Scanning through Reddit recently there was one post that caught my eye: ‘Those with no writing skills, how do you create content?‘ In essence, the writer was trying to produce B2B content for (presumably) his own site and finding it frustrating. Among other things, he complained that he wrote using too many commas.
His aim was to produce blog content that achieved the right tone, balanced between conversational and factual. In other words, “not to read like a text book”. It is also worth noting that he had tried outsourcing, but the writers had failed to hit the mark.
Meanwhile, helpful people suggested using writers from South-east Asia on freelancer sites who could produce content cheaply. The only sensible answer was to look at other forms of media.
It is easy to concentrate on writing as the mainstay of content marketing. But most major producers of content use a variety of different methods.
According to research from Social Media Examiner, when content marketers were asked what medium they would prefer to use, 45 per cent said written content. Visual assets (infographics) scored 34 per cent and video (19 per cent). However, when viewed as a whole things were a little different. Marketers produce lots of different content. At the top 71 per cent of marketers produced image-led content, followed closely by written content at 70 per cent. Video was 57 per cent, followed by audio at 10 per cent.
All of which shows that there is, as they say, more than one way to skin a cat. If you are no good at writing, then look at producing a vlog. So long as you know what to say, you can provide any extra links on the page. It is easier than ever to shoot film and there is an abundance of apps and open-source technology you can use. The only essential is a tripod. The rest can be done on a phone.
Writing the easy way
If you do want to write, the easiest trick is to imagine you’re speaking to a client. Most non-writers use words and a long-form of sentence construction that they would never employ when talking. First of all, get it down; it doesn’t matter how it reads. Don’t get it right; get it written. Then read it out loud. You’ll quickly find things you don’t like the sound of, especially in terms of flow and tone.
So what do you do if you find writing a challenge? Sometimes it is possible to use your weakness as a strength. Many of the people we use at FirstWord have worked for UK national newspapers and have years of experience. It is pointless trying to compete with that in terms of time and effort. Stylistically, good journalism stands out from straight writing and takes practice to finesse.
On the other hand, it is not the be-all-and-end-all. What is more important is voice, strategy and message. This can be achieved via any number of media. The main aim, ultimately, is to move people towards making a sales decision.
Content marketing for non-writers is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.