There are some great guidelines to making content that people actually care about. Curiously these guidelines are centuries older than the internet.
I learned them back in the newsroom days and they’ve underpinned my whole career in copywriting and content strategy.
The principles are the same whether you’re dealing with print, radio, mobile or desktop. That’s because human attention and decision making haven’t much changed since, well pretty much since the advent of the Gutenberg press. Perhaps even since we started telling stories around fires. Of course we now have vastly shorter attention spans, but the fundamental principles of good news or content have always remained the same.
If you can follow these few simple rules, it becomes relatively easy to create stories that people will want to read, hear, watch and even engage with. And over time, you’ll build trust, loyalty, relationships and front of mind awareness when it’s time to buy. And when you layer in the help of certain AI structures, so much of the work is done on autopilot. It’s like painting by numbers, with predictable results just about every time.
Back in my early newsroom days we called them the ‘Principles of Newsworthiness’. Today, we take what worked for broadcast and print and we bring it to the device and screen. Today we call them the ‘Principles of Shareworthiness’.
Content that gets good audience engagement usually has a number of these elements of ‘share-ability’.
Timely  – containing recent information or fresh perspectives. There’s no point addressing issues from last year or even last month if recent events have left that content out of date.
Relevant – being relevant to your audience. This is critical in the digital sphere, with so much information competing for eyeballs and attention. You must be clear on what’s important to your specific target audience or niche – and deliver that consistently.
Factual – we live in an era of ‘fake news’, ‘click bait’ and low quality information. Make sure your content contains accurate, useful – ideally actionable information. Often the most valuable content helps your audience solve a problem, address a pain or achieve an objective.
Proximity – a type of ‘relevance’, content is geographically appropriate. For example there’s little point sharing information about industry changes that only affect one country, if most of your readership don’t live in that country. If you’re writing for a global audience, then share content that is interesting or useful across all countries
Currency – this is similar to timeliness, but it’s really more about context. Making your content ‘current’ means bringing a new perspective or information to the big themes, issues and stories that your audience is likely to be aware of already.
Prominence – this is borrowing relevance and importance by including prominent people or companies in your content. They may be the source of your information or they may be players in the story. These recognised names add to your content’s relevance and currency.
Unusual – when your content is unexpected, it grabs attention and keeps it. There’s a great quote to illustrate this one by famous editor, Charles A Dana, “If a dog bites a man, that’s not news, but if a man bites a dog, that’s news!” Be different.

Personality – One more principle that helps create good content that doesn’t apply to standard news. It comes from a concept called gonzo journalism. This is injecting your own personality into the content. Personality gives your audience something to connect to, something to relate to. Hence the foundation of your brand is to define the brand personality, values and tone of voice. Injecting a feeling of humanity into your content often separates it from so much bland information out there and keeps people looking forward to more.

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