Now that you are oriented and organized. You’ve established initial and daily habits of mindful practice. You’ve established specific goals and developed a way to manage your time. Let us focus on establishing strategic research methods to develop engaging and influential content. Copywriter and Content Strategist Chris Collins recommends these 13 of the Best Strategies to Create Amazing Content. He writes:
Content research is a writing superpower. It gives you insights into your readers wants and needs that other writers can only guess at… and enables you to write content that answers the exact questions they’re wondering about.
Collins provides the 13-strategies while giving each brief descriptions and directions in how to implement them. Reviewing and reading how to incorporate these suggestions. Here are those that I may find more relevant. Not all are going to be effective for some. Others may find that these strategies may work. Here are the ones I suggest (and personally utilize).
At Copyblogger, Demian Farnworth writes: Don’t Create Your Content Until You Research These 6 Things. He shares this insight:
I’m here today with a reminder about an all-important truth when it comes to content strategy: research is everything.
Great resources to look into and follow. Yet, you are probably wondering – What does content strategy and marketing have to do with me writing mindfully and publishing content? Well, first thing to consider is understanding what content strategy is and what it entails.
Justin McGill shares some good recommendations as well. His article How to Develop a Content Strategy: A Start to Finish Guide. McGill says this:
Content strategy refers to the management of pretty much any tangible media that you create and own: written, visual, downloadable — you name it. Content strategy is the piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise you bring to your industry.
You might’ve heard how important content creation is to the growth of your business, but as you’ll see throughout this post, it needs to have a well-planned purpose.
McGill’s recommendation shows our vested interest in understanding:
- Who our audience is
- What issue does our content address and resolve
- How does our content present a unique voice
- What types of content formats will you focus on
- What channels will you publish on
- How will you manage content creation and publication
McGill further shares:
The first step to getting a leg up on the competition — and actively engage your audience — is to have a solid, smart content marketing plan in place.
Sound advice since the overall objective is to actively engage our audience in order to impact and influence them. Taking the necessary time to establish our content strategy plan. Research and identify targeted topics. One may be successful in reaching and engaging niche audiences.
The Art of Mindful and Critical Reading
One of the desired outcomes of strategic content writing and publishing is the ability to think critically. Not only to think critically, but to be able to think mindfully, critically, and creatively. The ability to bring relevant content that is impacting, influential, and engaging begins when we are capable of generating content that provides solutions o specific issues. At the same time, determining which solution is the more practical one for our readers.
According to John Santrock, creativity is the ability to think about something in novel and unusual ways and to come up with unconventional solutions to problems. And, since we tend to be divergent thinkers, our focus is on generating new ideas. How are we able to utilize this hidden talent?
Prior to researching something – we want to be vested in the specific problem or issue that is of our own curious interest and that of our readers. Curiosity encourages us to explore, understand, define, interpret, and process information we are taking in. If we are not fully immersed in the specific issue – how are we adequately able to present our understanding and interpretation of it? As much as it arouses our curiosity, we want to be able to arouse the curiosity of our specific audience.
Curiosity encourages us to explore, understand, define, interpret, and process information we are taking in.Tweet
We learn through curiosity. Maanvi Singh published an article at NPR entitled Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why? In his article that was published in the Atlantic, Scott Barry Kaufman shares this:
The power of curiosity to contribute not only to high achievement, but also to a fulfilling existence, cannot be emphasized enough. Curiosity can be defined as “the recognition, pursuit, and intense desire to explore, novel, challenging, and uncertain events.” In recent years, curiosity has been linked to happiness, creativity, satisfying intimate relationships, increased personal growth after traumatic experiences, and increased meaning in life. In the school context, conceptualized as a “character strength,” curiosity has also received heightened research attention. Having a “hungry mind” has been shown to be a core determinant of academic achievement, rivaling the prediction power of IQ.
Part of our ability to research and engage in content strategy is to seek out our audience with a hungry mindset that has a high degree of curiosity in wanting to read content that will influence and engage them. Therefore, it begins when we make the necessary preparations to understand and define our own sense of curiosity in solving particular issues and problems. Information we want to eventually write and publish.
Ideas churn like butter in curious minds. We begin to connect our thinking to the specific issues and problems that are being raised. We are also understanding how we define our own solutions through the values and beliefs we uphold. To do this, we want to allow the idea a place to grow before revealing it to the specified audience (and the world at large). This period is an incubation period .
There will always be times when we think of many types of excellent content ideas. However, when we start working on those ideas, we may run into problems or merely give up. This may have to do with the lack of interest and curiosity we may have for that type of content. As these ideas incubate we explore the level of our own vested interest.
Allowing our ideas to go through this process, we are growing powerful content that may be a potential game-changer for individuals in our targeted audience. It may even be a game-changer for someone that is not normally part of our targeted niche audience.
As the ideas for content come together, we align our own values and beliefs to those ideas. How we understand and gain insight from the information being presented. The worse thing a writer may do is offend their reader from a perspective of arrogant ignorance. Unfortunately, this happens often.
Quality and engaging content that is impacting and influential are those ideas that we have personally gained wisdom, insight, and motivation for our own way of living life. Does not matter if you are writing and Op-Ed article or a how to piece. We want to be relevant, influential, engaging, and articulate.
- What insight have I gained from the information on this idea?
- What insight am I expecting my audience to gain from the same idea?
- What are my own prejudices and biased understandings of this idea?
- Are my own biased and prejudicial opinions a barrier to engage others?
- Do I adequately reflect my own values and beliefs within the content and idea?
These are simple questions to ask yourself.
Here, we make a decision as to whether or not our idea has value and worth. Is it worth pursuing? In what way is it influential and engaging? How relevant is our idea? In what way does it solve a problem? Remember, there are plethora of content on How to Parent a Strong Willed Child. However, what value and worth do you bring that has a fresh new take on parenting a strong willed child? How will you integrate what has already been said into your own content?
If you feel that it is not worth pursuing, make note of it and put it aside. If it is worth pursuing and has relevant value today – then flesh it out by investing time to develop it further.
One thing writing has taught me is patience. The real work begins when we start expanding and elaborating on the idea. Our content comes together as we produce an initial draft. Take the time to painstakingly review and edit. Ensure that any support we provide for our understanding is adequate and appropriate.
Through the elaboration process are we allowed the freedom and liberty to fully explore reasons for being vested in the idea. How to develop and streamline it for effective influence and impact. Remember, we are wanting to attain published content that is influential, engaging, and impacting on our readers. We may do a disservice if we are not elaborating on our ideas.
Personalization and Relevance
The final aspect is how we are empowered to enhance our process of elaboration. Most content that is published has more personalized and relevant sense about. Something the reader gains greater insight when presented in a manner that is at their level of understanding. This goes back to knowing who your audience is. I refer to this as authentic and genuine evergreen content. Meaning, it is something that will be relevant when it first was published as well as being relevant in a few months. Along with this, be mindful and prepared to update previously published content to continue maintaining it’s genuineness and relevance.
Forbes Senior Contributor, John Hall, recommends these steps when it comes to perfecting personalization and engaging and influencing people:
- Assess your audience (readers) needs
- Address individuals
- Adjust your message over time
Think about some of the content you have read. Content that influenced you and engaged you. How was it personalized to your specific needs in providing a unique solution to your problem?
Best evidenced-based practices of strategic research shows that we need to know:
- Who are audience is and what they are discussing
- Identify issues and problems that need adequate and appropriate resolution
- Identify key ways to incorporate new perspectives
- Identify content that is authentic, genuine, and relevant to our audience
- Identify how to personalize our content for our audience
- How to develop content ideas that are engaging, motivating, influential, and impacting
These are the take-away from this week’s strategy of mindful writing. Next week will explore on the key elements for strategic note taking in order to develop quality content that engages and influences readers. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this in the comments below. Subscribe to the Sacred Art of Mindful Creative Writing by email or following this website. Also, please help with a donation to keep this website going (as well as other web-based content that I am developing for my other sites).
Additional resources will be developed. One of them will be an upcoming eBook featuring these key strategies. It will be included for those interested in participating in a boot camp on the Sacred Art of Mindful Creative Writing.