How to be a rockstar blogger: part 4

What is the best form of content?

I’m an author and a writer and I love the power of the written word, as such I find it reasonably easy to create content, write new books and add blog posts.

It would be easy for me to assume that my audience is similarly inclined and that all I should prepare is more and more written content. This is a fallacy though and once again we need to out ourselves into the ‘it’s not about me’ mindset.

Everyone has preferences when it comes to what they like to interact with. For some it will be the written word in the form of books, articles, magazines, and online written content; others may prefer to have the words spoken to them and many more will prefer to see things in little video clips or pictures.

We all have a mix of these preferences and the dominant one is going to be determined in every instance by what we are doing at the time rather than by the subject. For instance, how do you know when cream is whipped to perfect peaks if you haven’t seen it before? A video or picture that shows the perfect state for cream would be ideal in this situation, and it may sit alongside a written recipe.

We also can’t assume that there is a definitive level of knowledge and understanding. Writing and talking as you might speak, in a conversational tone of voice is probably going to be easier for the vast majority to understand than the formal language of many books.

In the past, I have decided to update various websites. As part of the process, I asked the users what, if anything, was missing. I received some very interesting responses back, including a request for more videos and pictures of the operation itself. On the old hysterectomy association website the women requesting this content acknowledged it might be a bit ‘gruesome’ but that they really wanted to understand what was being removed and from where. That got me thinking about how I could persuade a friendly gynaecologist to video the procedure but ended up making do with YouTube.

If you want to create videos to share information, you could use Camtasia which is the software I use. I like Camtasia because it allows me to create videos from PowerPoint which is my preferred presentation format. Alternatively, you could use one of the freely available online video creators such those recommended by YouTube at youtube.com/create. If you have a webcam on your computer and you’re feeling brave enough, you could also record yourself talking straight to camera and then convert the file to something that YouTube accepts through masher.com and you’re done.

To share the spoken word you will need at least a set of headphones and a piece of software like audacity which is free to download from audacity.sourceforge.net/. Once you have recorded your voice you have the makings of a podcast and it’s simple enough to upload it to your blog with a simple ‘click here to listen’ link.

It’s worth remembering you don’t actually have to do it all yourself. For instance, there are probably great videos available from Vimeo or YouTube that might interest your visitors; podcasts you could recommend or embed or even PowerPoint presentations and PDF’s on Slideshare? The trick here is to intersperse your own content infrequently because if you post too much content from other places the search engines won’t like you and your audience will wander off there instead.

NB: this series of blog posts originally appeared on my LinkedIn profile

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