The 5 Best Practices to Give Life to Your Content
Content continues to evolve every day. There’s always something new looming on the horizon, and nothing could ever stop how it shapes up most of the business landscape. Without compelling content, money can’t flow directly to you.
If you’ve been creating content for a long time, there are a few things that you deem as “tried and tested.” Most of the time, you tend to stick to these methods because they work. What’s the point in shaking things up if that’s how you’ve been getting clicks and views? You might be right, but not for long. People’s taste changes along with every trend and new product slapped on their faces.
Just because your “tried and tested” method works spotlessly, it doesn’t mean that’s going to be the same a few months from now. I’ve had a lot of “this is it! I’ve found it!” moments in my life as a writer, but it always blows over as soon as a new principle or style gets my attention.
For you to keep up with the rifts and changes in content creation, it’s best to familiarize yourself with these 5 helpful techniques that have aided me through thick and thin.
People are suckers for great stories.
Gossip, news, original scripted shows, movies, books, you name it. The entertainment industry has never been this colorful since the invention of motion pictures in 1892 and the publication of novels in 1002. People love immersing themselves in stories.
This is the best thing you can have in a content campaign. It’s always the story that hooks your audience in for you to reel them into what you’re promoting. If you’re working on a piece that seems drab, try injecting a few personal stories. Be a Better Blogger’s Kevin Duncan offers up a useful tip when using anecdotes within your blog. “When used properly, anecdotes can grab the attention of your readers and set the stage for the rest of your blog post,” Duncan writes. “You shouldn’t overdo it, of course. But when used in moderation, anecdotes can be a blogger’s best friend.”
Make them cry (or laugh, or angry, whatever).
A study conducted by “Contagious” author Jonah Berger and University of Pennsylvania Assistant Professor of Operations and Information Management Katherine L. Milkman shows that stories eliciting good feelings were shared more than those that have a bad angle. In other words, the “good news” overshadowed the “bad news.”
Does this mean you should only have positive stuff in your content every time? Nope, you’re missing the point here, buddy. The best approach is to make your content a conduit of feelings—happiness, sadness, anger, inspiration, frustration, etc.
Make your audience identify with your content by adding emotionally charged words, anecdotes that tug at your heartstrings, and shaping your entire content for the very purpose of inciting an emotional response.
Apple is a pro at this. Take a look at their “Goodnight Developers” WWDC 2019 Keynote video and see if you feel a bit of a connection with the story (even if you’re not a developer):
Write like you talk because why not?
People are drawn to other people because of their personality. Oftentimes, it’s in the way they talk that you figure out a tad bit about who they are. Think Ryan Reynolds, for example. His tone and voice give you a funny and obnoxious impression.
So when you’re writing your content or planning out a piece that has to hit the right notes, remember to write like how you talk in real life. Of course, this doesn’t apply to corporate or legal writers, but it definitely helps you sound more relaxed and comfortable as a content writer.
However, you have to make sure that your writing doesn’t come off as a super weird stream of consciousness piece like William S. Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch.”
The Huffington Post offers a good way to adapt your own voice into your writing. “Stay true to who you are, and don’t try to fit someone else’s writing style to your own. We’ve all got our unique voices, so make sure you’re using yours.”
Play around with grammar, don’t stick to the rules.
Some writers are fans of the oxford comma (like me), but many aren’t. Some like to write in fragments. The thing is, you don’t necessarily have to follow grammar rules strictly—as long as it goes well with what you’re writing. Try playing around with sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and the like.
Content writing is a casual form of writing. It’s not a book, a dissertation, or a study. Feel free to break some rules. Keep in mind that this shouldn’t be a common practice. It can be used to spruce up your content, but it’s not something that should be regarded as your writing standard.
Read up on everything.
A good way to expand your vocabulary is by reading. A lot. Like seriously, read up on books, magazines, online long reads (The Guardian has an interesting section called “The Long Read,” and case studies.
Giving your writing more life entails supplying yourself with the necessary words to make it fly out of the pages. Your style and voice are significantly influenced by the stuff that you read. In Jeff Goins’ blog, “Why Writers Need to Read if They Want to Be Good,” the importance of updating your word bank is emphasized.
“As a writer, you’ll find yourself hitting plateaus and roadblocks when you aren’t reading,” Goins writes. “You’ll run out of words, if you’re not regularly being challenged through books and other material.”
“Writers need to read. A lot. Magazines. Books. Periodicals. And so on. They need to grasp the art of language, to appreciate the finer points of words. As they read, they should jot down ideas and capture thoughts as they come,” says Goins.
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