Every girl is crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man.
That’s what ZZ Top, the famous bearded band from Texas sings. And if that’s the case, what’s your content wearing these days?
Let’s consider your content as a naked friend. He’s had an invitation. He’s going out, and needs your help to pick an outfit. You can’t send your content out in the buff. Come on; the poor guy is nude and freezing.
You’re in charge of making sure your naked, shivering content makes a perfect appearance. It’s depending on you to dress it up properly for the performance.
Time to hit the clothes closet, my friend.
Where’s Your Content Going?
Take a look at the invitation. What’s the event? Who’ll be at the party? Is your content about to head over to a client’s office to land a job contract? Is your content a guest speaker at a posh seminar? What about a casual appearance on your blog?
You wouldn’t dress the same way for a family reunion with Great-Aunt Martha’s 50th wedding anniversary as you would for a rave party with the local biker club, would you?
Neither would your content.
Dress your content accordingly. Know your target audience. It’s basic information, but so many people get this part wrong – even seasoned pros – so it’s worth repeating. Don’t just ask about demographics before you write. Ask about the personality profile of your content’s audience.
Don’t Forget Pants
Anyone who looks good and knows it oozes confidence. Hand your content some underwear – good sentence structure, short paragraphs, and proper punctuation – you risk it looking awkward while it tries to compensate for lack of comfort.
The underwear drawer of your content’s wardrobe also contains crucial garments like structure, outline, and flow. Before even considering what your content’s final look will be, you need to know what your content is all about.
For many of you reading this, you’re rolling your eyes – and you’re probably the ones that need to understand this point the most. Think we’re all above a reminder to structure content well?
Think again. New writers are probably the ones who get structure the most – because they’re paying so much attention to it. More experienced writers forget. They slam out their content, shove on a jacket, and send it on out the door.
Write down the concept or message you want to discuss. That’s the content’s suit, its core message. Now add sub-points to help support your main message. Think of these as the pants, shirt and jacket that make up the suit. Are they complementary? Are they related? How?
Not sure? Try this trick: Switch the order of your sub-points. Would the content still make sense if you wrote them in that order? Yes? Great. No? The order doesn’t make sense? You can’t make those pants fit with that shirt? Or with the jacket either? Then you, my friend, are in fashion trouble.
Replace a sub-point with another, more complementary one. Do the pants match the shirt now? Does the shirt match the jacket? Then you’re ready to work on.
The Finishing Touches
A suit looks nice, but finishing touches make a world of difference between nice and polished. Hem pants for length, add cufflinks for flair, and make proper adjustments for a perfect fit.
Give your content that attention-grabbing headline, a great introduction, and a solid wrap-up that drives home your point. Sprinkle in some links. Your content needs to look nice from across the room, too, so make sure it’s wearing some bullet points or headers.
Each element creates a better-dressed piece of work. You’re finally getting your content looking sharp. And depending on which finishing touches you select, you can achieve different goals and reach different types of people.
That is, if it’s got a good sense of style.
Flair of Personality
Underwear, a nice suit, hemmed pants, cufflinks… Ah, but if your slick-looking content heads out to hang its head or mumble, it won’t have much of an impact on its audience. A stiff monologue only attracts a yawn.
So give your content some personality. Dust its style shoulders off. Boost it up with good tone so that it reads well and conveys its message effectively. It’s surprising how many great pieces of content are spoiled by a monotone style. It’s okay to entertain while being informative.
Check that invitation again. A networking event? Use a confident, expert style that conveys your knowledge. A personal blog? Try a friendly, laid-back tone that makes guests feel comfortable and relaxed. An important message? Pick a strong, emotionally-compelling tone for a lasting impression.
Show the audience that your content is spiffy-looking, knowledgeable, and entertaining, too. Stuffy and bland doesn’t work. Only style and flair gets your content noticed.
Make a content statement .Be the highlight of the show.
It’s all about getting people to say, “Wow. Did you see him?”
Tailoring your content properly makes a big difference in results. Jeans and sneakers don’t make the right impact at a guest performance. Tails and a top hat don’t go off well at a casual posting.
Know what the invitation is for, know who’ll be at the event and why, and know what everyone expects. Understand the theme of the moment. Make your content look good to achieve the effect you want.
Who knows? Your content may end up being the life of the party.