5 Steps Before Creating Content

A post at Digitant Consulting opened with:

Recent research shows that when they need information related to health care, over 90% of people go to online sources.

You know that building a strong online presence is one of the most cost-effective strategies to grow your business. It is, however, easier said than done. When prospects come to your website, what actions are you taking to make your story resonate?

Here are five steps to take before creating content.

Know Your Target

Who, exactly, are you writing to? Is it a home-bound senior who reads Prevention and never misses an episode of Dr. Oz or is it a single parent with kids in daycare?  This is more than just creating an avatar or picture in your mind.

Two Strategies

Talk. Then Really Listen.

Strike up a conversation when you’re in line for the mocha whatever at Starbucks. The same for when you and a small mob of other parents are at their kid’s soccer practice. You will be surprised what you can learn.

Do a Bit of Research

Spend time with those who are on the front lines. The team in the Call Center or at Registration interact daily with the people you are trying to reach.

Set the Perspective

Before you select New Document in Word, ask, “Why should people care about this story?” Answer that question and you’ve taken the first step in writing from the customer’s perspective.

Be Conversational

Write more like you talk. With the rise of “fake news,” people are naturally wary. To build trust, write with the same voice you would use if you were having lunch in a crowded diner. Save the academic writing style for your Ph.D. In short, be excited rather than exuberant.

Tell a Story

Build in a story and, when you can, tell it in the first person. It draws you in and is far more memorable.

Not so hot: "Jeff has always struggled with his weight.”

Better: “My weight has been an issue since the third grade.”

Know the Call to Action

The late Dr. Steven Covey used to always say, “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s still sage advice. You need to know exactly what you want the reader to do when they finish the post. Every paragraph has to guide the reader towards that action.

In that same light, don’t be shy when it comes to the ask. There’s a reason why teenagers won’t stop using the coffee table as a footstool until you tell them. Your target audience has fewer mind readers than you might think. If you want the reader to call, ask them.

The Challenge

Look back at your last three pieces of web content. How do they measure up?

If you’re looking for help in creating content that resonates, let’s start a conversation.

"5 Steps Before Creating Content" is the first in an occasional series on improving your copywriting skills.