If we want to create amazing, meanful, and valuable content, we need at the minimum a baseline knowledge of what content really is. From this we can derive the various differences that separate good content from great, the easily forgotten from the memorable.
Content is more than the information you convey or the choice of words you use, it is the totality of all the contributing factors that create a post or blog. Including among others impetus, presentation, veracity and pattern.
Content marketing relies almost entirely on great content. It is by proxy marketing process, meaning it is not a hard and direct sell. It doesn't use the psychology of scarcity principles or tricks of the mind intended to illicit a desired response or guide the eye to where it instinctively wants to go.
It is about context and information, about individual needs and personality, it is about relationships. Both between reader and author, and target market and product.
Great writing and great content are intrinsic, bound together by a kind of gravity that holds one to the other. Poorly written yet highly informative content will fail just as fast as well written garbage. This is an attention economy after all, and it is that attention we seek to attain with our content more directly than a new client or potential sale.
The impetus is critical to the trust base we need to establish a relationship. For example through years of watching ads on television and seeing them on billboards we have taught ourselves not to trust them, that is our first and most immediate assessment.
This because they are trying to sell us something directly, which calls into question their motivation. The idea that their goal is a monetary one precludes the idea of trust on it's face. Content marketing seeks to regain that trust, and it can if properly approached.
Impetus is the why. Why we created a post, what was it's intention, what we are hoping to achieve with it. If a post was created to inform and help people understand, cause people to think differently about an idea or topic, people will trust that, they will trust the person who created it. It is by proxy we establish a connection to a particular brand or brand awareness.
The impetus is always the most transparent part of our content, though it is not always immediately obvious. If we attempt to obscure our impetus initially we risk the trust we wish to establish.
Being open and honest as to why we created a given post gives trust a better environment to flourish in. Consider the impetus of every post you create, though you need not include it in the body of a post, people will see it anyway.
This is how you are writing the post or blog, and there are many nuances to consider in presentation. For example most people remember the beginning or end of anything, from a sentence to a paragraph. So the most relevant information you wish to convey or expound with the content needs to be up front first and wrapped up neatly at the end.
This means the first and last paragraph are the most critical. The first needs to lead down into the content by expressing what a consumer will find in the text below, what they will understand, and even how tou intend to show it to them.
The last should be a reinforcing agent, and kind of lid to seal in the freshness of the information by giving a contextual backdrop or another way to consider the above stated ideas.
The vast majority of people who read online content are scanning it, not reading it word for word. This goes back to peoples tendency to remember the first or last thing they encounter easier than the body of the work itself.
Therfore instead of long and dense paragraphs break up the information into smaller, more easily digestible packets.
In this way the content is built with the needs of a broader audience in mind, both the word for word reader, who doesn't care about paragraphs, and the scanner who wants to peruse the content and still feel like they understood it.
Presentation is also about personal flair. In order ro establish trust people need ro know you, and they do this through the content itself. Your humor, or its absence, your feelings, the essence of you, must become part of the content. This in turn, will also be shown through the impetus, the why you did it in the first place.
Think of the veracity as the truth of things. The truth in the information provided. The truth of the words chosen. The truth behind the content itself.
Veracity isn't just the content, it's you as well. Does it show your personality, does it entertain while it informs. Does it truly represent you or is it a manicured presentation designed to give an impression you consider favorable.
Veracity in your content is critical, it is the truth of things, and people predicate trust on the truth. They trust when they let go of something it will fall, because that's the truth aboit gravity. Your words, your content must have veracity because you believe it, you believe what you wrote to be true, and people will believe it with you.
Therefore veracity is truth, and you must believe in the veracity of your content for the consumer of it to also believe and come to trust it, and come to trust you.
Pattern is a trick I use in my writing to create flow and make it easier to read and follow. Patterns are everywhere, they are what define beauty and the shape of a great many things.
Music is all patterns layered upon patterns. We define a beautiful face by how linear the features are. The Fibonacci pattern determines how many things in nature which we find enchanting and beautiful grow from snail shells to flower petals.
The pattern you choose can be anything. From where certain words fall, to where certain types of information is presented. From the how you use commas and periods to the size and shape of your paragraphs.
These patterns may not be immediately obvious to the reader, but on some level they will be aware of it. It may be a cadence, or types of words in a given context, or even images used and there placement.
Great content makes connection, with the reader, with information, with the ideas. It allows and helps people to build the connections within their minds that leads to broader understanding.
The best usage of patterns are those which are not immediately obvious, the subtle pattern. Even the use of adverbs and run on sentences for the sake of impact and style can produce patterns the mind will see and find compelling,even if the person reading does not.
Break a Few Rules
The rules of content creation are similar to the physical properties of the Matrix, some can be bent, others can be broken.
The key is learning which is which and when to apply it. You will find many helpful books, blogs and posts(see the pattern, 3) that will help you gain an idea of which rules are flexible and which you can occasionally disregard altogether.
Ultimately your going to have to break them yourself and see which ones work best for your style. There is no substitute for experience, even the best teachers cannot teach the lessons of trial and error. At best they can relate what their own experience with trial and error has taught them along with their knowledge and understanding accumulated through classic study.
I hope this gives you a few thi gs to consider if tou are an aspiring creator of amazing content, or someone who wants something new to consider. Understand the context and you will understand the content. Create meangful connections by creating meaningful content.
Be unafraid to chart a new course and break a few rules. Find what works through creation and co-creation, trial and error, success and failure. Your content can soar to knew and unanticipated heights if you can first learn where your wings are, and how best to use them.
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