As a former TV and print business journalist, creating great content comes easily to me. Nothing prepares you for generating attention-getting storylines than decades of daily reporting and writing.
Content now comes in every shape and form – a tweet, a podcast, an infographic, a video interview, a white paper, an e-book or a sales pitch. How do you stand out in a crowded world where every individual and company can be a publisher?
As the old adage says, it’s simple but it’s not easy.
We hear a great deal about how content should be authentic. But what does that mean? To me, it means offering information that’s interesting, informative and persuasive without being too salesy. Authentic content takes complicated information and data, breaks it down and makes its digestible. Authentic content does not obfuscate or overly complicate an idea or finding. Authentic content finds the story behind the number and shows how real people use and benefit from a product, service or idea.
The journalist in me would say authentic content answers these questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Plus, the Why Now question – meaning, why should I care about this right now or what’s in it for me as the reader, listener, viewer or audience member?
Checklist for Creating Great Content
- Avoid gobbledygook – which is wordy and generally unintelligible jargon. The word, gobbledygook, was coined in 1944 by Maury Maverick, a U.S. Congressman from Texas. He used the word in a memo expressing contempt for Washington’s red-tape language.
- Be honest. Customers and audience members want to know what you stand for, and they want access to credible information so they can make decisions.
- Be real. Include real-life examples to illustrate key points.