Thousands of bloggers and guru wannabes tell you to write great content. Many also share their rehashed “wisdom” about what to write.
Forget the snake oil salesmen. Instead, steal these five proven, actionable and customizable content tips. They’re based on the experience of an award-winning journalist and former newspaper editor who began writing 50 years ago.
And my business training/public speaking experience makes them useful for better presentations and webinars, too.
Writing can be fun and productive. If you can’t find time to apply these proven principles, stop writing immediately! Fill your site or blog with pretty pictures instead. Posting lousy content is less productive than postng nothing.
- Set a high quality standard, and hold yourself to it.
- Whatever you write–everything from a tag line to white paper or article–should be clear, concise and compelling. Plan your piece using a Mind Map to improve its flow; keep your words, sentences and paragraphs breathtakingly short; rely on your ears to tell you if what you’ve written is true and direct. And merciless eliminate anything that’s fluffy, confuding or opaque.
- A good written piece is like a great conversation–always rich with relevance, proof and value.
- To add relevance, “listen” closely to your audience (in LinkedIn groups, etc) before you begin “talking.” And avoid the pronouns “I,” “me” etc.–you aren’t relevant to any stranger; just make sure your ideas and suggestions are.
- To increase credibility, load your content with social proof or other evidence that you know what you’re talking about. Always show, don’t tell.
- Readers already have hundreds of ways to spend their precious time. They only keep reading when you give plenty of take-away value. Invite them to steal those hard-won secrets you’re sharing. If you’re good you have plenty other great stuff, anyway.
And remember, the more you listen, the better you’ll write.
[Tomorrow: “Hook ‘em, don’t overload ‘em”]