Across your company’s operations, you likely consider ways to work more thoroughly and efficiently, from your service to your hiring. Why? Because doing so creates good business. In the same vein, the content experience you create for your audiences should be no exception.
One way to build strong, affecting relationships through the content you share is by prioritizing transparency. An editor’s role in communications is to refine and sharpen content, and ensure transparency. And when removing opaqueness in business, more is better. By opening up the doors and being forthright in your messaging, you can attract like-minded people to your brand while boosting your bottom line.
As you edit content, here are three areas where “more” may be exactly what your content needs:
1. More purpose.
You know the saying, “If you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”? Fortunately, writers and editors have many tools to create content that’s transparent, easy to understand, and goal oriented. One of the strongest tools is defining a solid purpose. To create content that’s clear and direct, you need to know exactly what you’re hoping to say and why.
When you’re editing, the message’s purpose should affect how you approach your content. Is the content trying to explain to newcomers what your organization does? Or maybe you need to encourage current customers to sign up for more services? No matter what you’re trying to say, your purpose should be two-fold: 1) Share the specific product, service, or aspect of your business are you discussing, and 2) Be clear about why your audience should choose your organization. Whether your content is part of a months-long sales campaign or you’re trying to help a client troubleshoot a financial problem, know your goal.
Editors, demand purpose. Look for an informative headline and content that states its purpose in the first 100 words. If you’re still confused after that, your audience will be, too.
2. More consistency.
Consistency in your voice and content experience suggests reliability. And your audience will be able to tell if your content feels consistent or not. So, making sure all messaging aligns is crucial.
Your organization may have multiple content creators, or your blog might feature posts written for both industry insiders and new audiences. For editors, your job is to bring everything into alignment. Depending on the content, you may want to preserve the individual writer’s style — but to support transparency, all content should adhere to your organization’s core values and guidelines. Why? Because transparency hinges on trustworthiness. Messaging inconsistencies in tone and on your values will make it difficult for your audience to trust what they’re reading. And once you lose trust, it can be difficult to win back.
Create an editorial guideline that details your company’s most important tenets and values, including tone and other stylistic standards. Distribute the guide to anyone who creates content, and be sure they understand how to implement those values in their content.
3. More honesty.
Many businesses are afraid of sharing or the less-flattering aspects of their history. But what these companies miss by doing so is a chance to get real and honest with their audiences — all of whom crave authenticity. So, rather than shy away from publicly sharing salary details or owning up to an unfortunate situation, take your stand and share your voice. Your business may take a hit from a scandal, but covering up mistakes or trying to quash negative feedback can destroy your credibility. Transparent content is forthright and doesn’t twist the truth.
Be honest about how you work. Hidden fees and other dishonest practices will be a big turn off for your audience, so aim for openness and honesty in every aspect of your content.
Content editors have the unique responsibility of presenting their organization’s character in writing. As much as possible, that character should be easy to understand and free of obfuscation. By doing so, each and every content piece offers its own opportunity to practice transparency and honesty. When in doubt, add more.