I teach English to freshmen in college, which means that 99 percent of the time, the answer to their question can be found on an assignment sheet that they didn’t read before emailing me, or is something I said in class that they didn’t listen to.
Social media is an entirely different world, however. With social media, answers aren’t so easily found, and there’s no cut-and-dry solution to successful work. If you count strategy as formula, maybe that counts as an answer, but even strategies need to be tweaked and revised: There is no such thing as a perfect strategy.
And even though there’s no answer booklet of “Ways To Have a Viral Facebook Page” that will work across the board for every brand, there are ways to master the digital world and create outstanding, top-notch content that will give you a substantial ROI. Here are a few of the tips & tricks to creating great content (think of this as your assignment sheet with all the answers).
Read Out Loud
Are you writing blog posts? Facebook posts? Tweets? Video scripts? Instagram captions? My number one piece of advice for any and all writers in the entire world, and this includes content creators, is to read your work out loud. I tell my freshmen this almost every single day, because the truth is that we can often hear our mistakes more clearly than we can when we write.
In addition, reading black lines on a screen for up to nine hours a day dulls our visual senses to the point where we can miss simple mistakes and grammar errors that will immediately undermine credibility: Absolutely nothing makes me lose respect for a piece of content more quickly than a fragment sentence. If you’re throwing in fragments or irregular grammar to create a voice, it should be consistent enough that there’s no question about whether it’s a grammar mistake or part of the brand. Read out loud, and you’ll hear what you’re putting out into the World Wide Web much more clearly. This takes time, but is worth it.
It’s important to update your blog, or social media, or whatever you’re publishing consistently for a few reasons. First, it’s great for your audience to know that there will be content posted when they want to read it and to be able to expect a great blog post when they wake up at 8 a.m. every morning: This will drive traffic.
More importantly, though, this is good for you. Especially if you’re writing blogs, the simple practice of putting words on paper every single day will help you work through any issues you have with writing, and the tenet “practice makes perfect” is completely applicable to writing. Even if you’re not taking a writing class or learning anything about writing other than by simply doing it, you will improve by practicing, and your prose will become more clear without even trying.
Creating relevant, inspiring, brand-worthy content every single day is hard, even when you’re an expert. We do this for a living, and still won’t pretend that it’s a walk in the park. It is not a walk in the park, but it is certainly worth it. On the days when it’s difficult to think of what to write, or the ideas aren’t flowing, tough your way through it (or, you know, call experts like the SMC team…). Each hurdle will make the next day easier.
Image Credit: CC by 12/52 – Chalk