200 words or 2000? Twice a day or once a week? So many people are looking for simple rules for writing in general and social posting in particular. In a world governed by algorithms and measured with ‘likes’ and ‘shares,’ we constantly look for simple, accurate guidelines. Well, guess what? They might work on the algorithm but won’t help you create good, impactful content.
Here are three common content-writing tips to beware of. They have one simple thing in common: they force you to write artificially instead of organically.
“Write for Short Attention Span”
“The shorter your content is, the better.” “Whatever you have to say, say less.” “People don’t have time or patience for long content.” “It must fit into a single screen. Phone screen, that is.”
When you wish to provide value for your audience, don’t think about making it short. This doesn’t mean you should artificially extend its length. However, some ideas require more depth. And people appreciate depth. At least many of them do, and these are exactly the people you are interested in engaging. If your content solves a problem for your audience, they’ll read it no matter how long it takes.
When you write, your only guideline should be: write as much as you feel is worth writing. If 100 words are enough, don’t write more than that. If you need 2000 words, that’s fine. Maybe fewer people will read the entire text, but these people will gain more and will appreciate you more. When your content is focused on delivering value, it shows regardless of its length. And this will eventually help you build a loyal audience that wants to hear more of what you have to share.
“Please Your Audience”
Professional content is always written for the audience. You are writing to provide value for your readers; therefore, they must be in your mind when you write. But thinking about your audience does not mean aiming to please them.
Don’t write what you think people want to hear. Your content should reflect your ideas, views, experience, and insights. They might not be popular, but if you believe they have value, don’t censor yourself to appeal to more people. If you write what people want to hear, they don’t really need you, do they?
The people who acknowledge the value you provide, even if they disagree with your views, are more likely to come back for more of your ideas. Effective content is not about winning a popularity contest. It’s about making an impact.
“Post Every Day”
One of the things I highly recommend to anyone who wishes to write better is to write every day and turn writing into a habit. But writing every day does not mean posting every day.
Some people will tell you that “the algorithms” favor daily activity. Some will say you have to create a constant social presence. Instead, I recommend posting when you have something valuable to share. Something you truly believe can help your readers.
If you write daily, you will soon discover that you have plenty of things to say. Not all of them are worth posting, but the more you write, the easier it will be to identify the good stuff. And the frequency of ideas worth sharing will increase, too.
Don’t post content just because you feel you have to. Post it when you are urged to say something you believe can help others.