- Know your audience. All that matters to them is ‘what’s in it for me?’ What problem does your audience want solved? Do the research and give them the answer, including as much or as little information as they need.
- Speak your readers’ language. Sound like a real person. It helps to use your audience’s way of talking and vocabulary. This validates that you know what you’re talking about – departmental officer to Parliament, or agency to members of the public. Tone and style are crucial.
- Provide useful information. Readers are time-crunched. The content must help, educate, inform or entertain them. Remember, communication happens on the listener’s terms.
- State your case in the first paragraph. This is the workhorse of your piece. It has to follow through on your title’s promise and draw readers further in – or let them know to stop reading and move on. Lead with your main point or the most important content, in sentences, paragraphs, sections and pages.
- Edit, edit, edit. Go through your finished piece to check for misspelling and poor grammar. Nothing takes away from your content faster than poor writing. If you have the budget, hire an editor to help and give your writing a fresh set of eyes. This is particularly important for agencies where these errors reflect poorly on your brand.
5 steps to create compelling content
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