With new AI writing software like ChatGPT, the state of copywriting and content posting is in upheaval. ChatGPT is a language processing tool that allows users to have human-like conversations with an AI. It can write essays, describe images, and even engage in philosophical conversations.
Because of these advancements, many believe that AI will eventually do all of our writing for us, while others think that an AI can never replace a real human voice. In this year of purposeful engagement, we’re interested in deepening our approach to creating rich content. Although AI writing has its merits, when you take the people out of the work, you lose the ability to engage purposefully.
In some ways, writing is so natural to us that we take for granted the cognitive power required to develop complex ideas through the written word. Despite that natural instinct, writing is still difficult because making meaning is difficult. If it weren’t, there wouldn’t be so many people eager to use an AI program to do the writing for them.
In order to ease the challenge of creating rich, meaningful content, we thought we’d share our approach.
What a writer does
Assigning your copywriting and other content to an employee or contractor is one way to ensure your brand stays tonally consistent. A good staff writer can do a lot with a little. Writers are generally creative and inventive people, and someone with a lot of experience can take a few basic ingredients and make a meal out of them, so to speak. It’s important to look at a writer’s credentials and other work. A bachelor’s in English is good; a master’s in writing is better. But relevant experience is by far the most valuable credential a potential writer can have. Freelancers often share “clips” of their work, so it’s a good idea to peruse their portfolio and check out their vocal range. Here’s what to look for:
- Fluidity and clarity of sentences
- Tonal consistency with the overall brand
- Organization of ideas
- Accessible writing style (easy to understand)
- Ability to develop ideas to create overall meaning
That last bullet point is the kicker. You may have read something online before and thought, “Okay, so what? Why did I bother reading that?” A good writer not only makes meaning of their work, but also contextualizes it and elevates it beyond its initial scope.
Approaching content creation
When considering your brand personality, it’s important to develop your consistent tone of voice. If you haven’t done so already, we recommend establishing brand guidelines, which offer a detailed breakdown of the nitty gritty—the detailed breakdown of how to apply your organization’s unique message throughout all communications. These can be helpful tools to create one cohesive voice even if you have multiple writers making content.
While the bulk of your content will be in the form of articles, it’s important to remember that each individual post is a smaller part of the bigger goal of engagement. Creating content ahead of time allows you to build a content calendar and post at peak times in a consistent manner. Consistency is key to building trust with your audience.
Once your tone of voice is established, it will shape all long-form content. Research, interviews, and conversations with our clients all help us strategize subjects for blogs and articles. Here are some high-level approaches to create meaningful content:
- Subject matter expert interviews/op-eds
- Responses to timely topics/current events
- How-to guides/tutorials
- Deep dives
A word of warning: the internet is full of clickbait—shocking headlines that pique curiosity and make you want to click on them, but once you do, you’re met with a lot of advertising and an article that doesn’t really say anything. Writing clickbait articles may bring you traffic, but it cheapens the integrity of your brand. It’s better to have a hundred readers who engage meaningfully with the content—and begin to develop trust with your brand—than a thousand readers who close out of the window a moment after they click the link.
The big picture
The most important part of content is taking a position. A position helps to ground your brand and express what you’re all about. Making that position relevant is a matter of fixing it within the context of something either topical or strategic, and above all, relevant. Maybe it’s something noteworthy in the news or an observance. Maybe it’s an area of expertise, a new service or program, or a change in your organization. Anchoring content to recent events important to your audience makes that content more meaningful to them. Alternatively, anchoring content to your brand, your differentiators, and your staff ensure it will always be relevant.
Of course, this is far easier said than done. Once you have your position and then place that position in a greater context, the next task is to organize the copy in a way that transitions between ideas smoothly. One way to do that is by outlining the content before writing it to make sure the information is provided in the most logical order. Another way is by breaking down longer content using subheadings (we love subheadings) and bullet-point lists (we also love bullet-point lists). Not only do these things clarify meaning, but they also aid in the scannability and accessibility of the article.
Lastly, it’s important to end long-form content with a call to action. You want to make it clear that after your audience gains the insight you’ve offered them, there’s something they can do with it. It can be as simple as looking into your services or signing up for your newsletter, or as major as participating in something important happening in your field. A good conclusion answers the question, “Why does this matter?”
In other words…
- Take a position
- Contextualize it
- Make it relevant
- Outline the article
- Organize your ideas
- Draft it out
- Make a call to action
Beyond the copy: Graphics, links, and CTAs
Another method of improving scannability is to include relevant graphics. Visual aids help a reader engage more deeply with the content by attaching your overall position to a memorable image. Graphics like graphs help visualize abstract data. Pull quotes offer major highlights of the work and also provide visual breaks between topics.
At any point in your rich content that you refer to previously posted content, it’s a best practice to backlink to that content. Backlinking promotes older posts and can boost overall site traffic. Who among us hasn’t gone on a Wikipedia deep dive? Links offer a way to navigate the greater web of your work.
Maximizing value with SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps your content rise up the ranking of Google searches. For as hyped up as SEO is, it’s not as difficult as it seems. Minor wording tweaks and metatags can make all the difference. So, once a piece of content is finished, a final pass for SEO optimization can ensure your content works for you and helps your website rank as highly as possible.
While AI writing programs are a fascinating advancement in technology, we don’t plan to depend on AI for creating rich content. ChatGPT may have an understanding of natural language, but that doesn’t mean the deeper meaning of a long-form article can be crafted by AI.
We believe in creating rich, branded content for your organization, and prioritizing authentic messages in a way that benefits the audience rather than solely promotes traffic. What’s important is to position your subject-matter experts, and communicate your services in a clear and compelling way. Seeking shares, follows, or likes doesn’t matter as much as it seems—if you’re writing rich, branded content consistently, then organically that content will be found.
At designRoom, we make it our business to find real answers and create custom healthcare brands. We believe effective healthcare branding is grounded in research, directed by insight, and driven by strategy.
We love seeing how strategic branding helps the right clients find the right organizations and receive the right care. That’s been our focus for over a decade. Today designRoom is an award-winning, national branding and design firm, known for helping clients build and promote healthy, sustainable brands. And we are super proud of that.