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Published on October 12th, 2011 by Daniel
Content used to be king around the Internet, but nowadays context is the new sheriff in town. When writing something for an audience, it’s good to be an expert in the particular field, as a matter of fact many times it is imperative. Marketing Consultant Paul Tobey uses this diagram and explanation to describe the difference between content and context:
“Above you’ll notice that inside the bowl is some water and that water represents the content of the bowl. Your content is your experience and knowledge that you will share with your audiences. You’ll also notice that if your bowl springs even the tiniest of leaks, what happens to all your content? It leaks out – all of it.
So, what is more important that the content? The bowl – of Course! So, what does the bowl represent? Context! Your context is much more important that your content. In other words; it’s not what you teach, it’s how you teach it that is more important.” (http://www.streetsmartmarketer.com/content-versus-context.shtml)
What Mr. Tobey is trying to say is that having all the data in the world means nothing if you cannot tailor it to your audience. What is your reader looking to find out? How do they wish to apply it? What means are they capable of (or willing to) absorb the information? Below are a few ways to determine how to properly channel your expertise into a consumable piece of media for your target markets.
1: Does Your Article Satisfy Your Readers Needs?
If you own a pizza restaurant and you are writing a blog, there’s a good chance that your readers are patrons of your shop and local business people. Should you have a notably original method of how your operations are run, you should probably keep your blog aimed towards the craft of pizza-making and the local community. Your pizza place’s blog isn’t necessarily the place for you to post a blog on how a small business should do it’s taxes or maintains its pest control (regardless of your accounting/taxidermy skills). Instead, take those writings to a more appropriate blog and contribute to them. A fellow blogger will appreciate the input and common practice is to contribute back or at the very least provide a link to your site for his/her followers to click.
2: Is Your Blog Written For A General or Niche Audience?
Sticking with our pizza place example, what kind of pizza place are you? Do you sell traditional style pizza? Fancy artisan pizzas inspired by the famous chefs of Tuscany? Are you the specialty pizza place that sells vegan/gluten free pizzas? Cater to your market. Sure, you may be an expert in all things pizza, but if you sell vegan slices, chances are your reader needn’t know how to make a high quality meat-lovers pizza. However if your company sells myriad styles of pizza, this may be an article worthy of posting even if you have vegan readers. Identify the unions between what your brand provides and what your readers are into as specifically as possible. Well-focused blogging gives you the persona of an informed expert; which you are, aren’t you?
3: Where Is Your Audience Viewing Your Blog?
Where your reader is viewing your article lends itself heavily to how you should format the piece. A person reading an article not pertaining to his job will more likely prefer a shorter read than a person who is at home and has time to read a lengthy, detailed article at their own discretion. A person reading your article on their mobile phone want to read an even shorter article (just the facts). Keep in mind however, blogs should generally be bulleted and truncated in nature.
4: Is Your Blog Time Specific?
Is your blog written about a new product launch? Promoting a special sale? Are you soliciting for an event or addressing a piece of news? Articles as such should be posted relatively quickly with the facts, dates, and times posted near the top. A more lengthy overview about the events success or progress or success may be posted in a secondary post (don’t forget to embed the link on the original post!). If a blog pertains to a specific date, chances are its shelf life for a reader wont be too long, so keep it short, simple and relevant.
5: Text, Audio, or Video?
The final, and all important piece of this article is obviously a question that should be asked before creation has even begun. What format should your piece take form? Well it depends on the nature of your blog’s content. If your article is very detail-oriented and specific, text may be the best way to present a wide array of data in a shorter more consumable way. However, if we’re talking about something process-driven or has many steps-within-steps, a video is a great way to provide that content in a manageable period of time. A reader may find an audio format ideal should your blog be something that may be consumed on the go or over a period of time. Audio is particularly useful for interviews or explaining something convoluted and dense.
There’s a couple ideas to get you started. Remember it’s context not content that will drive people to your site and your blogs. What are you doing now to optimize your blog for readers? We’d love to here from you!