The tag line for Stiletto Creative is Content With A Point. Why these words? They’re a tribute to the sense of responsibility a writer should feel for the project. Writers are where the rubber hits the road. It’s our job to take a marketing strategy or content strategy and turn it into into copy and content that moves the needle and gets results.
Content will always be king
Sure a site needs to look good to build credibility and delight the eye, but it’s content that keeps people coming back. And if your content doesn’t have a clearly defined reason, it’s just taking up space on the page. Knowing what your content needs to accomplish is half the battle. Are you raising awareness, or converting sales? Are you teaching/informing? Or creating a tone and voice to establish a brand? Content strategists and web writers can help their clients discern the purpose of the communication and then come up with a strategy to achieve their goals.
Human truth > Insight > Story
Really good content is based on insights, which come from human truths. Maybe the insight emerges from market research, or subject matter expert knowledge of the target audience. Don Draper did it by gut instinct, today we have data and analytics to assist our understanding of how people behave. Whatever the source of your insight, parlaying it into a story is the ultimate goal.
Know your story’s purpose
That story may be 1000 words or 140 characters but regardless, your audience needs to know why you wrote it and what they are getting from it. This is hard to do in the absence of a content strategy. In one of my favorite reference books, Content Strategy at Work, by Margot Bloomstein, she quotes Erin Kissane from The Elements of Content Strategy by saying “Content work can’t be divorced from business goals, so content people need to know as much as possible about the client’s understanding of their goals.” The goals inform the strategy, and every content strategy will be different because every client has a unique story to tell
The copy is there to serve the story
If supporting the client’s goals is content’s main objective, then how can copy accomplish that? In Content Strategy, Rahel Anne Bailie and Noz Urbina tell us that business copy falls into two basic genres. Persuasive and Enabling. Persuasive copy clearly identifies a call to action and skillfully brings the reader to conversion. Enabling copy is the “how to” of writing that tells your audience how to complete a task. However, calls to action and directions should never exclude the storytelling mission. Stories create the connection between reader and writer. Of course, a story will be handled differently in a press release than it is in a case study or a social post, but the narrative must be clear and it must be compelling. A good story conveys a definite point of view that makes the message memorable and actionable. Def Leppard may have sung about Action! Not words, but when it comes to good copy, it’s the words that inspire the action.