Today we have a guest blog from Victoria Greene, on two subjects close to my heart: the great outdoors and blogging.
When we’re working in an office for 8-10 hours a day, writing, honing and editing our content in our own little business bubble, it can be easy to forget that there is a world outside our company doors. But we should remember to take time to appreciate the great beauty of the outdoors we Brits are blessed with.
While no-one could argue that getting out and about, breathing in some fresh air, and stretching those legs can do our health a world of good, it’s surprising just how much we can learn from our environment in terms of producing content. As copywriters, nothing may feel further from our laptop-driven lives, but nature is packed with insight when it comes to creating our very best work.
For centuries, writers have waxed lyrical about the tremendous power of inspiration one can gain from a rolling mountainside, a babbling brook, or a rather lovely tree – and writing content is no different.
You may not hope to write an epic novel that examines the human condition, but at the end of the day, you are a creative, you are a writer, and great writers need to be inspired – no matter what the subject. After all, content marketing is a predominantly creative process.
Next time you’re suffering from a dreaded bout of writer’s block, take a walk, look around you, and gather your thoughts. Sometimes, something as simple as getting out of the office for an hour can unearth creative possibilities and open up new ways of thinking. Your legs will thank you, and your content will reap the benefits.
As copywriters we can forget that, just like poets, novelists and songwriters, our work feeds on inspiration. More often than not, creativity is often born of a calm mind. A new winning idea could be waiting for you on your next nature walk.
When we think of the great outdoors, our minds may be automatically drawn to rural surroundings: trees, rivers, and anything else heavily featured in Enid Blyton novels. But just like digital content, nature is vast and varied. As with the great outdoors, great content means different things to different people.
Look out of your window. You may be blessed with a view pretty enough for a Windows screensaver, but for some, the outdoors equates to nothing more than the backend of an ALDI car park. My point is: content is everywhere and is used for a range of platforms. There is no one formula that will work for every piece of content; this means that every new project you take on should be approached from a slightly different angle.
There are endless, diverse possibilities when it comes to creating content. You could generate video on RendrFX, design an infographic on PiktoChart, or create interactive media such as quizzes on Qzzr.
With so many fabulous tools, generating great content is far from purely focusing on the written word.
Have the right equipment
Have you ever tried running a marathon in a pair of wellies? How about scaling a mountain in a pair of flip flops? I’m guessing that unless you’ve lost a very unfortunate bet, the answer is no. We all know the appropriate tools we’ll need to take on different environments, so why are you creating content without the right tools?
Luckily, there are reams of brilliant resources to help you to achieve your very best content. There are literally hundreds, but below is a short list of my personal favourites.
The perfect way to optimise your content is to intertwine it with what your audience are actively engaging in. Trendspottr analyses live data, identifying trending topics across social media and predicting what will be big, before it’s even become popular.
An oldy but a goodie, Mailchimp goes above and beyond when it comes to email marketing. The software allows you to create a subscriber base and generate personalised emails for your audience, taking the hassle out of getting your content to your users.
A great resource for anyone wanting to boost their content skills is the vast collection of blog posts featured on Shopify. Written by titans of the industry, there are dozens of lists, how to’s and general advice on how to make the most of our content and connect masterfully with your audience. From the basics of blog writing, to how to start your own podcast, you’re sure to be inspired, whatever level you’re at.
A desktop app that helps clarify your content. The app highlights long sentences and suggests areas where you can trim the fat and improve. Perfect for those who find themselves overwriting and maxing out word counts.
(Or you could, more accurately, use a shorter word; perhaps they should take a leaf out of their own book. Ed.)
No matter if you’re a modern day Bear Grylls, or more of a nice cup of tea in front of the telly kind of fella, breaking out into the great outdoors has risks. From snakes to soggy sandwiches, a day out in the countryside can be testing. But more often than not, taking the road less travelled is when things become most exciting.
When it comes to content, the same rings true. Playing it too safe can prevent your content from ever reaching its full potential, leaving it destined to fade into the sea of thousands of other pages – and ultimately boring your audience.
If you are serious about taking your content to the next level, it’s time to make that jump. Whether it’s adding character to your tone of voice, revamping your design, or investing in a new online shop management system, taking that risk may just pay off in the long run.
Writing effective copy need not be an uphill struggle. By creating tailored, diverse content using the correct tools, and taking risks wherever possible, you’ll soon be on the path to creating content that’s worth going the extra mile for.
Victoria Greene: Writer & Content Marketer
I’m a content whizz who enjoys nothing more than helping brands create unique content to reach their business goals. I spend my time dreaming up effective content strategies and love tackling subjects from a new angle.