When you read content by someone who’s found their voice, there’s a really distinct ring to it. You can tell they’re really passionate, really self-expressed and really know what they’re talking about.
People are moved by those who speak with their real voice. Yet what most people don’t realize is that almost everyone who’s found their voice had to put in a lot of work to find that voice. It doesn’t usually come naturally.
So how do you find your voice as a content marketer?
==> Start with What You’re Passionate About
If you love Internet marketing, get into the Internet marketing field. If you love crocheting, get into the crocheting field.
Ask yourself: What’s a topic that you could talk about for hours and hours on end? What’s a topic that you’d talk about and obsess about even if you weren’t getting paid?
What’s something that really lights you up in life and gets you excited?
While not every passion can be turned into a career, you’d be surprised at how many people do manage to turn their passions into money, even in very obscure fields.
Start with what you’re really passionate about. It’ll come through in your voice.
==> Be as Self-Expressed as Possible
Try to write without censorship. Don’t worry about grammatical correctness or political correctness.
If you’re speaking from your real voice, you’re probably going to turn some people off. However, you’ll also really attract the kinds of people you should be attracting.
People who have strong voices are polarizing – Some people like them, others might hate them. But that’s how real followings are built. Seldom is a following built from people who try to please everyone.
When you’re writing content, try to write as if you were speaking one on one to a friend. Write naturally, in a casual yet self-expressed and passionate manner.
==> Care about the Impact You Want to Make
Can you tell the difference between someone who’s written something and really cares if you succeed, versus someone who’s just writing the content to write the content?
Most likely, you can tell that the former has a completely different feel to it. Naturally, it’s the people who really want to help us that we feel drawn to.
When you’re writing content, ask yourself: Who are you trying to help with this content? How would you like their life to change as a result of you writing this content for them?
If you really want to help people, they can sense that. It comes through in your writing and your voice. It creates loyalty.
Your voice isn’t “one thing” that people can point to and say whether it’s good or not. It’s more of the overall vibe of your content, how everything you say is presented. A great voice will create a sense of community, loyalty and following, while a weak voice will turn people away from your content.
Design Tips for Content Websites
Having great design on a content website will play an important part in your user’s overall experience. Good design can increase trust, while poor design can decrease trust. Better designed websites will get more opt-ins, more sales and more referrals. In general, design plays a pretty big part in the overall web marketing picture.
Here are a few design tips for content websites.
==> Reduce Your Ads
Yes, you need to make money. However, crowding your page with advertisements really isn’t great design.
In fact, a study of several hundred thousand websites showed that statistically, having more ads on your site means you’re slightly less likely to rank well than other sites with fewer ads.
Your ads should integrate well with your website in general. The ads should be relevant, and placed strategically to get your user’s attention without being intrusive.
==> One or Two Images per Page
Having high quality, professional photos on your page can really add to the aesthetics of your site. However, crowding your page with graphics makes it look very unprofessional.
Try to have just one or two carefully chosen images per page. If your article is really long you can have one or two more, but try to avoid having images too close to one another.
Make sure any photos on your website are crisp, taken with a high quality camera. They also need to be relevant to the content. Try to have to color corrected before publishing, so the colors and contrast really stand out.
==> A Stellar Header Graphic
Your header graphic is one of the most important elements of what your website looks like. After all, it’ll be on the top of every page visitors go to, affecting their overall experience.
If you’re not a professional designer and you’re doing your website yourself, this is perhaps the one area where you should consider hiring someone professional to do it for you.
Your header graphic should contain just one or two graphical elements and just one or two text elements. The text elements and the graphic elements can’t both be too loud, or they’ll clash with one another or detract from the overall content.
==> A Coordinated Color Scheme
Your site overall will generally look better with relatively similar colors. Use complimentary colors or adjacent colors on the color wheel in your design colors.
Avoid colors schemes that clash or have one color standing out too much. The goal of your design shouldn’t be to bring attention to your design, but to create a positive framework for visitor to consume your content.
These are a few of the most important elements to designing content websites that look good and make people want to stay on your site longer.
How Newspapers and Magazines Find Great Content
Newspapers and magazines produce some of the most unique and well-researched content in the world. As a rule of thumb, content that’s printed in a newspaper is usually more carefully checked than content found on the internet.
Online, a lot of websites tend to have similar information. Often time’s content writers do most of their research from other sources online.
Yet newspapers and magazines work completely differently. They’re consistently able to produce highly unique content every single month that’s unlike anything that’s ever been published. How do they do that?
Here are some of the ways that newspapers and magazines find great content.
==> Interviewing Real Experts
Instead of looking through medical websites, journalists will actually call up well-known doctors to ask for their opinions.
If they’re doing an article on a particular car, they might call up the car manufacturer or a plant manager to talk about how the car was built.
As a smaller publisher, you might not be able to command the same respect as a New York Times reporter, but you’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to give free advice if you just ask.
==> Using Books and Offline Publications
Another common source of information is written books and other publications, especially academic papers, research papers or official studies.
By looking up studies and books written by experts in the field, you can get a much more in-depth look into subjects that you just wouldn’t get from browsing internet websites.
There are several academic paper search engines out there you can use to find detailed source material for research.
==> The Public at Large
You might be surprised at how much information can be gleaned from the public at large. Granted, this doesn’t work for skill-intensive subjects like medicine or law, but for many subjects the public at large can be a great resource for content.
For example, if you run a financial blog and you want to write a post about how rent control affects the economy, where might you go?
Yes, you can research academic theories about rent control. You can Google “rent control” and see what else is written online about the subject.
But one fascinating place you could look is everyday people who actually live in rent-controlled places. Talking to just a handful of these people can give you more insight into how rent control really affects things than reading a dozen articles online.
As you can tell, newspaper and magazine writers tend to get their information from different sources than most online writers. Granted, these methods of researching content take a lot more time and effort. However, if you’re willing to put in that time and effort, you’ll be able to create content that’ll blow your competition out of the water.