Thursday, October 28, 2010

5 Tips for Great Content

Photo by Meganzii

I recently taught a seminar on social media and must admit I’m still reading all my resource blogs and getting excited about new tips. However, you get to benefit from my geeky obsession because I like to share. Here are 5 tips for creating great content.

1. What’s The Point?

Successful blogging has a purpose or a goal. This also goes for posting on Twitter or Facebook. What sort of message do you want to share? Are you relaying tips, offering tutorials, or giving bits of inspiration? Pick a focus that makes sense for you and your goals. It should be a focus that you feel inspired to talk about over and over again. By creating an overarching theme for your writing and posting you establish yourself as an authority in the area you’ve chosen. Just like in your art, you want to be known for something.

2. Using Your Voice

Once you’ve settled on a theme for your content, then you need to think about your voice or tone. Will you be funny, conversational, authoritative or informational? Will you share lots of links and pictures or will you write witty monologues? Your style should compliment the image of your business. You’ve undoubtedly spent a lot of time creating not only your art, but also your brand. Your voice should be an extension of that. If you make delicate metal jewelry with soft flowing shapes, most likely your tone won’t be short and quip or use a lot of slang. Your tone comes across in the words you choose, the phrasing of your sentences, and even the references you link to.

3. Short and Sweet

Your readers are busy. Always remember that. They want useful information that they can read in 5-10 minutes. If you have a lot to say on a topic break it up into a series of shorter posts.

4. Quality Over Quantity

If you’re not intending to make money directly from your blog, you do not need to post every day. It’s more important to have high quality articles posted once or twice a week then five mediocre posts in a week. Referring back to tip 3, your readers are busy, don’t waste their time or they won’t come back.

Finding quality content is a never-ending job; you should always be looking for inspiration and ideas. Save links to other articles that you really enjoy, they can provide a jumping off point. Take the time to brainstorm a week or even a month’s worth of content ahead of time so that you won’t be struggling at the last minute. It takes planning, but it also gets easier the more you do it.

5. Be Consistent

As I said in tip 4, you don’t need to write everyday, but I will strongly urge you to be consistent. If you decide that you can manage 3 posts a week and you will publish them on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, don’t suddenly go dark for a week with no explanation. You will loose readers if they don’t know what to expect. Pick a schedule you can maintain and then put it on your calendar as an appointment you can’t get out of. It is really that important if you want to build a relationship with your audience and you want that audience to grow.

More Resources

Georgina Laidlaw writes about keeping a consistent voice over at

And one of the best analogies about developing a voice is in Steve Kamb’s article “How to Blog Like Bond. James Bond.” on

April at Blacksburg Belle talks about creating useful content.

I encourage comments directly to this post, but also feel free to email me directly with questions, reactions, struggles, etc.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


nerd JERK said...

How true, how true! I can only echo how important it is to remember that our blogs are our voices. People that I've never met before have told me that they've read my blog posts and I'm always astounded. It was a good thing I was being me the whole time and not someone else, because people felt really comfortable coming up and talking to me.

The same can we true for OUR comments on others' blogs. Make sure to be true to yourself & your brand. Genuine responses attract the most attention and can help to enrich your blogging experiences.

Thanks for this awesome food for thought, Genevieve. Fantastic tips!

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

This is a great post! It's really important stuff to think about. Personally, I started my blog as a sort of family record, and that's mostly what it continues to be. My most faithful readers are my own family (extended across the continent), but I know that many others & customers read it as well. From some perspectives, it's made for a bit of a split personality in terms of my blogging identity.

But given that my business is very part time right now, the balance (or, more accurately, imbalance) between family oriented posts and business oriented posts is an accurate reflection of my current reality. And I'm OK with that! There's a reason that it's *Mama's* Magic Studio, after all...

Honestly, I think that much of why I'm drawn to handmade and the artists involved is the amazing individuality that is inherent in the community. We're all such great, creative, interesting people! Or I find it interesting, at least! And I don't think I'm alone in that.

I think as long as you are authentic and honest, keeping in mind an appropriate filter (i.e. do you want the world -- your family -- your customers -- to know this?) you can't go too far wrong. By all means, think about your brand, your vision, your voice, but don't let that get in the way of writing from your heart. There's a heart to handmade (it's not an accident, that Etsy language of "hearting" things) and if you write from that heart, your readers can tell and will appreciate that.

Lightbox SF said...

So glad that both of you enjoyed the post. I agree that we all must remember that THE most important tip is to be authentic. I sometimes forget that it isn't "a given" for everyone to write from their heart and passion.

Your comments also got me thinking about the perfect next post as a sort of follow up and continuation. Thanks!

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