Clarity is Key: Making Content That Gives People What They Want

You have more competitors than ever in today’s attention economy. With such a short window for capturing your online visitor’s attention, you must be laser focused on delivering the desired result before an unexpected bell and whistle comes barging in. And if this weren’t hard enough already, many times our first step is to tell the customer what they want – and then deliver.

Follow the Roadmap

A content strategy document is the key resource for creating content that skirts the Pacific Trash Vortex of the Internet to engage your audience. The content strategy document represents a roadmap that represents digital publishing, information architecture and editorial content. This ensures that everyone on the team is contributing their area of expertise toward the same goal. Ask a content strategist to show you her Editorial Calendar and prepare for a religious awakening. Content strategists love clarity.

Know the Goal

Making content that gives people what they want begins with an understanding of the final objective. Is our client’s goal to increase sales, email opt-ins, pageviews, shares, Likes, Retweets, or something else? Once the objective is established, every point of interaction through to the conversion must support this message.

As web writers, we are running out of excuses for failing in our contribution toward that goal. After the content strategy document and aside from our skills with the nouns and verbs, we have myriad resources designed to keep us on task, including but not limited to: editorial calendars, style guides and SEO keywords.

While we writers may hang onto these resources as life vests to keep us on point, it’s important to also remember that they’re really to benefit our reader/visitor/customer. (And if we forget, our content manager will remind us.)

It’s All About the Audience

Writing for an audience that scans rather than reads is now automatic, and we know we must be quick and to the point rather than long-winded. We can’t fool ourselves into thinking that our reader cares so much about us that they are willing to stick around just to read our marketing prose.

After our behind-the-scenes resources, reader cues like bulleted lists, bold-faced words and relevant links are all great ways to get our point across clearly and succinctly to the reader. And when the bounce rate goes down, and conversions go up, we’ll know we’ve given our readers what they wanted.

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