How to write content for humans

No matter what kind of business you’re in, you need to reach out and talk to your audience. Whether or not you’re already doing this, it’s time to take a step back and think about how you want to get your message across.

We’re all people here. Your audience isn’t a distant well-targeted pool of cash. They’re human beings that need to be seen and heard. Rule #1: Talk with them, not at them.

All the content you produce needs to be audience- not brand-centred. The two are easy to tell apart. Brand-centred makes you sound robotic, disconnected and selly, when the goal is to create an emotional connection.

If you manage to spark that connection, the people you’re talking to will stick around and hear you out. If not, it’s not too late for another attempt.

The way forward is trial and error but we’ll take you through a couple of helpful tips when it comes to getting your message across in a more human way.

Don’t overwhelm

Being respectful of your audience’s time will get you a step ahead. People are busy. They barely have time for themselves, never mind your blog post/article/status update.

In fact, in today’s cluttered digital world, you’re lucky enough if someone even clicks on one of your articles — don’t take longer than necessary to get to the point.

On that same note, nobody wants to land on your article page only to be smacked in the face with a whole lot of text, or have to sift through thousands of words to figure out what you’re trying to say.

Clutter is intimidating and exhausting. A lack of white space is a quick way to lose your audience.

Don’t alienate

Speak in plain language. If people have to stop and Google what you’re saying, you’re going to have a problem. Firstly, if they pause to look something up, you might lose them for good in a web wormhole. Secondly, if you make them feel stupid (even unintentionally), they’ll take it personally and it’s goodbye.

The only time jargon is okay is if your content is aimed specifically at the people who will understand it.

Have purpose

Publishing posts on a regular basis will work wonders for your brand. It’ll give you credibility and solidify your presence in the digital landscape. But content for content’s sake is a big fat no.

If you’ve got nothing to say, wait until you do. Your audience will see through any waffling in a second and you’ll land up doing more harm than good.

Your reputation is at stake here. Tread with caution.

Make it look good

While what you’re saying is important, remember that people are visual. We like things that look amazing. Articles with images get 94% more total views. Use compelling images to get noticed and draw people in.

Eye-catching imagery draws attention to your content and gives the reader breathing room. The less intimidating (even at a glance), the better.

Creative Commons is a great free resource that offers a wide range of impactful images. Just remember, you won’t be the only one using them so dig deep and add subtle branding to make them yours.

Video has earned its own spot in the light. It’s said to drive a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines.

Curated videos have their place. Carefully-sourced content that relates to your brand and evokes the emotions you’re after can do the trick. But branded videos are really where it’s at. If done right, the time, effort, planning and budget behind them are well worth the ROI you’ll get.

If you’re not quite sold on the validity of video for your brand, consider that some of YouTube’s most popular content is made by and for brands.

Think like they do

There’s a lot you can do to establish that important brand-audience connection but let’s face it — you can’t be good at everything.

If you’re not getting results from your marketing, do something about it. Get a writer to craft your message, get a designer to work on your site’s layout. You get the idea. No man is an island — having the right team crafting your content can spell the difference between failure and success.

Cavalry Media is a design, development and content marketing agency based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Cavalry services both local and international clients across the banking, insurance and retail sectors.

by Nicole Samakosky, Content Strategist at Cavalry Media

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Cavalry Media is a design, development and content marketing agency based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Cavalry services both local and international clients across the banking, insurance and retail sectors.