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The Write Stuff

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Content Creators



In tribute to the late Steven Covey (above), author of the wildly successful “Seven Habits” franchise, Write Angle offers the following tips to writers and developers of all marketing content, especially those in technology categories:

1.  Start all projects with your customer in mind. All marketing begins with a customer, not a product.  This simple but often forgotten principle is the soul of the content that gets the most reads, clicks and conversions.  Who are the people you’re trying to reach?  What are the first and foremost concerns of the user?  How does your material address these issues?

2.  Stay true to one, clear objective. Begin all projects by asking the question “Why are we initiating this effort?  How will it educate our user and further our business agenda at this moment?

3.  Keep your main thing the MAIN THING. If you’re describing the way a manufacturer uses your product analytics to get a better read on how their customers are using specific products, stick to that topic. Don’t wander off talking about your other offerings’ cool features that deliver unrelated benefits.

4.  Avoid hyper-competitiveness. Don’t emulate the attitude of the big vendors who’ve never encountered a competitor they didn’t want to vaporize.  Keep your content focused on what you do for your users, not what your competitors don’t do for theirs.  There’s a broader lesson here for marketing.  Silicon Valley is strewn with the remains of failed brands that took their eye off the marketplace because they were so obsessed with their competition. Remember Auspex?  It died of NetApp envy.

5.  Remember that in a short-attention-span world, brevity is the soul of readability.  Nobody reads PDFs longer than six pages, max.  And this number is shrinking.  In the name of brevity, we’ll leave it at that.

6.  Remain a student of your business . And your technology. It’s a cliche, but the fact is that the pace of change today is blinding fast. Ensure that all marketing content reflects the freshness, relevancy and currency of today’s marketplace issues.

7. Don’t go off half-cocked. Jerry Della Femina, legendary ad executive from the “Mad Men” era, insisted his copywriters gather seven times the amount of source information needed on any subject prior to writing a single sentence.  While some may balk at this kind of preparation as overkill, the point is to become as prepped and familiar with the subject matter as the deadline allows. To our way of thinking, more is better.