This video is the thirteenth in our Content Strategy Advent Calendar series. Today, Ahava Leibtag let’s us in on her three tips for how we can make our content pop. With years of experience writing and editing all sorts of content, Ahava’s advice is not to be ignored.
Hi. I’m Ahava Leibtag. Happy Holidays. I’m excited to be here with GatherContent to talk about three things that I think you can do to help make your content pop, especially in this holiday season.
I have been a writer and editor for a really long time, I’m not going to date myself. But I have read and edited tons of content and there are three tricks that I think are foolproof for making sure you get the content that you need and that’s going to help generate interest in your audiences, to really get towards your business goals and what you’re trying to accomplish.
So the first is writers and researchers and content strategists and content developers, should spend a lot of time with user generated content. I think it’s the one area we don’t mine enough when we’re actually writing. Because a lot of times we’re given a strategy brief or the client tells us this is what they want, and what ends up happening is that we lose sight of what the readers and the content consumers really want to hear, see and consume. So spending time on comments, message boards, blog posts, social media, other types of content that really help you get in your audience and figure out what they’re really looking for and what’s important for them, I think is a critical part of writing great content and I don’t think it happens enough.
The second thing I think is a really valuable tip is that you should elevate your leads more. So a lot of times i edit content and I’m reading the first two paragraphs and then ‘oh’ all of a sudden there’s the gem, there’s the thing that I really came to read about. And so I think one of the valuable things that I’ve learnt to do is that when I write content, I put it away for about 24 hours and then I go back and I read it and I see that somewhere along the way the really important thing, the jewel, the thing that makes it pop, is actually kind of buried and I elevate that to be the first thing. People are distracted, they’re really busy, they don’t have time to weave through the introduction that you think that they need. So just get to the important part and make sure that you elevate that lead.
The third and final thing that I think is really important that I don’t find enough writers do, is read your content out loud. It’s really that simple. Because when you read it you hear it very differently and chances are you’re going to hear it the way that your readers are going to hear it, not the way that you’re thinking about it. And that’s really critical for making sure that it’s as tight as it can be.
So those are the three things that I think help make content awesome. The first one is spend time with user generated content. The second one is elevate your leads. And the third one is make sure that you read your content out loud so that you can hear it from somebody else’s perspective.
Anyway, Happy Holidays. I really am hoping that 2017 is better than 2016, because we deserve it. Thanks and thanks GatherContent for including me.
Ahava is passionate about content and prides herself on tackling the toughest content projects—from healthcare to higher education to hip-hop (seriously). She has more than 15 years of experience in writing, messaging, and marketing, and is a well-recognized content expert. Her first book, The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web was published by Morgan Kaufmann in November 2013.
Ahava is the president and owner of Aha Media Group, LLC, a content strategy and content marketing consultancy founded in October 2005. Prior to beginning Aha Media, she was a communications strategist for a government agency. Ahava has also worked for two major advertising agencies and a commercial production company, and she served as the metro beat reporter for The Jerusalem Post.
Ahava received her M.A. from Georgetown University and her B.A. from Stern College. She lives in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region.
Rob is Content Strategist at GatherContent. He is a journalism graduate and has previously worked as Studio Manager and Head of Content for a design agency and as an Audience Research Executive for the BBC. He’s a published author and regular contributor to industry publications including Net Magazine, Smashing Magazine, 24 Ways, WebTuts+, UX Matters , UX Booth and Content Marketing Institute. On occasion Rob speaks about content strategy at leading industry events.
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