HOW TO WRITE YOUR CORE CONTENT

Apr 27, 2021

Content is all around us, in things we hear, read or watch – but being able to define your content can be a really difficult thing to do, especially if it’s not something that you’ve ever had to do before.

Getting your content down on paper is a really useful exercise, not just to be able to provide key elements of information for your marketing channels; it can also be an effective way to inform staff or team members of the things you would like to talk about most often or have a way of reminding them of things they may otherwise have forgotten.

It is also a really useful way of helping to train new staff members, and it’s incredibly important when it comes to having third-parties (like Tentmaker) who may be using your content to speak on your behalf.

Your core content is information that you will use frequently across multiple platforms – therefore it makes sense to get it down on paper once, so you can use it time and again.

Core content can be used in multiple ways, such as:

  • Cross-promotional materials
  • Social media images, posts and profiles.
  • Infographics
  • Plans and proposals
  • Podcasts or Video scripts
  • Sales Sheets
  • Training materials

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways that we collate content – and some of the ways that it can help your future projects become more streamlined.

START WITH A LIST

Before you start writing your content, you need to identify what the key themes of your business or organisation are. Start off by making a list of the key topics that you talk about most frequently, or ideally would like to be.

For example, if you are a butcher’s shop, some of your key topics would be opening times, locations, delivery, dietary options, price lists, products such as beef, chicken, sausages etc.

Trying to identify all of the themes or topics you’d like to talk about can be hard work, so give yourself some time in between looking at a screen to help refresh your mind. Talking it through with a family member, friend or colleague may help clear your mind – or treat it like a game of word association.

RE-ORDER THE LIST BASED ON HOW IMPORTANT EACH TOPIC IS, OR IF YOU HAVE MAIN TOPICS AND SUB-TOPICS.

Once you have your list of topics written out, try to rearrange them in order of importance, or if there are obvious topics and sub-topics. This will help identify which of the topics you might want to (or need to) write more about, and which topics just need a brief explanation.

WRITE the same content in different variations.

Often, the same content will feature in different outputs often with different amounts of space available. We’d recommend taking your key themes and writing about them in different variations of text, that way you have access to use the content across multiple outputs such as social media posts, or more long-form pieces such as brochures and sales sheets.

It doesn’t need to be exactly the number of words we’ve suggested below, and you may find that you don’t need as many versions but the general principle would be to create a number of versions of different lengths that are your go-to content.

30-WORD DESCRIPTION

Once you have a list of topics and you have them in order, it’s time to start trying to write a brief descriptor to go alongside those key themes. Starting off with a limited number of words is a good foundation but it’s also an exercise in trying to tell some of the key details in 30 words or less.

In a social media age, you’ll find that 30 words (or thereabouts) is a good length of information where space and characters are at a minimum.

To use the butcher’s example again, that could look like:

A&I Quality Butchers are a family-run traditional butchers based in Culloden, and serving customers throughout Inverness and the wider Highlands.

WRITE A 75 WORD DESCRIPTION

Once you’ve written your 30-word version, try adding an extra couple of lines with some key details so that you have a 75-word version.

A&I Quality Butchers are a family-run traditional butchers based in Culloden, and serving customers throughout Inverness and the wider Highlands.

We’ve been serving customers in Inverness for the last 32 years, and are one of the few traditional butchers that still buy in and cut all of our own carcasses. Our Master Butcher Ali has been in the trade for 45 years and is committed to training new apprentice butchers.

WRITE A 150 WORD DESCRIPTION

Once you’ve written out a 75-word version, try adding another few key details – this should take you up to around 150 words, and a few paragraphs of information on your topic.

A&I Quality Butchers are a family-run traditional butchers based in Culloden, and serving customers throughout Inverness and the wider Highlands.

We’ve been serving customers in Inverness for the last 32 years, and are one of the few traditional butchers that still buy in and cut all of our own carcasses. Our Master Butcher Ali has been in the trade for 45 years and is committed to training new apprentice butchers.

The majority of our beef, lamb and pork are locally sourced from Highland farms to the highest standard so that only the best is sold in our shop. In an age of convenience and stack them high and sell them cheap, we remain committed to knowing where our produce comes from and selecting only the best. That doesn’t make us as expensive as you might think though – we’re often cheaper than the supermarkets!

WRITE A 300 WORD VERSION

By now, you’ve hopefully hit a stride and you’re over the initial brain-freeze of trying to write.

Depending on how you’ve prioritised your topics, or if you have specific outputs in mind for your content, keep writing!

For some topics, you might decide that having a shorter 30-50 word version is enough. Having multiple themes identified quickly means that you can start collating some of them together to create much larger pieces where necessary.

A&I Quality Butchers are a family-run traditional butchers based in Culloden, and serving customers throughout Inverness and the wider Highlands.

We’ve been serving customers in Inverness for the last 32 years, and are one of the few traditional butchers that still buy in and cut all of our own carcasses. Our Master Butcher Ali has been in the trade for 45 years, and is committed to training new apprentice butchers.

The majority of our beef, lamb and pork are locally sourced from Highland farms to the highest standard so that only the best is sold in our shop. In an age of convenience and stack them high and sell them cheap, we remain committed to knowing where our produce comes from and selecting only the best. That doesn’t make us as expensive as you might think though – we’re often cheaper than the supermarkets!

Our aim at A&I has always been to deliver the best quality of products and service that our customers have come to expect.  While we’re not ones to rest on our laurels, it is an honour to receive recognition of our hard work that keeps us aiming high.

Over the years Ali Paul, our Master Butcher, has proven his commitment to his craft and was rewarded by the Guinness Book of Records First World Record Holder for the number of sausages linked in a minute in 2016.

We were also delighted to win an award as the Best Butcher in the North of Scotland at the Scottish Retail Awards in 2016 and 2017.

One of our most recent awards was for our Canadian Club Steaks – which are officially the Best Marinated Steak in Britain!

As well as free local delivery throughout Inverness, we also offer weekly deliveries to most parts of the Highlands, from Dingwall to Dornie and Grantown to Gairloch – we’ve got lots of chickens crossing lots of roads!

Once you’ve worked through creating a list of your key topics and some of the writing exercises, you should have a collated list of some of your core content – congratulations!

This content can now be used in a range of platforms across your marketing efforts – including helping to shape out your content calendar.

PROOFING YOUR CONTENT

Working on your content with other team members is a useful process, and should help you identify what  extra information that you might otherwise have missed. It’s usually worth keeping your reference groups smaller so as to be more flexible and to be able to work faster than with a larger group.

If grammar and writing are not your strengths, then you might find some of the resources below helpful for checking your writing; we also offer a proofreading and copywriting service – please just ask if you’d like more information.

  • Spellcheck (Built into Google Docs and most text software)
  • Grammarly.com
  • Flesch Reading Test/Readable.com

USING YOUR CONTENT

Now that you’ve worked up your content, you should have a resource of written content ready to be used across a range of marketing platforms. Although it takes an investment of time and effort from the outset, you will save a huge amount of time in the long run as you now have ready-made content to pull from.

Depending on how often your content changes (prices etc) it makes sense to set a target for reviewing your main content every so often – otherwise, it’s ready to go and work with!

About the Author | Roddy Mackay
Tentmaker Creative is a small communications consultancy run by Roddy Mackay, a creative with 15 years’ experience of working with a variety of clients in a range of places to help them tell their stories well. Roddy’s work is split between running Tentmaker Creative and as a freelance photographer, where he shoots a combination of travel, weddings and commercial projects. As Tentmaker Creative, Roddy works with a range of other creatives to help clients think through a bigger picture – and to create content and strategies that help you engage your audience more effectively.

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