Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Purpose Driven Content

Brittany Miller, Digital Content Specialist, Neu Concepts

As a first time digital content writer, I have had a million questions run through my mind about content. What is good content? How do you develop content relevant to the company that is unique, original and keeps users coming back for more? Content strategy, what is that? That is when I realized there is more to being a digital content specialist than just simply writing.

I have discovered that content is key to any successful site. However, simply posting content to a website just to have content is not an effective strategy for any business. All of your blog entries, new releases and written subject matter on your website needs to be strategic. Here are a few tips to developing your own purpose driven content:

Before you even think about that first blog post…

Write A Purpose Statement
Before publishing any content to your site, think about the purpose of that content. What are you trying to create and how can this content relate to your business? You do not want to simply write content that is just going to promote your company and constantly sell items to your readers. Perhaps you want to position your company as a trusted authority on a specific topic. For example, if you offer an online service for distributing press releases, you might want to focus on how to write effective press releases. Perhaps you want to focus on a social issue.  Dove has done this quite successfully with their initiative to help young girls form positive self-images. Once you develop your purpose statement, make sure that every piece of content that you write supports it.

Anticipate your Audience
Think about who you want to attract to your site. Once you have a target audience in mind, write for that audience and focus on satisfying their needs. Maybe someone is visiting your site to learn how to take better pictures with their digital SLR camera. By publishing a video or informative blog post that teaches them an advanced digital photography technique, you have enabled them to do more with their camera, satisfied their need, and hopefully gained a follower.

Develop a Schedule
After you have nailed down your purpose statement and decided to relate ALL content to this one statement, it is time to develop a schedule. You need to figure out when you want to post blog entries, news releases and other content on your site. Since not everyone has the resources to post new content every day, you might instead consider posting specific types of content on specific days of the week so visitors will know when to check your site for new information. For example, you might post a weekly roundup of articles that you think your visitors might find interesting every Monday.

Keep a list of topics handy
To avoid staring at a blank screen thinking, “What am I going to write today?”, keep a running list of topics. If you see an interesting article that inspires you to share your own ideas, make a note of it. Just had a lively discussion with a customer on a topic that you think others would also like to know about? Make a note of it. Any thing that you think your audience would want to read about, write it down. When you sit down to write and you don’t feel inspired, refer to this list for an idea. This will help you keep fresh, original content on your website and avoid the inevitable writers block.

Now that you have the nuts and bolts…

Write Content!
When you are writing your content consider a style or voice that keeps it personal and appeals to your audience. Don’t be afraid to be original and creative. People want to read fresh, new stuff, from different perspectives. Publish content frequently and consistently on your site. You don’t have to post a million blog entries a day or even one a day but, you should try to post content at least a few times a week.

While there may be days where you feel like no one is reading your content, don’t give up. Building up an audience takes time and persistence. The more quality content you publish, the more reasons a visitor has to return. As visitors become loyal followers, they are also likely to begin sharing your content with their circle, therefore increasing the traffic that comes to your site.

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