Written by: JoAnn Brisco, AAE of Ellensburg Downtown Association
As a public relations professional there will be a time in your career where you have to provide content for your company/client/organization’s blog or website. Content goes beyond the words on the pages but into the design as well. These two things go together like peanut butter and jelly. So don’t look over the visual to focus on the letters, and don’t focus on the layout and forget about the descriptions.
How you ever been to a website that looks super chic and modern but when you go to get more information there is nothing available?
Imagine a site where the contact information is only an email, when you are looking to visit their location or make a phone call. Imagine a blog full of block text and no photos. Imagine a website created for a specific week of events and they list what is to come but not their partners, exact locations, etc.
Content and design go hand and hand. It is not an easy task generating content, there is a lot that goes into it. Does the message you are creating the same as the company? Does it sound like the company is speaking or you?
So here are two Dos & two Don’ts to remember when it comes to creating the material that can be seen by any one in the world.
Remember that you, yourself are a user of the world wide web. You’ve seen and experienced good and bad content. There is a common saying “don’t do unto others as they might have done to you.” So although you have seen bad content management and seen it more than once, does not mean you apply it to your own writing. Go beyond that, be better than that.
Here is where we get into the web design as well as the written pieces within it. We have two experiences when visiting websites, the visual and the words themselves.
There is a reason people enjoy Twitter, the reason is simply 140-characters. In America, we are on the go all the time. When we want to know something, we want to know it in the quickest way possible. When we are in a hurry we tend to scan text. So instead of creating large blocks of words, make smaller quick paragraphs.
As writers we can tend to be over detailed. Keep it simple, too wordy can have the opposite effect on your readers.
Lastly, your vocabulary matters, keep it simple enough that everyone understands. You don’t want to be talking about the fact that a FLUTD feline needs to be under supervision at rDVM with LRS or NormR, with a potential CRI. If your audience is not in the veterinary field, let’s face it, did you understand that?
Use low-quality content, stick clear of the clichés, obvious facts, or irrelevant examples. So don’t get carried away with the need to be on top of page rankings by over indulging in keywords for SEO, you’ll generate poor quality content. There are tools out their today that can spot plagiarism and low-quality content, you don’t want to be caught with those things.
First, be original, creative, and well-written. This is the best way to be effective. Although you don’t want to be too descriptive make the words you use strong. Strong words can also be simple. An example I enjoy is, instead of saying “An elongated yellow fruit,” using “banana” is perfectly fine and more effective.
Get to the point quick. The main message of a company you’ll often see within the first paragraph of their “About Us” page. This should be true to all of your written pieces. The who, what, where, when, why, is often addressed early on with details to follow. If you make your case well enough this should interest the readers to continue on.
Keep on track. You have a point to make, stick to that point and don’t allow yourself to get off track. Letting yourself get off track, often leads to another off track, pretty soon your reads are confused. This goes the same for your credibility. When you are writing to make a point, (which when are we not?) if you continue to stray from the point or subject, it ruins your credibility, leaving your readers thinking that you don’t know what you are talking about.
So keep your content, short, sweet, and to the point. While addressing the most critical of the message early on and satisfy your readers with more detail throughout the piece. SEO is important but don’t let it get you carried away to the point of lowering the quality of your work.
Happy Content Creations!