The art of writing and distributing content for your website can be a hard one to learn and an even harder one to master, so having a set of rules is a must. Without one your brand risks coming off unprofessional, shallow, or just boring. Your business probably uses content to drive traffic to your website in the hope of increasing revenue, but what else could it do for you? With this question in mind let's dig into what guidelines your company should live by in order to keep your customers interested and keep them coming.
I've been doing a lot of blogging these days to help spread the word of my business in the Minneapolis area. With this set of rules, I've been able to nail down a more precise and enjoyable method to my writing. Without a clear focus and drive to my articles I feel they aren't as impactful and relevant to you, and that's no good for me. So here are a few of them I've been trying to abide by:
1. Be as descriptive and detailed as possible with utility
When readers take the time to come to your blog, don't just tell them to go do something, teach them and explain to them how to do it. A step by step guide is often a great way to accomplish this. An article that tells you that your content should live by set guidelines is pretty useless without telling you what they are, then describing them. Hey, that's kind of like this article! Just make sure you are detailed as possible, provide sources, examples, and anything else you think might be helpful to your audience.
It's also a great idea to include metrics and statistics if they're applicable. It's great to be able back up what you're saying with some cold hard facts. Plus, infographics are really in right now.
2. Try to be friendly and casual - but not too casual
It can be awfully boring to read articles that only talk in the formal tone of voice. Sometimes this is called for, but a majority of the time talking in a friendly and casual way can help your readers connect with you and your message. Use the type of language you would have in a face to face conversation with a colleague. Use I, we, you and conjunctions like you'll, and it's. It should read like someone's having a conversation with you. However, depending on your audience you'll still want to stay away from any offensive language.
The art of writing and distributing content for your website can be a hard one to learn and an even harder one to master, so having a set of rules is a must. Without one your brand risks coming off unprofessional, shallow, or just boring.
3. Deliver a clear and concise message to your readers
You always want your content to have a super clear message. Make sure your intro expressly states the purpose of the article so that your audience knows what they are getting into. This article, for example, ended its introductory statement with, "...let's dig into what guidelines your company should live by in order to keep your customers interested and keep them coming". You know from reading this sentence what you're going to get out of reading this (guidelines) and what they're going to do for you (bring you more customers - hopefully).
4. Tell a story and disclose your relationship with the material
Along the same lines as making your content friendly, is making your content personal. You're the reporter telling your story to your readers. Make sure you cover all the details, include: who, when, what, where and why everything happened. Take them on a journey and make it interesting. What did you get out of your experience? What did you learn, earn, or save from doing the thing.
Don't forget to always disclose your sources and make citations where applicable too. Not only does it show your respectful and a professional, it also makes you seem more credible as a source. In a time where social marketing is being more driven than every by values and personalization, this guideline is possible the most important.
Keeping your content friendly, informative, precise, fun and exciting all at the same time is the real challenge behind regular blogging. This list of content guidelines has been a tremendous help to me, and now (hopefully) you as well.
Let me know in the comments below if I missed any important guidelines that you write by!