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Cut the waffle! Follow these 3 easy steps to focus your content

Sarah Matarazzo
Tuesday December 3, 2019

We all have that one friend whose stories seem to go nowhere.

It seems ok to begin with, but after a few minutes, it tails off on a tangent… and before you know it, you know their entire life story.

While the point to his or her story may well have been interesting, by the time you got there, you’ve drifted off in your head, perhaps wondering what’s for dinner, or what to watch on TV later.

Let’s face it – waffle is boring and annoying. So, when thinking about your content, the same rule applies. Keep it concise, to the point and interesting.

Easier said than done, right?

One mistake that many content marketers and copywriters make is providing far too much detail, instead of getting straight to the point. Lengthy and meandering content is aimless and wastes your readers’ time.

Your audience is looking for content that makes a solid point well, and fast. In this article, we provide three quick and easy tips to focus your content and keep your audience reading…

1. Start backwards.

This is an age-old tip for any content creator, from journalists to bloggers, communicators to speechwriters. Before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) you should ask yourself two questions:

– What is the goal for this content?
– What is the one thing I want readers to take away?

By publishing concise and useful content, you’ll attract larger audiences who, over time, will trust you, and therefore will be more likely to buy or invest further down the line. However. The likelihood of you doing this with one or two pieces of content is very slim, so why try to? Instead, focus on doing one thing really well – making your point quickly, clearly and with interest, and your audience will thank you.

When thinking about your content, identify what you hope it will do for your audience. Will it give them some helpful information? Perhaps it’ll inspire them to act. Whatever it is, be bold and single-minded in your approach.

2. Get writing.

Once you’ve got those two important questions answered, it’s time to get writing. Put them to one side and write freely. Be prepared to meander, and there’ll no doubt be some waffle. That’s absolutely fine, to begin with. Failing to make room for that can result in writer’s block, so get your ideas done first and finesse later on. The more you write, the more material you’ll have to edit when it comes to it.

Once you’re happy with your piece, it’s time to review the answers to those questions in mind. Be ruthless – cut out all of the fluff, keeping sentences short and punchy.

"Keep your content concise, to the point and interesting."

3. Edit, edit, and then edit again.

If you have the time, then put the piece of content down and revisit it a day or so later. Seeing your article with fresh eyes is as good as having an editor there with you, and may allow you to pick up grammatical errors and unnecessary waffle that you’d missed the day before.

When reviewing your content for the second time, grab those questions from earlier:

– What is the goal of the content?
– What is one thing I want the reader to take away?

Take the time to reflect here – does the content still answer them? Does it inspire the desired action in your audience, to read more, to buy, to download?

This approach should be applied to every piece of content marketing you produce, whether that’s a blog post, video, podcast, speech or TV ad. Every word should serve a purpose – if you think it may be waffle, chances are it probably is… don’t be afraid to attack it with the red pen!

Whatever process you follow to create content, deciding on your goals is key to producing exceptional content that people want to watch, read and click on. Revisiting your content to edit and polish is a must for any content creator.

How do you keep your audience interested? Let us know in the comments section below…

Still scratching your head? Perhaps we can help.

Socially Grown is a full-service marketing agency specialising in content, SEO, communications, design and much more. If you’re looking for true experts in content marketing, give us a call today. We have extensive experience in delivering multi-channel content campaigns that inspire audiences around the globe. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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