Content, today, is at the heart of all digital knowledge. Everything we find on the web is content, whether it is a piece of information, a picture, a video or even news items. With the lack of strong, meaningful and unique content, it will be difficult for any content marketer to survive the cut-throat competition.
The primary goal of every content marketer is to provide engaging and valuable content. This is the content that people will not only want to read but will also convey the information or message in the most clear and concise form possible. To create a content piece of this nature, nothing is more credible than the skill set of a journalist. Journalism skills might sound like a set of hard-core rules but are actually extremely simple steps following which any content marketer can achieve the best possible quality of content they need.
Content writing should include these 10 journalism skills for better results:
- Answer the Six Questions:
To quench the thirst of curious readers, a content marketer must ensure that the six sacred questions are answered. Commonly known as the 5Ws and 1H, any journalist write-up always begins by answering these questions –
These are the questions which answer the most basic doubts and curiosities of the readers and gives them a vivid picture of what they are in for a reading. Without answering these questions, the content is sure to fail in resonating the message it intends to send. The 5Ws and 1H is like a formula that summarizes and covers every piece of information added in the content.
Just like journalists, people believe that content writers express any information with utmost honesty. People easily believe the content that they read, and it is the duty of a content marketer to ensure that what people are reading is credible. When people know that a content piece is credible, they will not only keep coming back to the same sitefor more informationbut will also help build a relationship of trust with them. For credible content, a written piece must ensure that the content is free of any factual errors. A content piece should be supported with facts, enabling a strong brand communication.
If an article is not written in a clear and concise manner to deliver its intended message, the content is in the danger of getting obsolete very fast. Content often loses its clarity due to problems such as-
- Use of flowery language
- Too much information
- Use of long and ambiguous sentences
- Use of a lot of paragraphs
- Lack of connection or a common thread in the content
A content marketer must always keep an eye for such setbacks and take efforts to eliminate them.
Just like in newspapers, there must be a balance between hard and soft news. In digital content, there must always be a balance between the information that the brand wants to offer and the information that the reader is seeking. A piece of content that goes on about the rewards and accolades of a company will be off-putting for the readers. Instead, it must be kept in mind that there are many sides to a story and to convey a credible message, the information from all sides must be balanced.
- Audience First:
A content piece is sure to reach a large number of people, but ultimately the masses need to be narrowed down to a ‘target audience’. The content to be marketed is the content for the readers and the viewers. In order to build a strong relationship with the audience, it is very important to understand the audience. The content piece should be designed in a manner that it answers the queries of the audience, that grabs their attention and that fulfils their needs. In other words, use the content as a voice that appeals to the target audience.
- Telling a Story:
The society we live in thrives on stories. So, it goes without saying that when the content piece creates a storyline, weaves a plot that the audience can identify with and through the storyline offers the necessary information, the content is sure to go a long way. Adding a voice and face to the brand or business can be done by the age-old way of storytelling. The main advantage of this skill is that it imparts information to the readers as part of the storyline, making it easier to put the information across.
- Meeting Deadlines:
We are living in a time where every second is a deadline. Content is being written in the speed of light and being copied at an even faster pace. For a content marketer to sustain their content, deadlines are a must. Meeting deadlines allow the organisation to get maximum work done in the smallest span of time. It allows the content to be edited thoroughly and ensures that the final product is complete and polished on time.
- Systematic Editing:
Any piece of content must be edited following a systematic process to cut down the chances of any errors. Editing often being an elaborate procedure, people tend to leave out this step, and the content often ends up having errors, not being fully plagiarism-free, and even not having important keywords. Meticulous care of the content reflects the highest quality of work and goes a long way with the clients.
- Consistent Content:
Frequency and consistency are the keys to strong content marketing. Providing content at consistent intervals is a promise to the audience and the building of a relationship. It not only helps in moving forward the storyline of the business but also creates a kind of loyalty among the audience to follow the content. To achieve the best content marketing campaigns, content calendars for blogs, social media posts and videos must be created.
The most important journalistic skill is that of focus. The mass of content that is created today and the speed with which deadlines knew to be met, the focus is the only doorway to successful, error-free content. A content written with focus requires minimal editing and yields the best results. It also retains most of its originality.
Any content marketing campaigns should, thus, employ these efficient journalistic skills for a better quality of content. Content Marketing may seem to be a well-fit job for bloggers and video makers, but what organisation need to keep in mind is that journalists come with an extra skillset, which when combined with content marketing needs can yield supreme results.