Creating content that engages audiences and makes them take action is no easy feat. However, for any company that has a blog and social media presence, its an important skill to learn. Even if you don’t create the actual content and it’s done by a third party, it’s best to know the basics at least so that you understand the need for good content.
As we all know, content has become a buzzword over the course of the last year and as such, there’s a plethora of advice to be found online, much of it conflicting. Content creation and marketing doesn’t have to be confusing though, just get to know the basics.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is another term that we have heard being bandied about a lot in recent times, although it’s nothing new. The basis of online marketing has to be content which should engage an audience on an emotional level in order to provoke a response.
Content is the kingpin of the online marketing experience, it’s the driver of traffic, it’s essentially the convertor to sales. This is because good content creates a buzz, it gets shared, it provokes conversation and attracts a healthy level of traffic to a site through readership.
So thinking about this, content marketing is merely the term used to describe your online marketing efforts. Without it, how else will your site stand out amongst the billions out there.
Whilst of course it’s more likely to be engaging content if the creator is an expert in their subject, it’s not essential. Many a content writer knows nothing about the target industry when they take on a job and this is overcome by a talent with words and research.
It is vital that the content comes over as authoritative, depending on the market. For things like product descriptions, tag lines and one-liners, this is not quite so important. However, saying that, one of the most important aspects to content creation is knowing your audience.
Think about it. A company who sells tyres won’t have content written in the same way as a children’s toy manufacturer, as they have completely different audiences. It’s important that the tone and style used in the content matches this, as it’s easy to get wrong and disconnect your audience completely.
For this, using a reading grade such as that within Word will help. If you have a corporate audience who understands and enjoys reading complex documents, then sure, go ahead and do it. But if your audience is made up of young mums from a wide cross section of interests, background and so on, then the tone will have to be a lot lighter and less business-like in order to connect and engage.
How do I know I have the tone right?
There are plugins that you can download for Word, such as the one from Grammarly, which allows the author to check for readability. This looks at the Flesch-Kincaid Readability score which tests how difficult a document is to read.
This is based on American English and the higher the score, the easier a document is to read:
So, this is based on the number of words, how many syllables each word has alongside the
number and length of sentences. Longer words, with more syllables will have a lower Flesch-Kincaid score than those which use simpler words.
It’s also possible to access readability reports in all Microsoft documents; instructions on the link above.
How important is readability?
On the web, very. People tend to scan documents online which they may read in more detail offline. This means that anything contained within a blog or article needs to have the ability to allow passing the eye over it. Anything that makes the reader stop and go back disrupts the flow and therefore you run the risk of the audience getting bored.
Layout is also important on the web and it’s important to keep paragraphs short, with white space in between each, again, making it easier to scan.
Obviously with business and technical documents, it’s probably going to have a lower readability score, but in this case it’s not such a big concern as the content is tailored towards the audience.
However, the technical audience still scans and this should be borne in mind when addressing the layout of an article. Keep the white space, add interesting ‘snippets’ of text, such as a quote, into graphics to peak more interest.
Ensure the content is interesting and you’re good to go. There’s no real mystery to it and obviously spelling and grammar should be impeccable, but the ease of reading to a web audience is equally important.
Learn more about content creation by speaking to one of our content marketing experts. Get in touch today!