News is when you have something original to say. Noise is when you don’t.
Be relevant in 140 characters or less!
The 140 characters or less is simply a reminder to be relevant and stay focused when creating content. Visualize yourself writing a standard Twitter tweet, which limits us to 140 characters or less: say as much as you need, then say no more.
Don’t get too attached to words. Even for content writers, it’s not always easy to be ruthless and cut out words, but it’s necessary. You’re fighting to be heard. So be ruthless. If it isn’t necessary, boot it out of the sentence!
The proliferation of internet content, particularly with Social Media — whether visual (graphics), video or written — is overwhelming. I’ll say what many of us in the business say in our heads: everyone’s a writer or a wannabe writer. Students, business owners, executives, CEOs, celebrities, the guy next door, everyone’s writing. But what makes for good content, what speaks to good content, is relevancy.
10 ways to be relevant and remain relevant:
- Decide what you want to write about. Make a list of the hot topics and categories that surround your business or interest. Develop word clouds to help you decide on topics to write about. Word Clouds and the Value of Simple Visualization. Wordle is a good website to help you get started.
- Decide a) how you want people to perceive you and b) how you want people to perceive what you write about. It’s easy to forget about ‘perception’ in our hurry to ‘get writing’; but who you are and what you write about are important. The internet has a memory.
- Decide on the angle you’ll take in creating content. There are different angles to every subject. Being relevant doesn’t necessarily mean being trendy or current; certain topics are evergreen, meaning they’re always relevant.
- Define your target market and the niches within that market. Demographics are not the only definition of a target market.
- Nail down what you want to say and say it thoughtfully, with conviction. Rewording other people’s thoughts doesn’t add value. However, reflecting on other people’s thoughts can lead you to develop new ideas or new points of view that offer relevance to your readers. Being relevant also requires being aware of what’s going on out there, so stay informed.
- Decide how to say what you want to say and which vehicle you will use to say it. Which vehicle parks you closer to the place(s) your target market hangs out.
- Have others review your content for brevity, clarity and to make sure you’re actually saying what you wanted to say. If even one person doesn’t understand something you’ve written, look at it again, critically, and make the necessary change.
- Content needs to be actionable: promote action, ask for feedback, work hard to get your audience to connect with you by giving them reasons to connect.
- Check spelling and grammar and have someone else check it too. A good editor is every content writer’s best friend.
- Many of us sleep on things to see how we feel about them in the morning. Content’s no different. Allow time to step back from what you’ve written for a while and reread it with a critical eye before you hit the ‘publish’ button. Having said that, the beauty of the internet is we can update content easily, quickly and regularly.
Be Relevant Stay Relevant
For more tips on how to be relevant and stay relevant, download our free eBook: Content Creation Understood. 21 short, snappy insights (we call them biz-isms) that will help you look at content from a number of different angles.
About the author: Miriam Hara
Miriam is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of 3H Communications Inc., a full service branding and advertising agency. Her experience has enabled her to bring together strategic business savvy with an all-encompassing creative vision to product and service marketing, which she shares here, in her many posts. Miriam’s own brand of marketing experience and expertise is the basis of her marketing ebook series including Content Creation Understood, the most recent addition. You can also find Miriam on Google +.