It’s that time of year when there are lots of lists about what’s new in content. It might be about the kinds of content you produce, where you put it, or the latest bits of technology you absolutely must have to make your content grab eyeballs.
This is not about those things.
We can sometimes get lost in hype, or just something new seems more exciting than the fundamentals. For example, the latest fad diet might seem like a good shortcut, but the mantra of “eat less, move more” will still be the boring fundamentals that underpin success.
It’s the same with content; some things never change. We just need to remember the basics.
It’s not about you
I love posts from Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk. It would be easy to see all their work as a vanity project, the big am. My take is that pretty much every post sets out to do one thing: to help the reader do better. It might be to do something quicker, smarter, simpler or to just feel better.
It’s never just about them.
Even if you’re creating content about what you do or your product, all people are probably really interested in is what’s in it for them.
Quality over quantity
The old adage runs true. If you fill peoples inboxes with content that has no value or interest to them, at best you’re going to see your open rates and plummet, and at worst you’ll see your unsubscribe numbers go up.
How do you know if it’s quality content? I think, honestly, most of us know when we’ve just rushed something out because we thought we should do something. Or I’ve got four more measures for you in this post here.
Be a brand they buy into, not just buy from
The brands that survive will be the ones we buy into, not simply buy from. We will come out of this looking for meaning, purpose, and connection.Mary Portas
There are very few truly unique businesses in the world today. The thing that can make us distinctive is the connection we have with people. Every bit of content we put out there is our chance to make or strengthen that connection. It probably helps if you have a meaning or purpose that resonates with them, that’s possibly the start of your connection. Remind them what that is.
Subheadings meet the need for speed
Subheadings are still one of the best tools for stopping the scroll. If you’ve got people to start reading, or at least scrolling, a good subheading is a chance to make them pause, to read a bit more, to linger a bit longer.
Of course they might start scrolling again. But that’s what the next subheading is for. And the next one.
Don’t be vanilla
Go with something that means something, rather than playing it safeDan Levy – actor, writer, director “Schitt’s Creek”
Safe ticks the box that said “publish a post”. It rarely does much more than that. What’s the more useful or interesting way of doing it? Only you can really decide for your business.
The title really matters
If titles didn’t matter then clickbait wouldn’t be a thing. And I’m not suggesting you write clickbait-style titles, far from it.
But they’re such a powerful tool in helping people to decide if this is something worth a moment of their time that they have to be worth more than few moment’s of the writer’s time to make them great. You might have something that’s new in content for your business, but if the title seems like same old same old then your customer may never discover it.
Your first draft is not your only draft
Your first draft is always better than nothing. The second version is always better than the first.
It is a law of diminishing returns, and published is always better than perfect. But finding the time to go back over what you’ve written will always leave you with something better. And that’s got to be good.
So there be many things new in content, or nothing really new. However you’re approaching content in the year ahead, getting the fundamentals right sets you up to be able to grab people’s attention, stop their thumbs from scrolling and hopefully lodge you in their hearts and minds.