After, "But I'm not really a good writer," a close second in terms of my least favorite content creation excuses is, "But I just don't have enough time, sorry." So, if you've ever uttered that phrase yourself when someone from your marketing team has asked you to create content -- or you're someone who manages the content strategy in some capacity for your organization, and you've heard that from other people -- consider this episode mandatory listening.
"OK, so uh... that's all I've got. Goodbye." Whenever I get to the part where I'm supposed to write a conclusion for a blog article, I'm always tempted to write that. "That's all the good stuff," I want to say. "Everything beyond this point is fluff, because I've emotionally tapped myself out. So, like... go do the stuff I just told you to do." Like introductions, blog conclusions are not exactly a party to throw together. But unlike introductions -- where most of us have a general understanding of what they're supposed to accomplish; we're just lazy -- blog conclusions have a tendency to stymy content creators, because our teachers from elementary and middle school did us wrong. "Just restate what you've already covered, plus your thesis," they said. "That's plenty," they said. No. No, no, no.
In a surprise to no one, there's a lot of not-so-great content out there about what it takes to create great content. That’s not to say there isn’t meaningful thought leadership about content creation and copywriting. Unfortunately, across every single industry, there is a bloat of mediocre content we all need to wade through to get to what we want -- and my field of expertise is not exempt from that fact. Then, on September 12, I read an article on Copyblogger that blew me away -- to the point where, immediately after finsishing it, I hopped into our general slack channel and shared it with the company. It was “How Copywriters Can Leverage the Power of Feelgood Chemicals to Make More Sales” by Nick Usborne of ConversationalCopywriting.com.
Serif fonts are often chosen for printed works, because the little extra bit of "flair" that sans serif fonts lack makes it easier for our brains to process and identify the letters (and the words they form) we're reading. But how often do we forget the words we've just read? How quickly do newly-consumed thoughts and ideas seem to disappear, no matter how much we wish to retain them? (If you're like me, this happens a lot. Because I have the memory recall of a concussed goldfish.) This is what a team of designers and scientists out of RMIT University in Australia sought to solve for with the creation and release of their new font, Sans Forgetica, a free-to-download web font designed to help others remember better what they are reading. Sans Forgetica At first glance, you might be confused. How can a font that looks even harder to decipher than its more traditional typographic counterparts help readers better retain and recall the words and ideas they're consuming?
When people think about creating content, typically it's blog articles, case studies, and pillars that come to mind. In reality, content can take many forms -- for example, writing an email newsletter for your company is writing a piece of content. What’s funny -- or pitiful, depending on how you think about it -- is that, when given the choice, I’ll choose to write a 3,000-word article over a short, pithy email newsletter any day of the week. There’s something about writing email copy that freaks me out, you know? (Maybe it’s just my natural tendency to answer yes or no questions with 10-paragraph essays, which I know is what one might call a "personal problem.") Regardless, I’ve invited Stephanie Casstevens, our Director of Audience Engagement and Community, to talk about a new type of email copywriting -- conversational email copywriting -- that has become quite popular.
Back in July, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson wrote an article for HubSpot’s thinkgrowth publication called, “What Happened to the Internet?” In it, Meghan discusses how we’ve moved from an internet where content won out based on merit to one where giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google now have control over who wins and loses in the world of content. On the one hand, I found her piece absolutely fascinating, because the implications for marketing and society are significant. (And that's putting it lightly.) On the other hand, if I'm being totally honest, I’m terrified. Because what she covered in her article spoke directly to a number of my personal fears as a content creator to the surface...
I invited my original partner in podcasting crime, Jessie-Lee Nichols -- who is now the design supervisor here at IMPACT -- to the Content Lab this week to talk about one of our favorite topics. Organizations often struggle with where to put content creation into a process for projects like a website redesign, creating an infographic, or... well, any other time a designer and/or developer needs to get involved to create the final product of a content piece. It makes sense. Content creators and marketers often say they can't visualize the space their content is supposed to go into, so they want to see a full design before they start working on content. On the other hand, designers and developers push back on that logic, because they can't effectively design a final product without knowing the substance of the content they're supposed to be supporting with their creative talents. Moreover, they say there are other steps that need to occur before you get to play with fonts and colors. Obviously, there's a disconnect.
Today’s conversation is a bit different. Instead of talking about storytelling tactics and how to become a better writer, we’re getting technical this week. More specifically, I’ve invited Franco Valentino of Narrative SEO to join me on this episode to talk about how content creators should be blending the art of content creation with the science of technical SEO. To be honest, this is a discussion I would have dreaded a year or two ago. The way a child might dread going to the dentist.