Content has a multy-layer meaning
I have two pages notes from this very informative interview and here are my take aways:
→ map your internal identity and express it externally;
→ while acting, become the role, bring to life your true voice;
→ the meaning of a conversation differs from writer to reader, so make it multy-layer to relate to larger audience
My summary would be, a top professional can always work out their digital content and make a difference through developing personal digital skills either through the best content writers expressing his voice.
You can ckeck for many other aspects concerning meaningful content creation, visual content etc.
#contentwriting #googleplusknowledge #Monday
Originally shared by Teodora Petkova
David Amerland on content writing, meaning and authenticity
Meaningful writing for the web has to do with value, uniqueness, insights and connected dots.
This is the time-stamped version of the interview with David Amerland on ontologies and content writing.
2:06 What is meaning?
Linking content writing to ontologies through the so tough concept of meaning:
Meaning being in the algorithm of the interpreter and about meaning super practically.
3:24 How machines look at content (in terms of relational connections)?
Content stands in relation to every other piece of content on the web in terms of its importance, similarity, originality, in terms of the depth of the expertise the piece covers, in terms of links that add broader values.
4:18 What are the softer values of content?
The style of writing, readability, relevancy.
4:45 Content, audience, intention
Before the machine get to words, it understands content in terms of its intended audience and also the intention of the person who created the content.
5:00 How a machine would know intent?
A machine looks at intent by looking at what we do.
Intent is defined through actions which have to have a specific meaning in terms of what the individual is trying to achieve. Which means they have to have a fairly clear idea of their audience, their context, and how it impacts the perception of their brand.
7:28 In what terms should a content writer (a SMB owner) think about the architecture of their website?
The idea is to create content that is very user-friendly in terms of respecting the time and effort that user is putting there. Users need to understand very quickly what the website is about.
8:56 How to create user-friendly content?
Even though users might like your writing, they are always pressed with time. We all are!
There are basic technicalities that help us understand what a piece is about and why it is important. Headlines, H1s, H2s. Users should be able to scan quickly through the text.
9:20 How do you find that core of yourself, these one or two things that describe you or your business?
The simplest way is to ask: Why? Why are you doing this in the first place?
If you can’t answer these question with several sentences, then your focus isn’t right. Next, you need to ask yourself why should anyone spend their time reading you. Your answer should be very specific.
10:25 How do you unpack “your core” into categories and links which become the part of the structure of your content?
Every piece of writing is neither you, nor entirely yours. So when you write you need to think what is the unique value that you bring with that piece. As you create content, inevitably you are going to have specific categories building up. Similarly when you write you naturally link to other pieces and what you should do when writing is apart from giving the reader the opportunity to read you, you should also give them the opportunity to see the sources that you viewed throughout your research.
13:25 Should you let your content grow organically, like the way you think?
That’s the easiest way for two reasons. Readers and writers have similar interests. Instead of forcing everything, use an organic approach to thinking and developing ideas.
14:00 How can “organic content” be scaled, when it comes to crating it for larger companies?
Think what is your UVP here, what’s your proposition, what value do you bring. If you only have one subject, you can break it down to smaller steps. But usually there are a lot more categories. This structure will allow you to create value.
16:20 Why and how you content should be grouped?
A clear structure about writing and a clear intent create value. You organize your content in what we call a corpus of your work. And then it becomes part of the ongoing value you provide to those who read you.
19:10 Is there a bridge between content grouping and taxonomies? (a question by Denver Prophit Jr.)
Content grouping could be more broader than the narrower sense of taxonomies (they tend to be characterized by very strict criteria). As you create content it begins to acquire depth and fall into particular taxonomy. It boils down to how well you establish your expertise in a particular domain. Most people’s writing, over time, will fall into specific categories.
21:00 Creating taxonomies
Slightly different slices, perspectives, make for a very complex reality. And that complexity is what we try to simplify when we create taxonomies.
22:00 The architecture (or the atlas) of an overall digital presence
Essentially you are mapping your skill set, your internal identity, the things that drive you. Then you try to externalize that. It’s a journey of discovery. Sometimes it’s a journey of self-discovery.
23:23 *Content writers as actors*
In many ways, content writers are like actors. There are actors that essentially who constantly play themselves. And there are actors who become the part they play. And both these require a different set of skills. Both types bring something to the table. The actor (content writer) that plays themselves brings unique value to the role: charisma, electrifying presence. The actor who is good at acting, makes the role real and brings it to live.
Let’s say somebody hires you for your writing:
a. You bring your unique expertise (and voice) to your client. You are writing for your client but you are you.
b. You disappear, you use your skill set and you present your client as if they are writing.
Realize the difference between the two and focus on what you are really good at.
26:24 Focus! Be your own best ambassador in terms of your skills, ideas, insights and voice.
We should always be aware that when we write something, there always a risk to be broad and lose focus. That should be avoided. Focus! That creates greater value and allow the reader to read you. That takes a little bit of discipline, be yourself, be your own best ambassador in terms of your skills, ideas, insights and voice.
27:40 Abstract layers of visualisation (a question by Michel Reibel)
We need to create a clear picture as possible, we shouldn’t expect people to do the hard work. The content has to be part of an overall structure. There has to be that kind of vision which lead to that kind of visualization. In order to create a granular picture of something through content you need to have that picture in your head.
29:40 Beyond keywords and the web-like structure of meaning
We know keywords are not that, what we mean is the relatively abusive and not very clever practice has really no meaning. Certainly we should be aware of keywords, but not enslaved by them. Inevitable keywords will appear, and even if they don’t it’s ok. Use keywords in a natural flow, don’t use them artificially.
31:21 What a Bonsai has to do with content writing? [Spoiler: We can’t force content to be amazing. It’s a gradual process]
The Bonsai grows at its own pace, but more than that it’s a gradual way of shaping the tree. Why? Because all the thinking and the shaping will work or not if somebody looks at it and say: “Wow!”. We can’t force content to be amazing. It’s a gradual process
This “Wow!” comes when the content you create directly, easily, quickly answers the user’s questions and perhaps gives them a little bit more than they expect. And that doesn’t come easily.
32:32 Good content takes time
It takes time to get familiar with your audience, to be familiar with yourself and your skill set. it takes time to build expertise in your subject.
32:50 Writing as processing
Writing is a way of processing information, linking things up, looking at things in a more abstract way that always allows you to understand more.
33:18 Is creating personas old-fashioned?
Perhaps it’s OK to start with an idealized version of who are are talking to, but with time you really need to create a more granular picture of who this person is.
35:35 How do you create that granular picture of the people you are connecting with?
We are in a social web. Roles here (content consumer, content creator) are interchangeable. You can get a clear idea about what is important for the person that is sharing your content. You need to get into a conversation directly with your audience
37:05 Meaning emerges
We know, as content creators, the stuff we create does not always have exactly the same meaning for the people who read it. Because for meaning to emerge it requires the same: filters, context, awareness, culture. And in a global setting these are hard to come by. And there’s nothing wrong. This is part of the ongoing conversation.
38:32 Meaning is a potential to be unlocked
The best kind of writing sometimes is the kind of writing that has that multi-layered structure in it that allows it to mean slightly different things to slightly different people. Take Alice in Wonderland as an example.
39:26 It’s hard to create multi-layered content every time, but if we try to make the content as rich as possible, that’s always a win.
39:46 Should content writers should learn from magazine editors?
If we look at the way a magazine or a newspaper article is structured, we realize that a lot of skill and work is going into them. We should be approaching things in the same way. The content you generate as an individual should be similar to that complexity to the greatest extent possible. You shouldn’t just throw 1000 words in a post and expect to have impact.
41:31 An outline or a flow? (a question by Gideon Rosenblatt)
“When you’re writing a new piece, how often do you start out with an outline and already know your conclusions, and how often does it just evolve as you write it? ”
Realistically every article starts with an outline whether it’s in your head or written down. Both approaches require discipline and respect for you reader.
43:06 Make sure things actually work
Write for the reader, write to get the message across
44:08 Meaningful content writing and online visibility
Why should anyone read what you say? Let’s say we have telepathic powers, we would be looking at people’s minds. When we read people, this is what we are doing. We are looking at the way they are thinking, what they have to say.
Meaningful writing for the web has to do with value, uniqueness, insights and connected dots.
45:40 Your writing has to do something very specific and resonate with people in a very specific way. If it does not it’s just words on the screen.
47:40 *How can digital identity and marketing intent can be brought to companies and authorities, politicians? (a question by Michel Riebel)
Everything we discussed today about content writing comes down to trust and to the question “Why?” Why would somebody engage with you? Why would I listen to you?
When we deconstruct our personal relationships we see that we have gone to some extent to establish a commonality which allows the communication to take place and further to establish trust.
50:55 When you create content, from a company’s perspective, it’s creating that initial stage of the relationship building process with your audience.You need to say: “We want you to make this easy, we want to help you, we want to help you get this done.”
And every bit of visibility should get this particular message across!
51:45 Expertise and authority
You get to trustworthiness through expertise and authority, and to them you get through the gradual, granular creation of content. And to that you get through a clear understanding of what a company does and why it does it.
52:16 There’s no shortcut to building trust
Building trust is a gradual process. You can’t have it tomorrow.
54:28 And the closest to a shortcut is?
The closest we can get to a shortcut in terms of authority, expertise and credibility on the web is Hangouts on Air. Because here communication happens on many levels.
56:08 Be yourself
On the web, be yourself. You need to be as open and authentic as possible. Just be human. Yes, you are working, but you are also a person. And this is where you connect on a real level.
Thank you David Amerland! And thanks everybody from the audience for the questions and the wonderful comments here: https://goo.gl/k1KUbF