by Alison Lueders
Last month, I enjoyed Gazalla Gaya’s post listing 4 keys to quality content:
- Simple to understand
It’s a short, memorable list that’s easy to use in practice.
As I write for my clients on sustainable business issues, I realize that there are 4 more qualities that I try to incorporate in my content. They are:
- A positive tone. There are plenty of climate change stories that are full of gloom and doom. They are accurate, but it’s hard to take a steady diet of “hell and high water.” Understanding the facts is essential, even if they are gloomy. But if I must write about gloomy facts, then I go to some trouble to share information about successes and progress being made. There is actually quite a bit of good news, if you look.
- Action-based information. With green issues in particular, it’s easy to overwhelm people with both the size of the problems and the multitude of possible solutions. No one can put out the Colorado wildfires or stem sea level rise singlehandedly. So I include simple actions that people can take to move in the right direction. The old proverb, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” underlies this approach. People feel better if they know what to do about a situation.
- More story-telling. In business, there is sometimes a bias towards “just the facts, ma’am” writing, and that’s appropriate in some contexts. As I work with clients, it often makes more sense to tell the stories of their green and sustainable businesses in a less formal way. Well-told stories can grab attention, make a business concept concrete, and win over customers who recognize themselves in the stories of these entrepreneurs.
- A global view. Sustainability issues affect everyone, whether they know it or not. So I explicitly link local business stories to national and international trends. It broadens people’s perspectives, lets them know they are not alone, and offers valuable information they might otherwise miss in the press of everyday business.
Do these attributes resonate with you? Do you have an explicit content quality checklist to which you adhere?