5 Content Creation Techniques You Can Use Right Now
When I first began my career as a creative (wa-a-a-ay back in the day), I used to think I didn’t need any help or education or training.
“I’m talented.” I thought. “I can do this without all of that gobbledygook and mumbo jumbo.”
For the most part, I still feel that way to this day. It happens whenever I read some new sales letter that is going to sell me some new thing I already know about some topic I already have in my head. Or, at the very least, on my hard drive in the form of an e-book from 10 years ago.
But as a creative who writes compelling content with a specific result in mind, (creating leads, building brand awareness or closing new customers), I find I need to continue to learn, continue to build my skill set.
There is no end to the process, and even if “I already know!!!” (Picture your teenager rolling their eyes when you ask them if they know that keeping their room clean and uncluttered will help their overall mood) … it is still essential to my improvement as a professional to be reminded of what I know and refresh those knowledge sets.
Here are some of the basic techniques we can all keep in mind when that next deadline looms, and we’ve simply got to get the content out now … or at the very least before the end of the business day.
- Research, investigate, and discover: This works like the one true stopgap of writer’s block. The more research you’ve gathered, the more you’ll have to write about. Write it down. Go back and edit later. If you don’t use it, it’s fine to cut it.
- Headlines: If you can’t grab their attention, you won’t be able to get your message across. And these days it’s more important than ever to grasp someone’s concentration so they will click on the link, read your ad, ask for more info. Engagement gets points. How long can you hold their awareness after grabbing it requires an added skill.
- Simplify: Brevity is about speed. If you can get your point across to as many people as soon as you can, you’ll have more leads which means you have better odds of creating customers. Clear and concise. That’s what matters. What doesn’t matter is if you can write at a college level so that academics and professors will facilitate your expedition of an increased grade point average. Got it? Good. Keep it simple. Most people read and speak at a 5th or 7th-grade level.
- Tell a story: Link the story to your message. Make it relevant. It’s okay to take a sideways track to get there. It works like a disconnect. Plus, if its a story with similar challenges to your reader, then they’ll be able to make the connection for you.
Example: would be … There was a baseball player who loved to play. Loved the game. Loved everything about it. The prep. The batting. The situational strategies. He even got a partial scholarship right out of high school for a Division 3 college. He got playing time and decent coaching. But by the end of his sophomore year, he realized he couldn’t hit a curveball. Not only did he know it. Every pitcher in the division knew it too.
So did he quit baseball? Not really.
He went into broadcasting. And yesterday after 14 years in the minors he got called up to the major leagues to announce as the Number Two for the Oakland A’s. They’re in the wild card race this year. So this is a pretty big deal. The point is. Did he give up? Did he quit? Did he say this isn’t for me, or did he keep working on his craft?
And right now you’re not thinking about writing great content. You’re thinking about a champion’s heart in a tough situation overcoming the odds to stand out as the victor. And you hope you will be one too someday.
5. Who is your audience? Speak their language. Talk like they do. Use the words you would use if you were having a conversation in the middle of a day with some friends.
Or as the timeless philosopher Curly Howard of The Three Stooges once said,
“Junk the vernacular judge. Talk like a regular guy.”
So if you think you know, or even if you don’t, you’re probably right. Use any one of these techniques and you’ll see a marked improvement in your current writing style. Using 3 out of the 5 will mark you as a serious professional content writer. If can employ all 5 out of 5, Hooray and get the dancing shoes out. We’re going out on the town tonight!
P.S. For those of you who don’t wish to exasperate your fact-checking skills, but still desire to waste 4 minutes of your precious time, here is the link to the Three Stooges clip I referenced and you will see exactly how much I greatly paraphrased a classic Curly-ism.