Who is Hank Walshak? Hank Walshak, founder, owner, and CEO of Walshak Communications, Inc., is a communications consultant, executive presentation coach, and author. He focuses on helping knowledge entrepreneurs in small and mid-sized businesses and their owners create expertise-related content to differentiate themselves as experts. Read More

Content Marketing Should Be Conversational

 Marketing content, or information, used to be a pushy, one-way street. We called this process outbound marketing. We delivered content to journalists at traditional media. They, in turn, moved the gist of your content to their, and your, audiences. Your content sold you.

This was, and is, what outbound marketing is all about. The information moves in one direction – outbound from you to your audiences.

Social media changed all that. Now, we talk about inbound marketing. You need your content to attract your audience(s) back to you, to your website and blog. To get this done means having a new mindset and taking a radically different approach to writing–to prompt an ongoing give and take between you and your audiences. Here’s how:

Make your copy conversational. If nothing else, writing for content marketing and social media is best done with an informational, conversational style that invites other people to contribute their thinking. Content marketing is about conversation, first, last, and always.

Write for the ear. Doing so makes especially good sense when you’re writing for social media. Your copy should read well, of course, but above all, it should sound conversational. After all, that’s how you get a conversation going, isn’t it?

Be timely and relevant. When it comes to social media, people want to involve themselves in what matters to them now. They come first. So you’d better know what they consider to be timely and relevant. Observe and listen to what they talk about in real time and on social media.

Hijack the News.  Keep up with what’s going on in the world. Find ways to tie your business and what you do to what’s going on. Because your audiences will be tuned into large events and issues, relating your stuff to these events and issues will help them pay attention to what you communicate about.

Headlines matter big time. The people who make up your audiences are on the go. They don’t want to take time figuring out if your copy is something they should spend time with. They have to know right away. Strong, grabber headlines help them to get into your narrative without having to think about it.

Use visuals whenever possible. Visuals—photos and graphics—draw people right into your content. Isn’t that what you want?

Newsiness is the new norm. Look at it this way: On the Internet among social media, everybody is a reporter. If your content is newsworthy to them, they’ll spread the word by tweeting colleagues and other people they know, and will write about it on Facebook and other sites.

Step away from the formulaic. Doing so ranks as important as newsiness. Your copy should be fresh, new, different, and express your personal and professional take on things, not someone else’s. Find the style that sets you apart.

Master the art of the short. If the Internet and social media are about anything, they are about writing short, pithy content that involves readers in the blink of an eye,, gets to the point with useful information, keeps them coming back for more, motivates them, to offer their inputs.