by Paul Gillin, May 4, 2015
Among the top complaints of content marketing professionals in nearly all the research I’ve seen is that they have trouble coming up with ideas for good content. But creating good content isn’t a big problem if you know three basic secrets. In my May 6, 2015 webcast I’ll go into greater detail on all of them. Here’s a preview of what I’ll discuss.
Think like a Customer
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Traditional marketing has taught us how to tell our story, but not how others listen to it. We need to change that equation because customers are talking to themselves a whole lot more than they used to.
Your message will get a more receptive audience if it addresses the issues that concern your customers and uses language that they use. How do you get this insight? Hanging out at user conferences and trade shows, and talking to customers is a great tactic. You can also learn things by joining the online communities they frequent. The point is to start putting yourself in the shoes of your customers so you can think as they do. Then you can more easily talk to them in ways that will get their attention.
Write in Pictures
This recommendation from Bill Blundell, former head feature writer for the Wall Street Journal, is the most useful piece of writing advice I have ever received. Two-thirds of people are visual learners. They respond to images much more than they respond to words. When we can bring our messages to life with words that conjure up scenes, we automatically make our message more memorable. We can do this both by choosing better words and by choosing better contexts to put them in.
For example: “Explode” instead of “grow.” “Cheer” instead of “approve.” “Slash” instead of “cut.” These are the types of words that create visual associations. That makes them more memorable.
Try a Different Approach
When I was an editor at Computerworld magazine, my boss once challenged me to write the weekly editorial commentary as a limerick. It was difficult, but the result was both satisfying and memorable.
You don’t have to go that far in crafting a message to customers, but experimenting with formats automatically makes your message more distinctive. Try an FAQ. Or a top-10 list. Or a pro-con debate. Or write in the style of your favorite fiction author. Believe me, nobody is going to criticize you for trying to be interesting.
There’s lots more to discuss in the May 6 webinar. I hope you’ll join me and bring your own ideas and questions.
Learn more about the webinar here: Creating Content that Connects