Creating and sharing content that connects

Today the average consumer is overwhelmed by a never-ending supply of TikTok videos, memes, Facebook posts, blogs and news articles. 

For marketing and promotional efforts to stand out in 2022, it’s imperative that the content you create and share speaks to your desired audience. Simply communicating bland bits of information is rarely enough, no matter how useful your advice or perspective may be. 

How you present your message matters.

Incorporate powerful images: In the 1920s, ad executive Frederick R. Barnard popularized the expression “one picture is worth a thousand words.” As a writer, this hurts to admit, but it’s 100 years later and his advice still holds true. 

The image you choose is critical. It’s the first piece of information your audience digests, whether it’s on social media or your website. 

The images and graphics you use must make an impression on your audience and ideally relate to the topic at hand. At the same time, using the same image for every post or recycling old pictures will adversely impact your ability to engage with your audience.

Employ a conversational tone: It’s necessary to use a formal or academic style if you’re publishing a research paper or writing a legal brief. But to create content that speaks to your audience, you should employ a conversational tone that’s not rigid or repetitive.

To be clear, this isn’t a license to neglect basic grammar. Instead, write in a succinct manner that’s natural to you and avoid words and phrases that will send your readers searching through their dictionaries.

Share firsthand experiences: Think about topic-relevant details you can share with your audience that are unique to you.

Do you have a personal brand story that will communicate your purpose to your audience and create loyalty? Have you overcome a challenge or initial failure that might endear your audience to you and make you more relatable? By sharing legitimate experiences and honest self-reflections, you will engage your audience on a much deeper level. 

Implement an easy-to-follow structure: First and foremost, avoid writing long-winded paragraphs. Huge blocks of text will subconsciously frighten your readers, who may move on without ever consuming your content. It’s better to employ short paragraphs and break up an article or long social media post with subheads. This strategy makes even long-form content appear more manageable. 

Also, provide lists when applicable. They are easily digested compared to bulky paragraphs and the constant repetition of commas.

Add a call to action: Near the end of an article or post, after grabbing the attention of your audience, call on them to commit a certain action. Do you want a reader or consumer to check out your website or subscribe to your mailing list? Ask them to do so. This effective digital marketing tactic will help you build additional loyalty, while also generating potential leads and business connections. When writing a call to action, provide your audience with value, such as access to more of your insights. 

Lastly, make the action low-risk. Be persuasive but refrain from applying pressure, which may push your audience away.

Betsy McCloskey is a partner at Plaid Swan Inc. with offices in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque. Plaid Swan is a female-owned and operated marketing communications firm.