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Tips for Improving Your Business Content
by Startacus Admin
Tips for Improving Your Business Content
Do what I say, not what I do. That’s the (unspoken) motto of pretty much everyone who both writes and gives advice. Writing is a very personal thing, and what works for one person won’t work for the next. This being the case, it can be difficult to give general advice that everyone can follow. That said, here’s some general advice for everyone to follow. It only scrapes the surface, but it’s a good place to start.
Outsourcing comes with its own complications, as you have to find someone both reasonably priced and competent. Where do you look? Who can you trust? A lot of people you’ll find offering their content writing services aren’t native speakers and can’t write like one. This can result in the content having to be heavily edited and rewritten. Throwing a few pounds to a freelancer won’t inspire them to enthusiastically write the best content they’ve ever produced; you could be getting back some half-assed article that just about covers the facts and bores readers to tears. On the other hand, it could be good and inexpensive content.
You know your business best. You have passion and enthusiasm and a desire to share that business with the world. Shouldn’t you be doing the writing then? Maybe. Can you do the writing? Writing engaging content isn’t about stringing words together and sounding excited about something. Some people just aren’t natural writers, and these people should be honest with themselves about whether writing their own content is a sensible idea. I could make my own book covers, but I certainly shouldn’t, because I’m not an artist or graphic designer. Likewise, a non-writer should consider…not writing. But as I said, there is no clear-cut answer to this, as it depends on your business, the angle you take with your writing, how much you want your clients/customers to see your personality, etc.
The alternative, and best of both worlds, is to hire a writer or writing team. As a part of your company, your writer will (hopefully) become as enthusiastic about it as you are. They will bring an air of professionalism and should be flexible enough to be able to write in the way that you want. The writing on Startacus takes a degree of informality and contains personality that tells readers ‘I am Startacus’. This is what outsourcing would quite likely lack.
In short, it takes a lot of thinking about and weighing up the pros and cons. Like anything, really.
Not in a meditative kind of way, although that might improve your content in a roundabout manner. I’m talking about adding images to your content. Now, this also depends on your business and the angle you are taking – e.g. your degree of formality. If you are writing for something like Forbes, your content will probably have fewer images throughout than if you were writing for a personal blog. But whatever you’re writing, whether it is one image between the title and the content or half a dozen dotted throughout, imagery will enrich the content and improve the overall aesthetics of the piece. How many images you insert depends, of course, on the length of the content, but that’s not the point; don’t confront the reader with a wall of text, but rather break it up with imagery.
Amusing images, infographics, even memes are good ways of including engaging imagery; otherwise, pictures that are simply relevant will do the job of keeping the oppressive text wall at bay. Here is a Startacus article detailing some tools to help you with your design and visuals.
Infographics – graphical representations of information or data – are increasingly popular as creators make them more and more interesting and engaging. Between 2010 and 2012, the search volume for infographics increased by 800%. Not entirely relevant in 2016, but still an impressive number. Infographics are eye-catching, easy to comprehend and, when done right, pleasing to the eye. According to my in-depth research/brief Google search, a website that uploads an infographic tends to get an average of a 12% increase in traffic. So it’s worth seeing if you have any information to give to your visitors that can be consolidated and presented via eye-popping infographics.
Similar things apply to your social media content. It should be well written – don’t assume that just because it’s Facebook, you don’t have to spell things right or use actual grammar. Your social media posts are a little insight into your business. They are the shop window that people peer through before deciding whether to walk in the door. Some of the article on Snapchat for business covers the advantage of this transparency.
If your business uses a blog, make sure the social sharing aspect is set up well. If someone shares an article, you want your header/featured image to be displayed along with a sensical excerpt and an intriguing title.
Social media is another good place to dish out the infographics, and don’t be afraid to share other people’s content – it isn’t going to send your customers/clients elsewhere. Unless you are sharing KFC content and you happen to work at McDonald’s. Even sharing the odd amusing picture, video, or meme can be beneficial, as it shows a hint of personality and sense of humour. Just be very careful about how often you do this, or it can work the opposite way.
Speaking of memes, Startacus have been known to create their own on occasion and, again, you shouldn’t be afraid to do so. It should, of course, be relevant to your business in some way but, as before, can show people that you have personality and a sense of humour, and that there is a person behind the logo. One word of advice, though: you must understand that some meme images have specific uses and meanings, and if you misuse them, you will look a fool to the internet community in the know! Bad Luck Brian, Good Guy Greg, Insanity Wolf (probably not appropriate for business anyway) – understand the many existing memes before you use them.
This post was written by author and member of the Startacus Community Ross Harrison.
Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.