeaway: “Think like a business owner. For your content to be effective, it needs to speak to entrepreneurs’ biggest concerns…”
A small business owner herself, Savannah R. knows just what small business owners want in a blog post or article. She offered up four tips for reaching business owners: stay on target, be actionable, use statistics and facts, and be relatable. Pieces that do all of these things will be useful and quick to read — two factors that are extremely important when writing for busy business owners.
Takeaway: “Factual, actionable and relatable content will help you connect with entrepreneurs and let them know that you know what they’re going through.”
Jessica U. brought a unique perspective to a challenging topic: writing content for legal firms. Both a licensed attorney and experienced content writer, she was the perfect person to talk about why law firms need content and how to tailor content for firms. Her tips included providing solutions to general problems, defining legal terms, explaining the legal system, helping readers find attorneys, highlighting local stories and, most importantly, not being salesy.
Takeaway: “Content marketing is the ‘new’ frontier for law firms, even though it was new for other businesses years ago.”
To reach building contractors, Judy W. suggested creating content that is highly practical. Contractors must juggle many obligations, she pointed out, and will be most interested in reading pieces that save time and money, or solve problems. To keep their attention, Judy recommended writing specifically for them, making sure pieces are accurate and complete, being relevant, and sharing new information.
Takeaway: “You can appeal to building contractors by offering tips that save time, reduce costs, and solve construction challenges.”
Posts About Content Strategy
August was dominated by the Olympics, which Tracy S. used as inspiration for a post on creating content around current events. While the post focused on creating “Olympic-themed content,” her five tips are applicable to any major event. Content that shows support, has a theme, showcases a product or service, adds to a discussion, and is timely will always have a stellar performance. In addition to these five tips, Tracy had some great, specific suggestions, like commenting on Brazilians’ style if you own a decorating service, that could spark other ideas.
Takeaway: “If you flex your creative muscles and work out with trending topics, you can beat your competition and win a gold medal in marketing!”
Ilona K. explained the difference between translation and transcreation, which isn’t as widely known but extremely effective. In short, translation seeks to accurately convey the wording of a document from a foreign language, while transcreation focuses on creating a similar emotional appeal in material that’s produced for a different country or community. Transcreation may require completely redoing a piece, including even changing images, colors and fonts, but the investment pays off when the new piece has the same feel as the original.
Takeaway: “…Tanscreation is not merely a synonym for translation. It is more like its immensely creative, artistic, flamboyant big sister.”
Machine translation is efficient, but it’s also ineffective. In this post, Ilona K. examined the human side of translation, looking at the idioms, cultural peculiarities and particular influences that make each language unique. With some humorous examples about understanding stations, going on biscuits, and lost hops and malt, Ilona showed just how much a computer can miss when translating.
Takeaway: “Translating is really all about humans.”
Jessica F.’s recapped a WriterAccess webinar on email marketing, which focused on how to create emails that people actually read. Jessica summarized nine tips that WriterAccess’ own Director of Marketing Ginna Hall provided in the webinar. Some of the top ones included creating a strong subject line and powerful call to action, and making emails urgent and lively.
Takeaway: “You can reach your audience where they are and when they are ready for it, but you have to know who your audience is, what they are going to respond to best, and precisely what you want out of them.”
Good writing begins with good research, and Brooks M. offered some great suggestions on how to get excellent sources. He started by stressing the importance of using primary sources rather than media reports, which are often secondary sources. Conducting a search for papers, reports and studies may take time, but it’ll strengthen your content. When you can’t find the information you need in primary research, Brooks’ recommendation was to ask the experts themselves. You already have their names, on the covers and in the footnotes of the primary sources you’ve gathered.
Takeaway: “Good reporting is the foundation of good content and requires the best possible sources.”
Scott B understands how to communicate businesses’ and organizations’ values both clearly and effectively. His past clients have included graduate schools, hospitals, doctors, financial advisors, insurance agencies, tech startups, cafes, churches and retailers.
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