Great content is hard to produce. It needs to be engaging, insightful, targeted to the correct audience and, above all, captivating to the reader. These are principles that professional journalists have known about and abided by for years, so are there lessons that can be learnt by marketers in following in their footsteps?
Well, in a nutshell, yes there are. Here are six top tips that will help marketers to create more engaging, exciting content:
1. Grab the reader's attention
It's a crowded market out there and there's a constant battle among content producers for their work to grab the attention of the reader. As a result, marketers should take a leaf out the journalist's handbook and draft the opening lines of their copy in a way that screams out 'tell me more'.
This can be achieved by using the information pyramid. Place the most important and attention-grabbing information at the top of the article and get more granular as you work your way down. Hold back detail until later in a piece by which point you'll have the reader hooked.
2. Be committed to the truth
One thing to remember is to always respect the integrity of your subject matter and to treat the reader with that same respect. Honesty plays an essential part in building trust, and when drafting marketing material, that's precisely the goal of everything you're trying to achieve.
Marketers that make false or unsupported claims, fail to back up their statements or simply mislead run the risk of not only annoying the reader, but of also creating a negative brand impression which can be a lot more damaging in the long term.
3. Approach topics like a writer
Remember that engaging copy is written with a narrative at its heart, it's not something that should simply be a vehicle to promote products or services. As a marketer, the aim is to be an ambassador for the brand and to build interest; it should never be to simply sell, sell, sell.
For that reason, marketers should develop the mindset of storytellers and aim to explain the story behind the headline. Developing the skill to know how to frame a narrative to effectively showcase your brand is where the art lies.
4. Read more than you write
It may seem counterproductive, but effective marketers should spend more time reading than they actually do writing. In the field of journalism, intelligence gathering and research are some of the most essential phases of crafting any article.
Failing to adequately prepare or to read around a topic that you’re trying to promote will inevitably lead to dull, uninspiring copy, and that's something that marketers should always aim to avoid. Delving into the background of a topic will help to create more illuminating and exciting work.
5. Understand your audience
Marketing content has to be relevant to your audience if you want people to read it. In this regard, it's the same for the journalist who needs to appeal to their core readership in order to sell newspapers.
Carrying out audience research is therefore important. However, appreciating who your target audience should be is only half the battle; marketers must draft their copy in a way that appeals to and is highly relevant to them.
6. Know that 'quality is king'
A lot of talk these days is around how to rank well with search providers like Google. However, when content is assessed by the search engine's algorithm and it is shown to demonstrate high-quality information that is relevant to a website's readership, this can have a highly positive impact on search visibility, and quality is the key.
Ultimately, the best content is that which is crafted with a commitment to quality above all else. Factoring in all of the above skills is therefore important, and so too is appreciating the need to stick to your principles and deliver something that engages, excites and is honest with the reader.