3 Content Killers to Avoid

At some point it happens to everyone. You’re developing content and more content and it hits you – is anyone even listening? Constantly developing new content can sometimes feel as if you’re running in circles. Don’t let your content collapse from exhaustion! Instead plan and develop content that stands out and keeps your audience interested by avoiding these three content killing approaches:

Strategerization. Strategies don’t have to happen in sequence. If you go through objectives, messages, audiences, strategies and tactics in that order, you will have sucked up all the fun. 

We’re told: don’t come up with a Twitter strategy, develop an overall content strategy!  But sometimes it’s okay to start with channels – they’re a necessary vantage point because they show you what’s workable. They can be your inspiration.  Look outside your brand and your message. See what consumers are seeing. You may land on a question like: wait, are they even on Twitter? That’s great. Now you’re asking the questions you need answered, and you can sort those out from generic profiling or catch-all research.

You don’t know what you need to learn about your audience until you start working with a lump of clay. Sometimes talking about a channel as part of the strategerized creative process (trademark pending) is just the starting point you need.

Messaged to death. When we use key messages in media relations, we ensure that outside of the context of a full interview, we communicate the most important point. Prescriptive key messaging in your content, however, can work against you. Going off-script is typically to our industry’s collective chagrin, but really, there are a million ways to make your point.  PR pros need to be more comfortable with this as we take on roles outside of media relations, like content creators and brand journalists.

You know how journalists always use the most off-message quote from your CEO?  That’s because it’s interesting. Content needs these quirks to stand out. You still want to convey 2-3 messages – but to “convey,” rather than to “message,” gives us latitude we should take advantage of.  We can illustrate it, imply it.  Writing by implication is something many business writers need to do better. Treat your audience like they’re smart and let them fill the gap. And if you like the idea of using implication in your writing, pick up A Few Short Sentences About Writing

Planned to a T. Are you rehearsing what you’re going to say on New Years’ Eve 2014?  Okay, the planners among us totally have at least an idea, but pre-drafting can be taking it too far, making for a rigid brand online. Content needs context to be interesting. Stay on top of the news and how your brand can use that to be more relevant, like Oreo. During the superbowl blackout last year, they posted this.  This “You can dunk in the dark” image was timely, relevant and clever to boot.

What other approaches are surefire content killers, and what are you doing to avoid them?

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