How to make good, effective content

Copywriting, content writing and blogging

Getting content out online can be pretty daunting for a lot of people.

There are two camps of people: 

- Those with a budget available to pay a copywriter, video producer, or creative agency to make content for them.

- Those without a budget who need to rely on themselves to create content.

Regardless of whether you're paying someone to make content for you, or if you're doing it yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that the process of creating and promoting that content actually works for you.

Keep it simple

Don't overcomplicate things. You want the process of creating content to be smooth, as well as the process of your audience accessing that content to be smooth. Don't make something that's difficult for your audience to access, make sure they can consume the content quickly and easily without having to subscribe to new services, or without having to download big files, etc.

Think of it like a nice meal. Your audience will enjoy a simple dish, cooked well, much more than they will a fancy/tricky meal cooked poorly. Give them a nice simple pasta that they can consume easily and enjoyably, rather than trying to re-create something you saw on Masterchef that they have to use a blow-torch and a ladder to consume.

Less is more

The awesome thing about the Internet is that it's not going anywhere. Posting a blog, article, or video this week won't limit you from being able to post another one next week, or next month.

The typical attention span of an Internet user is pretty short. Use your content to tell your audiences one idea at a time. And keep the content piece short, because if your audience has to read or watch something for more than 5 minutes - it's unlikely they'll make it to the end of the piece of content that you've put so much time and effort into.

When directing videos for clients, I always ask, "if I was your audience, and you only had 30 seconds to tell me your message, how would you tell me?"

Think of it as... an elevator pitch. I'm your target audience, and I'm in an elevator with you, going up one floor. I'm listening, but for a super short time. How are you going to grab my interest and communicate your idea or message to me?

Now keep that in mind throughout the production of your content. Are you sticking to your message, or are you trying to cram a bunch of other messages into your video/blog post as well? It's tempting to want to fit everything into one piece, because of the effort and spend that it might cost to make content. But adding more stuff into your piece of media will almost definitely lead you off on a tangent from the original message you wanted to convey to your audience. 

Tell your audience one thing at a time. Less is more. If you have two messages to tell your audience, break them up into two shorter pieces rather than trying to squeeze your creative energy, and your audience's valuable few minutes of attention into one piece.

Quality assurance

Before releasing your content, check it over. And then get a colleague to check it over. And then get your mum or your partner or your best friend or your dog to check it over.

Look out for spelling mistakes. Look out for typos. Make sure that any images are displaying correctly, with the right dimensions and correct alignment. Make sure that you've added in hyperlinks to any references you've mentioned.

If you're producing video, look out for the little things. Making sure that your audio is clear and at a correct volume, and making sure that your images are 'framed' correctly, and that the lighting is flattering, and making sure you use a tripod or something to stabilize your camera, are far more important than making sure you have fancy graphics and title sequences or green-screen effects. People will much prefer to be able to hear and see you clearly, than to struggle to hear what you're saying, or look at a shaky piece of footage that gives them motion sickness.

Make sure that there are no glaring errors that will distract your audience from what you're trying to tell them.

So:

- Keep it simple. 

- Keep it short.

- Stick to one idea or message per communication.

- And make sure that there are no errors.

When you're ready to share your content, make sure you've thought about your strategy to get your message 'out there'. Is your most effective method going to be to share the content to your Facebook wall, or to find a forum that's full of the type of people who are within your target audience? How many people do you hope to have see your piece of content? Where are those people?

Don't expect your audience to find you - find them, and deliver your well-crafted message.

...

*More on sharing content with your audience coming soon in another blog post. See what I did there?


Kealey Nutt

Kealey Nutt

Director at Eleven & Twelve

I'm a digital media producer and the director of my own small business, called Eleven & Twelve. We enable our clients to communicate effectively, conversationally and simply, using video and interactive multimedia content, social media, and clever web strategy. I publish an online magazine, produce a digital radio station, make documentaries, and I'm a comedian. I've been a prominent character in Melbourne's coworking and start up community. Now setting up my own small office & growing my SME!


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Phil Khor

Phil Khor , Founder at SavvySME

Hey Kealey, awesome article. I really enjoyed it. I like your analogy of a simple dish, cooked well, rather than trying too hard and end up stressing over it in the process. It's a recipe for disaster (speaking from experience :) ) I might add that the key is simply to get started. The first step is always the hardest. The sooner we start, the sooner we get better at it. Thanks Kealey. Can't wait for your next post. :)

Frederique Bros

Frederique Bros , Founder & Editor at Women Love Tech

Great article. thank you.

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