Producing content for the web can not only be creatively challenging but can suffer from some of the pitfalls of any other task – lack of time, lack of ideas, and general lack of pizzazz. It’s not that easy to write in the first place and making that writing work well for your purpose is equally as challenging. With these challenges in mind, here are a few suggestions on how to make the content you do publish not only easier but better.
Get Others to Help You
You can hire a professional copywriter, someone well versed in the mechanics of writing style, editing, and grammar. They can write in your voice and leave their name off of it (called “ghostwriting”) or they can be a byline author with direct credit. Often, a hired gun can come up a topic, or if you prefer, you give them what you had in mind and they will write whatever you ask. The main advantage of a professional copywriter is, simply put, they’re a professional. The polish and expertise that comes from focusing on this one task, as opposed to using someone who is responsible for other duties who happens to write, is well worth the cost of admission. Also, since they can be creating copy while you are doing something else, the output level of your content improves. Sometimes the best thing you can do is simply get out more content and having others help you is a sure way to do that.
Focus on Your Customer’s Problems
When you’ve run out of ideas for writing, focus on your customer’s problems and how you solve them. Use your blog, for example, as a way to help your customer before they run into the problem in the first place. To them, this feels helpful, it proactively solves a problem, and it shows you care. For you, it could reduce your support calls because the customer now knows what to do to self-diagnose and solve their problem just by reading your blog. Examine your customer service frequently asked questions database (FAQ) and pick one idea to discuss. Don’t be afraid to get specific but be sure to not go into pitch mode – think of a customer support person describing a solution to a common problem. Discuss when and why the problem usually crops up, what the symptoms are, and what the most common solutions (or troubleshooting methods) are for most people. At the end of the post, link to more in depth information or perhaps a tech contact for when the customer still isn’t able to solve the problem on their own. Use the questions your customers ask to come up with ideas and the support team’s answers to create the content.
Make it Interesting with Multi-media
People want to consume information how they want to when they want to. Just writing content makes your online presence boring, so mix it up. Record your blog post with a digital audio recorder or a free telephone conference service and publish it out via iTunes. Set a Powerpoint slide presentation to music and publish it to Youtube, embedding the content into a blog post. Bring in other people’s videos and comment on them within a post, arguing for or against what they say. Add graphics or team photos to put a face and name to your group or a real life spin on a boring topic. Create a mash-up of pictures for entertainment. Not all content has to be so serious. Content that builds your brand and forwards your customer relationships does not have to be boring. Making it unique helps you stand out. You can find pictures that allow you to publish them with simple attribution via creativecommons.org or you can get your employees to create original pictures and let you use them. The point is, do something fresh!
Just Do It!
Content may be king, but creating it does not require that you trade your kingdom to get it. Using these tips will help you make it easier, faster, and better to not only produce the content but to make it more compelling and interesting. Try it today – you won’t regret it. (photo used found here:
Creative Commons Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tnarik/366393127/sizes/m/in/photostream/