As so much writing is being done right now during the COVID-19 outbreak, causing a content tsunami for clients who likely feel overwhelmed at the sheer volume of options to read, I wanted to highlight a few key points to keep in mind to draft stronger alerts and blog posts.
- Always write in your clients’ language. Stay away from legalese.
- Write short/concise headlines that quickly get to the point – bonus points if you can use numbers in the title.
- Write timeless “Why” and “How-To” “evergreen” pieces that you can republish.
- Get to the point – fast. If readers can’t figure out why they should care within the first paragraph or two, they won’t. Don’t waste their time with lots of background information.
- Write the alert like a news story – get to the point right away and identify the news hook ASAP. Provide practical advice and keep the background information to a minimum.
- When drafting the alert, answer the following questions
- What happened?
- How does it affect me or my company?
- What should we do about it?
- Why should clients care about this issue?
- Look at what your competitors are writing about the coronavirus and various related issues and ask yourself how you can bring a different perspective to it or make it better.
- Think beyond the current crisis and write about what a post-COVID-19 world looks like. Anticipate issues and how they will affect your clients – this is the kind of content that will stand out from the pack.
- Create and distribute content while the topic is hot – a good piece of content today is better than a fantastic piece three days from now. Make efficiency part of your content strategy.
- Take time each week to study the analytics on your COVID-19 blog posts and client alerts. Look for commonalities on why they did well (was it the headline? Structure? Topic?) Then find ways to replicate the posts.
- Use powerful visuals to accompany your posts on social media (but please try not to use the COVID-19 spiky cell structure as your primary image – too many firms, news outlets and every other company on the planet- are using it too, and some people, including me, have a negative visceral reaction to it.
- As the world is changing so rapidly, you can easily update a piece of content posted a few weeks ago by adding new information and you have a new alert.
- Ensure that your mailing lists are up to date and bouncebacks are reconciled after each distribution – what’s the point of creating content if no one is receiving it?
- Use a content syndicator such as JD Supra to extend the reach of your content and reach new readers who could potentially become new clients.
Please also keep in mind that your clients are being bombarded with a high volume of alerts each day. If you plan on publishing more than two per day, I recommend sending one email digest/newsletter per day that includes all of the alerts to a mailing list that combines the practices mentioned in each alert. This has the added benefit of potentially enabling you to reach a wider audience as some recipients may forward the digest to a colleague on a topic they think would be of interest to them.
If you are producing multiple alerts per day, I also recommend doing one social media post with links to each of the alerts and an accompanying image highlighting each post. You can post them separately in the days to come, but less is more. I worry clients will reach a saturation point with coronavirus-related alerts soon, and unsubscribe from your mailing list.
In a time when everything has changed, don’t stop producing helpful content that adds value to your readers – just be more client-centric.
Stay safe everyone.