Jennifer Daniel is associate director at Craft.
In today’s digital age, content is king – but not just any content. For PR pros and brand storytellers, the pressure is on to craft written material that captivates, informs, and drives results. Whether you’re writing for email marketing, social media, blog posts, or op-eds, here’s the ultimate listicle to elevate your content creation game:
- Don’t bury the lede: Respect your readers’ time and grab their attention from the get-go. Free tools like Headline Studio can analyze your headlines for optimal traffic, engagement and SEO.
- Feel the feels: Just as a painter uses a palette of colors to create a vivid canvas, the best writing evokes a spectrum of emotions in its readers – whether happiness, sadness, or inspiration. Pose relatable questions that tap into universal human experiences, and don’t shy away from literary devices like metaphors, similes and allegories to further enhance your copy.
- Take it from Twain: Would you use an SAT word at a bar? Would you call a banana a yellow, elongated piece of fruit? Most likely not, so don’t use it in your social media caption either. Ditch the jargon, and remember, “don’t use a 5-dollar word when a 50-cent word will do.”
- An anecdote is the antidote: Humans are innately drawn to stories. They provide context, make abstract concepts relatable and ignite emotions. Whenever possible, share case studies, statistics, and testimonials to build trust and credibility, especially in an age of information overload.
- Buzz off, buzzwords: Say goodbye to cliches like “innovate,” “disrupt,” and “unprecedented.” For a refreshing take, check out Lake Superior’s list of the most overused phrases from 1976 – present.
- Ignite a spark: Opt for language that evokes curiosity, challenges perspectives, or paints vivid imagery. Propel your narrative forward with strong statements like: “In a shocking move by Congress…” or, “It’s disheartening that…”
- Avoid platitudes and hedging: If it goes without saying, don’t say it. Additionally, words like “just” and “actually” can express hesitation or uncertainty and lessen the impact of your writing – stop using them.
- Less is more: Practice the rule of thirds, and when you finish your initial draft, shorten it by ⅓. You can also take a page out of Axios’ playbook: the Smart Brevity format is becoming the gold standard for concise, yet impactful reporting.
- Understand the relationship between repetition and retention: Consistency builds trust. Whether it’s your brand voice, visuals, or values, studies show that people need to see a message at least seven times before it sinks in. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. For example, try repurposing a blog post into an infographic, podcast or video series for social media. Each touch point should echo the overarching brand message to ensure resonance.
- Different strokes for different folks: While your primary audience should always be at the forefront, today’s digital terrain demands a versatile strategy. Dive into analytics to segment your audience by behavior, preferences or demographics, and ensure your content mix resonates directly with these specific sub-groups.
Content marketing is an art and a science. And with these tenets top of mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating content that is compelling and impactful.