People have different communication styles. Some prefer written materials. Others prefer speaking. Plus there are people who are more visually oriented when it comes to reviewing content. Toss in time constraints and life realities, and you have a variety of material to create to address all these different needs. How can you do so? It’s simple: mix it up! Provide a variety of posts so any particular audience type will find what they need.
Written: Blog Posts and Articles
For those that prefer written materials, write some posts with solid content. People that enjoy reading will enjoy reviewing in-depth posts of longer length. Give them something to digest. This brings to mind a favorite quote of mine. It’s from Francis Bacon, who lived from 1561 to 1626. I learned of his essays as part of some college coursework. Here’s the sentence that has stayed with me all these years; it’s from his essay entitled Of Studies.
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” – Francis Bacon, Of Studies.
As a professional writer, this sentence has always been in the back of my mind. I’ve always thought that I wanted everything I write to be “chewed and digested,” not just “tasted,” as Mr. Bacon described centuries ago. It’s advice that’s relevant today even with the shorter attention spans and time constraints that are factors to consider. I believe that there are readers out there who prefer comprehensive materials. They don’t want their precious time wasted with fluff, either. This leaves but one option for this group: write longer posts with solid content.
Google has recently been punishing sites that don’t have much content of which to speak. That’s another good reason to provide your readers with information that informs, assists, entertains, and gives them a reason to return time and again.
If you’re not yet on the audio bandwagon, hop aboard! It’s always been helpful to have audio options for posts as well as podcasts. This addresses the audience that prefers speaking over written. There are those that prefer to pick up the phone and call someone rather than read an email. I’m sure you know of this type. Given that I believe that speaking is the preferred mode of communication by society in general (think extroverts), addressing audio needs is paramount. How might you provide spoken materials? Here are some examples.
- Add audio buttons to your posts, such as I’ve included in this and some other of my posts.
- Create audio versions of your posts and upload them on your site or other location online.
- Prepare podcasts. You can do so on a regular basis or periodically. Upload them on your site and other places, or have a page that lists them and directs people to the location.
Select the “Listen to Post” button on this post to hear the automated reading. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely a nice option that’s easily added via a plugin. Reading and recording your posts yourself would be more clear, I think. For such a recording, you can provide additional comments and explanations before the actual recording begins. It’s something worth an experiment or two.
Audio is also an important accessibility feature. There are some who cannot view materials online, so audio materials help this audience.
Also, I think it’s critical at this point to start incorporating audio in everything you do. Why? Think: Alexa. And Google Home. And whatever is next. The world is shifting to audio. Get going on this as soon as possible.
Visual: Video and Graphics
Providing visual content for users is a must. It addresses this communication style and meets content needs for platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. Perhaps most importantly, there’s been a real push to produce more video content to share online. Facebook in particular has been focusing on this for some time. They’ve been encouraging people to use their Live option and have rewarded that usage with higher prominence in the newsfeed. That’s a powerful perk. The newsfeed has become increasingly crowded, so the use of live broadcasts is helpful. Expect to see some live videos from me in the future!
These are some options for visual elements to include in posts or to have as standalone posts.
- Video tutorials
- Live video and recordings of them
Oh my gosh, are these ever helpful to have. We’ve all seen them. These can be standalone posts. They’re also a great marketing tool. If you create a good one, people will share it. Add a note to encourage people to embed it on their site, but to provide attribution to you. Ensure that you include a copyright notice and your information at the bottom of the graphic. When you’re ready to tweet a link, be sure and add the #infographic hashtag.
If you’re wondering how to make one, you might want to check iStockPhoto or other stock photo outlets: search for “infographic” without the quotes and you’ll find many stock graphics you can purchase. Have fun reviewing them! Many are vector graphics, which may require an application such as Adobe Illustrator.
Tutorials can be screen recordings, videos, or a combination of various media types.
Videos and Live Video
Facebook is the most prominent with regard to use of live video. You can also create videos and upload them to your site as well as a YouTube or Vimeo channel. Use of video is important and something to consider if you don’t already have something available.
If you host a webinar, you can usually upload a recording of it to your site. There are options for setting up membership sections on a website in case you want to limit access to the recording.
Determine who your audience is and the likely communication styles. Prepare content in varied formats to provide information for all of your visitors. If you’ve not yet done so, complete a content audit. That tells you what you have, identifies gaps, and provides you with information you need for planning. For more information, see the content audit post below.
For your reference, here are links to the TOC for the #2moroDocsTips series as well as the post about content audits. If you’d like assistance with an audit, contact me! I can help.