I regularly read Olivia Mitchell's posts, as she provides a steady stream of valuable tips for strengthening presentations. Many of her suggestions can be applied to all types of content assets. Here are a few recommendations marketers can put to immediate use.
1. Crafting the title – Just as the title of a presentation can determine how many people sign up for your session or webinar, the title of your white papers, eBooks, case studies and other assets will impact the number of downloads. Olivia provides useful advice for crafting a title that grabs attention.
2. Choosing your key message – With any content assets, you need to decide on your key message before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). To make sure your message resonates with the audience, it needs to address their concerns or interests. Check out Olivia's post for step-by-step guidance on how to craft a memorable key message in 10 minutes.
3. Avoiding information overload – Many marketers try to convey far too much information in a single content asset. It's almost as if they think they'll never get another opportunity to "interact" with the prospect. Olivia explains why this is a huge mistake and offers suggestions for keeping the message simple while encouraging the prospect to stay engaged after consuming your content.
4. Keeping attention – Whether you're asking prospects to invest the time to attend a 60-minute webinar or read an 8-page white paper or 15-page eBook, you better make it worthwhile. And you better do all you can to keep them engaged. Olivia offers a range of advice on keeping attention, including focusing on your audience's interests (reinforcing #2 above). Here are a few more points from her post:
- Explain why your audience should listen. In the case of written content, this is where you'd spell out who the piece is intended for and what they can expect to get out of it.
- Don't make it too easy or too hard. You want your readers (or webinar viewers or podcast listeners) to lose themselves in your content. Getting them to that state requires that you provide enough information that they can relate to (i.e., reinforces their current knowledge) along with new information that makes them feel they've gotten value from your content.
- Change how you grab attention. Olivia talks about how physical space, slide content, and speaker pacing can impact the ability to keep the audience's attention – and how important it is to build in breaks. You can translate this to written content by considering formatting – breaking up paragraphs with bulleted lists, graphics, and call-outs. In fact, you can embed videos directly into eBooks to offer the reader a really interesting pause from reading your copy.
- Keep it short. Remember, everyone is challenged for time these days. Whenever possible, trim your copy. If a visual can replace a few sentences, use it to convey your point. If you can get across the key points in 5 pages instead of 8, do so. If you can break your white paper into a series of papers, go for it. Your prospects will be more likely to read a paper that's 5 or 6 pages than one that's 15 pages. The added benefit for you is that your series provides great lead-nurturing content that will keep prospects engaged over time.
Know of additional presentation best practices that can be applied to other content assets? We're all ears!
About the author: Stephanie Tilton is a content-marketing consultant who helps B2B companies craft content that nurtures leads and advances the buying cycle. You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.
*Photo credit: Serr Novik