Sticky content – some simple tips for writing content that sticks…

Posted under Content
6647315131_cd37529733_oThere are some basic common rules when attempting to write content that ‘sticks’:

  • make sure it’s newsy and current
  • make sure it’s interesting and useful
  • write it in a short, crisp style
  • avoid jargon
  • think visually

Give the content value.  Readers want ‘news they can use’.  If it’s useable, it’s valuable and more likely to be shared via social media and linked to by other websites.  If it’s valuable – it will stick!

Newsy and current
You are an expert in your own specialist field and following the old cliché that ‘knowledge is power’ – you should have plenty of issues within your business sector that are both newsy and current which you would like to share with your audience. Focus on things people are talking or worrying about. What is the next big thing. Try and avoid subjects that have already been done to death on social network sites and in the general media. You’re too late!

Make it useful
What useful advice can you impart that will add value to your content?  If you want to increase your content following you need to be fresh but you also need to be helpful so that your audience feels they are learning something by taking the time to follow you and read your words of wisdom.  Reflect the value in the headline.   People love ‘something for nothing’ and if it’s good they are more likely to share it with others.

Simple writing style
Write in short, simple sentences.  They are much more powerful than cleverly constructed grammatical alternatives.  If you think about the most memorable speeches ever made, there are usually just one or two very short phrases that ‘stick’ in the memory.  Don’t use long, clever words that demonstrate your vocabulary range. Tell it how it is.  Write as a mid-market tabloid newspaper rather than a high-brow quality broadsheet.

Avoid jargon
Jargon kills all content.  Avoid it like the plague.  Too many people make assumptions that the readers will know technical or niche terminology.  Our objective is to make it as easy as possible to understand the message.

Think visually…
Some content is best displayed as an infographic; or a graph; or a pie chart; or a cartoon; or a series of tips; or top ten list.  Think about creating something just a bit different.  Most of us look at photos before we read words and graphics are great for sharing via social media.

So in summary – in the future use this checklist for sticky content:

  • is it newsy?
  • is it useful or valuable?
  • is it short and precise?
  • is it clear of jargon?
  • is it visual?
  • will people want to link to it or share it?

If you only remember one thing, remember this:  NEWS YOU CAN USE

Peter Corder

A former journalist, Peter founded Media Matters back in 1994, having worked for a number of newspaper publishing groups across East Anglia and the East Midlands in senior editorial roles.

He began the business from converted outbuildings next to his home near Stamford before moving to offices in Lynch Wood back in 2007 to cope with increasing client workloads.

Peter has now stepped back from the coal-face of the business but still provides support to the Media Matters’ team and to some clients.