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What To Provide To Make Great Content

One of the most common questions from clients is, “What do you need from me to make great content?” This post will answer that question and provide a downloadable template to help content managers and online marketers create order instructions or content briefings quickly and easily.

One of the most common questions from clients is, “What do you need from me to make great content?” This post will answer that question and provide a downloadable template to help content managers and online marketers create order instructions or content briefings quickly and easily.

As we highlight in The Four Keys to Great Content, each piece should have at least three pieces of information:

  • Audience
  • Branding
  • Goals

The fourth key is an editorial calendar or planning, which we’ll touch on briefly at the end of our discussion.

Audiences Are Important For Content Writers

The most important thing in your content briefing or order instructions is your audience. Your writer, whether on staff, a freelance writer, or one of our content writers, needs to know who they’re talking to. Just as you wouldn’t talk to your grandmother the same way to would talk to your co-worker, authors will adjust their style, word choice and structure to appeal to the audience.

Defining An Audience For Your Content

You probably know your audience from your own research, Google Analytics, customer feedback and other sources. Putting that audience into words redefines it for yourself, ensuring that you have the right customer profile, as well as the author, who may not have as much insight into your company.

You can use demographics or interests to define your audience. While demographics can help refine word choice, interests and needs provide the ideas and structure of the article. Say you sell electronics, and your audience has a large portion of Game of Thrones fans. Whether the audience is young or old is less relevant than products that could be tied in to the Red Wedding episode that recently aired.

Sample Audience Definitions

Women age 21-39, no kids, college-educated (demographic)

Women who love “Sex and the City” but can’t afford real Manolo Blahniks (interests)

Women age 21-39, no kids, love “Sex and the City,” fashion- and budget-concious (blend)

Branding Basics

Once you’ve got your audience down, it’s time to define how you want to interact with your audience, or, in other words, how you’re going to brand yourself.

Smaller companies may be worried that branding will lead to a large budget outlay. It doesn’t have to! Building your branding guide is a separate post entirely, but  to start, it can be as simple as a Word document. It should cover what tone you’ll use when communicating with your customers.

Goals

Every piece of content should have a goal. That goal should not be “I need to feed the content machine.” There should be a deeper goal, usually one of these:

  • Educate
  • Entertain
  • Advocate

All three of these goals can lead to sales, subscriptions or whatever KPI you’re using to determine whether your content is successful or not. Sharing your goal with the author can get you both working to the same end. Knowing that a piece should encourage email newsletter signups, for example, allows the author to bring in specific arguments throughout the content to prime the customer for the call to action at the end of the piece.

Finally, there’s the question of timing. At Textbroker, you set your processing time to give the author enough time to finish the assignment. If you have a hard deadline, include the day and month that you need the piece delivered. Please refrain from using relative terms like “next Thursday,” as the author doesn’t know what day you placed the order.


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Comments

430533 26. September 2014 - 15:50

   I have taken two writing courses. I believe that this helped me a great deal with my writing. However, I do find difficulty with writing for clients when they only have one line for instructions and these instructions do not seem to have any bearing on what they want you to write.

      Sometimes the Client needs to be a little more precise in what he/she wants. For instance,a piece on real estate in vermont ,mainly modular homes, was researched for 4 hours. I did live on the East coastjust not in Vermont and I did live in a modular or a manufactured home. I do know about the harsh winters on the east coast. After putting my article 2x through a grammar program it was still rejected. So now 

i believe they should put for that type of article only someone who lives in the state should write it. I only have 2 rejections and want to keep it that way.

Thank you so much for your blog. 

  

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