Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler
One of the reasons English lends itself so well to poetry – and also why it’s so difficult to learn – is the way it shoehorns multiple meanings into its bald Anglo-Saxon monosyllables. Take ‘fit’, for example. Just three letters, yet it takes up a good page of my dictionary. And what’s interesting is that so many of its shades of meaning are so pertinent to the creation and publication of content.
So are YOU fit to publish, in every sense of the word?
1. fit (adj., of a thing) ‘of a suitable quality, standard or type to meet the required purpose’
Is your content good enough? We are all afloat on an ocean of undifferentiated content, and more is pumped out every day: what sets you apart is quality. Think about what you’re saying; the message itself needs to be good, it goes without saying, but think too about how you’re saying it – check your facts, check your spelling, polish your prose, take some pride.
2. fit (adj., of a person) ‘having the requisite qualities or skills to undertake something competently’
Are YOU good enough? This is the age of the ‘I believe I can fly’ meme, but quite frankly if I’m going to get in an aircraft I like to know the pilot has the relevant experience and qualifications, not just an unshakeable belief in himself. You earn the right to be listened to.
3. fit (adj., of a person) ‘in good health, especially because of regular physical exercise’
I came up with the idea for this blog on a run yesterday. Which is no big surprise: I get most of my best ideas while I’m running. Mens sana in corpore sano and all that. If your creativity has done one, try lacing up your running shoes and getting outdoors. And sadly, like getting and keeping fit, good content is an ongoing commitment. It takes time and headspace not once a month but on an almost daily basis, although just as with exercise there are more and less effective ways to get maximum benefit from minimum time (talk to me if you want to know more!), and what you consume is vitally important: you can’t put out good content if you’re not taking in mentally nutritious stuff too, keeping up to date with your field, staying curious.
4. fit (adj.) ‘attractive, good-looking’
It’s a visual world. Pretty up your message – add a picture to make it easier to share or pin, add an infographic if you have the time/skill/energy, brush your hair and get on video, pay a designer to get a really eye-catching book cover or page design.
5. fit (vb.) ‘be the right shape and size for’
Twitter 140-character limit enforces pithiness. Most other channels are more forgiving, and require you to impose your own limits. There’s a sliding scale from the tweet on the one hand to the deep-dive online course and book on the other, with scope for pretty much everything in between. Einstein had it right: things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. Just as we design websites that adapt to different screen sizes, use the array of channels at your disposal to craft messages the right length, tone, depth and modality for each.
6. fit in (vb.) ‘be in harmony with other things within a larger structure’
That range of messages for the different channels? That’s also known as a content strategy. Which is part of your wider business strategy. Be clear on how the messages fit together and reinforce each other, and how the whole content piece fits with and builds your core business activities.
7. fit out (vb.) ‘provide with the necessary equipment, supplies or other items for a particular situation.’
What does your content do for your readers? Make them think? Make them feel? Make them laugh? Help them solve their problems? We’re all in this together – make your content helpful, stimulating, entertaining, and you earn your place in the network of trust that makes it all possible.
So, are you ready to get – and stay – fit? It’s my job as a content and publishing coach to get you into the best shape of your life, get in touch and let’s get started!