Exercise Instructions

Writing well isn’t easy. As German author Thomas Mann once said, “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

When your writing’s purpose is aimed at marketing your company’s product, a whole new crop of challenges may present themselves – one of which is finding a way to differentiate your brand from the sea of competition.

You’ve likely heard the phrase breaking through the noise, but how does a company do so successfully? There are no magic bullets or formulas out there to guarantee your success, but luckily there are actionable ways to help improve your writing and reach your audience with content that hits the mark.

Next time your company is ready to produce content, ensure that these five points are put into consideration.

1. Audience

Producing content that resonates with your customers all boils down to how well you know their personas. Have you clearly identified their challenges in order to come up with a way to rectify them? Do you know what roles they play in their jobs, families and society so that you know in which way to reach them? Are there specific perspectives that should be addressed? 

If you aren’t able to answer these basic questions, then chances are you are creating generic content that’s not particularly effective. If it’s not going to resonate with your potential customers, then it’s not going to help move them down the path to purchase. Successful content marketing hinges on the quality of your customer personas, as well as your ability to align those personas to your overall strategy.

2. Authority

The best content is created by someone who can stand strongly behind their words. Write about things that you love and can speak authoritatively on. In other words, don't fake it — if you are not an expert in this particular arena, find someone who can better articulate what to say. Pick their brain before you pick up your pen.

3. Attitude

As the old adage goes, it’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it. Are you using jargon that your audience might not understand, or buzzwords that are overused and cliché? If so, it’s time to consider your company’s tone of voice and nail down a plan for producing the content to match. 

Done right, content should adhere to a uniformed style and have a consistent tone across the board, regardless of the channel. As a content creator, this is your chance to make the character of your business come alive through the words that you write — whether that is technical, factual or informal in tone. 

Face it: people like to deal with people, so ensuring that your brand has a personality that customers can easily recognize is an important step in the content creation process. Ideally, your tone should be immediately recognizable to audiences, even if your logo was removed from your website or social channel.

4. Application

Start with the why but make sure you give your audience clear applications and action items. Effective content will leave readers with a clear idea of which steps to take next. You’re writing marketing content, not a novel, so cut to the chase and keep your audiences out of suspense. 

When thinking about the buyer’s journey, your job is to make sure that your content is engaging and encourages prospective customers to move in a specific direction. What actions should your customer take next? Each of those actions is a conversion, and your buyers will likely need to complete a series of much smaller conversions over time to ultimately lead them down the path to purchase.

5. Analytics

If you’re not already tracking the metrics that matter to you, it’s time to start. If you can't measure it, you will never know where to fix it. Same holds true with writing. Good writers measure their content performance in the form of social engagement, shares and mentions. Let’s not forget about comments and replies. Make sure you not only leave room for a healthy conversation — encourage it.

The next time you’re tasked with developing content marketing materials for your company, consider the five A's before putting pen to paper. Mapping out how to stand out before you get started will not only make your life easier, it will make your content stronger.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  sanchom 

Title image by sanchom