While a picture may be worth a thousand words, there is no substitute for delivering engaging written content. After all, even the most detailed image or infographic will express complex thoughts more completely… when presented together with written narratives. The truth is words matter.
And, as the digital landscape continues to evolve, the demand for new and relevant content will grow exponentially.
Following are five best practices for creating content that resonates.
Be mindful of your audience
It’s reasonable to assume that the trade professional audience personas for whom you are developing content will already have a solid understanding of industry-specific terms. So, no need to fear using relevant trade vernacular — quite the contrary, using common industry language helps to align your content with your audience’s frame of expectations.
For example, when writing an article on wall assemblies that discusses how a construction product will meet NFPA 285 testing criteria, it shouldn’t be necessary to explain to architects or building science engineers what the NFPA is (it’s the National Fire Protection Association, by the way). Your audience is already familiar and, as such, further explanation may risk losing their consideration or — worse yet — appear condescending.
A helpful tool to ensure that content has been written to the level that will appeal to your target audience is the Flesch-Kincaid test. A good rule of thumb when crafting content for building trade professionals, is to prepare an initial draft… that would be appropriate for someone between grades 10-12. Then consider specific words and phrases individually, for best relevancy.
Write within the (out)line
When writing copy beyond several hundred words, it’s advisable to first create an outline… to ensure that content stays on topic. And doesn’t wander too far off track. Similar to the format used in a case study, the outline should present a problem or challenge. The solution. And then, of course, the results. Simply flesh out the mandatory points in a careful cadence required to tell an organized — and engaging — story.
If a qualified audience member has chosen to access your content, skip the details about why the topic is important (they know) and jump headstrong into the solutions and experiences your product promises. To maintain credibility, remember to cite all sources by name and/or include hyperlinks to the original information source.
Talk to the sales team
As a marketing communicator responsible for delivering a blog post or narrative, you may not always have an authentic example of the buyer’s journey for overcoming sales objections. Why not use the opportunity to enlist the help of a knowledgeable sales rep on your team to help fill in potential gaps? This perspective is a valuable resource and builds an opportunity to share information gleaned from firsthand experience in the field. It is also a great example of how sales can align with marketing… to achieve mutual reward for consistency in brand messaging.
Tell a story
Building and construction professionals are, after all, also people… and people are attracted to stories. To capture — and hold — an audience’s attention, transform routine content into a more memorable storyline. And, as any newspaper reporter will remind us, never bury the lead. Ensure the first paragraph entices the reader to continue to engage. And structure the balance of the article to deliver faithfully on what the title promised. This is also a critical SEO practice for search engines to better define and catalog web content.
We’ve all known the power of a good story. It feels like a one-to-one conversation. Technology and data have become enablers of brand messages that don’t feel mass-manufactured… rather, the best stories appear to be “in the moment.” After an unprecedented year of business disruption, building product brands are reimagining the way they engage at every point in a buyer’s journey. And that’s a path that couldn’t be more important. Or better timed. According to a recent Harris Poll, 73% of Americans are planning an important purchase “when things return to normal” post pandemic.
Keep content focused
Speaking of SEO, length matters. Much has been debated on how long an article should be, to rank highly in Google searches. Many sources argue that text should be a minimum of 800 words in length to rank well. Google’s SEO starter guide states that “Content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive.” As such, “comprehensive” should not be mistaken for “long.” Rather, wording should be thorough enough to cover everything a user might want to know, in response to their query.
Writing to a particular word count can, in fact, hinder the impact of a piece of content. Instead of crafting a succinct page about a primary topic, long content can tend to ebb and flow… introducing peripheral ideas that may dilute effectiveness. Avoid long sentences when a short statement will convey the necessary information, perhaps even more effectively. (“Rambling On” works best in Led Zeppelin songs.) In cases where a topic is particularly complex, consider expanding the subject from a single article… into a series.
Make It Memorable
Ultimately, great storytelling encourages a reader to continue with their valuable investment of time, and move to the next paragraph. Be certain to keep the content actionable… with tips and techniques a reader can use to improve their business. And leave an audience with a summary. A list of actions that they can begin implementing immediately.
A building product brand’s ability to produce memorable, compelling content that resonates with the intended target audience is seldom an easy task. It’s an art. Rather than a science. And, when done well, it can pay lasting dividends.
Need some assistance with your building product content? Our team of specialized, knowledgeable copywriters and content developers can create relevant, engaging and results-driven messaging to help grow your brand. Send an email to Steve Kleber at SK@Kleberandassociates.com to consider how to insource — as well as when to outsource — your content marketing.