Written Content – Tone and Approach

When it comes to content marketing, your tone and approach can make or break your strategy. This covers word choice, language, sentence structure, and generally everything under the purview of “written communication”. And let’s not forget about the place in which you submit this content. Long form blog posts will differ from Tweets or Facebook posts, and journalistic articles need to adhere to stricter guidelines in terms of how the content is organized and delivered. Marketing content have calls to action that creates an atmosphere of urgency.

A good writer will take advantage of the digital landscape; tone is difficult to mold and direct and not everyone will understand subtle jokes and satire. This means that, given the creative freedom they desperately deserve, writers and content developers can push the envelope when it comes to tone and subject matter in order to set the stage for audience reception. How they do this depends on several factors: the audience you have, the audience you want, and your company’s reputation. A bank seeking investors might write about numbers, risk assessment, and assets, but if they want people to use their services, they adopt a friendly tone and focus on savings, security, and rewards. Two different audiences, two different approaches. Once you’ve figured out your audiences, the next step is focusing on consistency.

Small companies might only need the services of a single copywriter or content developer, but when you’re talking about large corporations, you’ll need a small army to get through the workload. This is where consistency is paramount. When I say consistency, I mean all the things I listed about word choice, language, and sentence structure. Everyone on your content development team must be on the same page using the same tone and approach or you’ll end up sending mixed messages. You’ll want everyone to have as consistent an experience as possible, regardless of who they’re talking to or where they find their information about you. Think about how you speak to your supervisor versus how you speak to your colleagues. Note the differences in your vernacular and tone. That is exactly what writers need to be mindful of when producing content.

I’ve always said writing is difficult, and anyone who tells you it’s easy is either lying or has a very high opinion of themselves. It’s supposed to be difficult. Each writer has a personal style and structure, and that’s the part that comes most easily to them; if writing is “easy”, it most certainly means they are exceptional at writing in one tone and style: their own. When you write for others, you have to adopt a different voice and produce content for an audience you might not be comfortable with yet. Whether or not you can break down that wall of discomfort and get the job done speaks volumes about your writing ability. To do this you have to research your audience, gather data on how they communicate with each other, compare it to your company’s “personality”, assess the type of content your audience expects, produce that content, and then edit it into a satisfactory result. Writing is difficult. It can be frustrating, painstaking work, but it constantly pushes you to become a better writer and communicator.

What is “Quality Content”?

It’s the buzzword that’s on every social media marketer’s vocabulary: Quality Content. But what exactly does it mean? There’s no magic formula that will make every post you make instantly popular, because “quality” is a completely subjective term that’s dependent on your target audience. That’s right, you don’t decide whether or not the things you post are considered “quality content”, that status is given by the people who access that content and deem it “quality” enough to share with their friends. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re not adhering to your personal concept of quality content; you are always creating it for your readers and consumers. This means you have to be wary of your use of language, images, and post frequency. Vary and adjust your vocabulary to match your audience and post where they post most often.

So how do you define quality content? Do you gauge its worth by Likes or Shares? Or do you delve deeper and look at how long someone stayed at your article, whether or not they scrolled all the way down, etc? All of these are valid markers of quality content, but whether or not the marker applies with change from post to post.

The Infographic – Shareability At Its Finest

The infographic is one of the most powerful tools at a social media marketer’s disposal. These efficiently packaged images includes tons of information segmented into easily understandable steps accompanied by interesting visuals. You shouldn’t, however, see the infographic as a strategy that will bring you instant success; not all infographics become popular, especially if you’re working from a niche market. The shareability factor hinges on the size of the target audience. The larger the target audience, the more relevant your infographic becomes, though at the risk of being lost amongst thousands of other shareable images. Here’s an example if a neat, horizontal infographic that’s easy to read:

1. Be General, But Be Specific. I know, it may be confusing and contradictory, but you have to think from a consumer’s point of view. You may understand the information, but you need to be presenting the information like a teacher. Being general means to be inclusive, using language that everyone can understand and avoiding gender-specific pronouns like “he” and “she”. To be specific means you have to provide information and tips that your audience can use right away. The less work and effort your audience needs to do to benefit from your infographic, the better.

2. Choose Your Visuals Wisely. Yes, numbers are impressive, and your first instinct would be to add a pie chart or a bar chart. These things mean absolutely nothing to the average reader other than the fact that you’re comparing the size of one bar to another. Emphasize the use of percentages, as a visual of a large 75% has a more substantial impact than 3 quarters of a pie chart. It gets the point across faster, as the reader won’t have to translate a visual into a number as they view your infographic.

3. Avoid Sensory Overload. Yes, you have a lot of information to share, and no, you don’t have to cram it all into one huge superimage! Guide your audience. Take them on a tour of the infographic with numbered steps configured in a way that they can easily follow without getting lost or overwhelmed. If the reader doesn’t know where to look, they’ll miss on out on important information…information that you spent a great deal of time packaging into an infographic!

4. Be Accessible. Like I mentioned earlier, the information found in an infographic should be something your readers can implement right away with little to no effort. For example, an infographic about cleaning diamond jewelry assumes that everyone has a piece of diamond jewelry they can clean. However, if you create one about cleaning and maintaining jewelry in general (Step 1!) with a subsection that includes diamond jewelry, you’re going to reach a lot more people.