• Consult Scholarly Sources
Utilizing outside sources to bolster your knowledge of a subject or provide a different perspective can be incredibly helpful. Reading articles from other industry thought-leaders is a great way to inform your understanding of the topic at hand. You can use respected industry publications and media outlets in your content as references.
• Conduct Interviews
Directly speaking to other executives provides a basis for creating content that resonates with other top-level leaders. It also shifts the burden from writing, to speaking, which is often an easier form of content to generate. Even if you do not plan on directly featuring your interview as the main content piece, quoting information gleaned in the interview process is a wonderful way to enrich your content with material that boosts its validity. Being able to cite other top industry professionals gives credibility to your efforts and can aid in bringing in additional readers.
• Borrow Ideas, Not Content
The key to writing great content is reading a lot first. However, once you stumble upon some great ideas, it is essential to weave them together into your own ideas instead of simply regurgitating them. Executives are typically well-read, which means that they will not be fooled by content that just puts pre-existing content together into a patch-work summary of other people’s hard work. They also do not want to waste their time reading stale content. Therefore, your research should serve as a springboard for new ideas.
• Offer A Unique Perspective
The goal is to create entirely new content, whether that is in the form of new information, perspectives, or opinions. Do something that no one else has done and you will be sure to attract an interested and engaged audience. This does not mean re-inventing the wheel, but it does mean looking at the same tired question that people have struggled to answer in the past and putting your own spin on it to create something fresh.
• Take a Stance
Wishy washy content that simply lays out ideas without offering an opinion or making recommendations is useless. Professionals perceive plain facts and lists as resource materials, not industry-relevant content. Saying something definitive (even if everyone might not agree with it) creates sexy content that will get bookmarked and shared.
• Include Actionable Steps
Give your content a purpose by answering the “What now?” question for readers. Provide clear direction regarding next steps and use that actionability to help move them along the purchase funnel or support them as customers.
• Skip Filler Content
Including things like beginner-level explanations and definitions is lazy writing. This kind of filler content may increase the word count, but it does nothing to enrich the content, causing it to fall short of business goals. It is also off putting to a more sophisticated audience that does not require handholding to dive into the subject.
• Ignore Keywords
An executive audience can sniff out an optimization ploy. Content that is overly optimized misses the objective of creating a value-added resource. Instead of writing content around keywords, create meaningful content that will resonate with your audience and let the optimization follow naturally from there. Quality content will always be found and prioritized by search engines.
• Avoid Contractions
Maintaining a professional voice sets executive-level content apart from content meant for mass consumption. Avoiding contractions helps to establish a more formal professional tone. Contractions not only create a more casual feel, but they pave the way for sloppy writing. Being deliberate about word choices leads to smarter, more focused writing.
• Be Authoritative
Using an active voice sets the tone for your content. Establish industry authority by maintaining a bold, consistent tone across all content. A passive voice instills doubt and detracts from the purpose of your content.
• Strike a Balance
Remember that time is the most valuable resource for executives. Longer form content is typically viewed as more scholarly, but content that is too long risks being ignored because of the time commitment required to read it. Ensure that your content is long enough for it to educate your audience and achieve its goals but does not drag on needlessly. Expounding on the same ideas within a single piece of content or from one type of content to the next causes bloat, which will turn an executive audience off immediately.
Longer content needs to be structured to allow for easy readability. Wherever possible, break it up in ways that creates whitespace to make it easier for executives to read and skim even when they only have a short time to devote to looking at it.
Figuring out what to write and how to write it will not happen overnight. If you need executive-level content written quickly, hire a ghostwriter either for an individual project or on an ongoing basis. Professional copywriters that specialize in ghostwriting may not have a public portfolio to direct you to, but they can provide a writing sample on demand and work with you to demonstrate their industry knowledge.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and two children and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!