Taking the BS Out of Your Content
When is the last time you read an article from top to bottom?
Was it an article obviously churned out by a content manager who was in a hurry to publish another article on the corporate blog? Or, was it a well-researched, concise article that included images to draw you in and keep you captivated?
The reality is, you are busy and don’t want to waste your time on an article that isn’t valuable.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the average reader only spends a few seconds skimming an article before choosing to read it or backing out to go elsewhere. Why would your audience want to read the kind of content you wouldn’t read yourself from another company?
Remove the Excess
A recent webinar hosted by WriterAccess covered the topic, “How to Stand Out by Writing Without Bullshit” with guest speaker Josh Bernoff, 20-year veteran of Forrester Research. Josh explained that over-writing and under-planning content drives readers away. Most businesses do not consider the time put into planning, researching and trimming content when they pay by the word. One paragraph of well-written content is far more valuable (and took far more time to craft) than three or four wordier versions that were quickly hacked out by a writer.
This is why it is so important to choose a quality writer carefully.
Hire journalists, bloggers and copywriters that know how to craft concise content. Then, teach them your brand voice to help maintain consistency. While some projects are bound to be bigger than others, don’t focus on length or frequency as much as quality. Your writer is going to do a lot of the behind-the-scene work of researching, writing and editing your content. A valuable writer is going to understand that companies need content worth reading for it to be worth publishing.
- Remove the jargon
- Remove the statements that don’t directly add value
- Remove repetitive phrases
- Clarify your main point
- Stay on topic
- Provide actionable solutions
It’s Not About Pleasing Everyone
Josh covered the importance of ultimately having one leader who is going to determine brand voice and direction. You need to be able to collaborate without compromising the overall quality. If you are working with a writer, key stakeholders and administrators, then you need to know who is the project leader. With too many cooks in the kitchen, you are likely to churn out the listless content that tries to please everyone and impresses no one.
- Consider who you are writing for (target audience)
- Pick a leader to determine direction
- Plan your content in advance for better topics
- Pick a focus to pinpoint
- Read through and cut the fluff
Alethea M is a corporate blogging guru and freelance writer for WriterAccess. She loves pulling out interesting facts from article research to impress friends at dinner parties.