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Ask the expert: what messages inform your content?

In this video, we hear from Hayley Dunlop who creates content as part of her job as a copywriter.
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Hayley Dunlop: I’m Hayley Dunlop. I’m a copywriter for an education charity. And a copywriter means that I am responsible for ensuring that everything we write and produce is as high quality as possible. It would be really impossible for me to write everything. So actually, a really big part of my job is to upscale and enthuse my colleagues across the entire organisation to help empower them to be good writers as well. So that if they are producing great writing, it makes my job a lot easier. The kind of things I write on a day to day basis include things like blog posts, social media posts, speeches for our CEO that subsequently get uploaded to YouTube.
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We write loads and loads of things every single day. And it’s a brilliant job. One of our key audiences are teachers. Teachers are really, really busy. They hardly have any free time during the week. They’re doing really important work. They’re not sat at their laptop. They’re not going to be scrolling through their phone and watching Instagram stories. So what we do is we think, OK, when is this teacher going to be sat down, have a little bit more time to actually pay more attention and to consume something? So we might write something on LinkedIn on a Sunday night, which is when we know that they’re actually looking at that platform.
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It’s really important when you’re writing for a brand or a business to have a distinctive tone of voice. But by tone of voice, what I actually mean is a brand personality. So what is the personality of the brand or business you’re writing for? Is it quirky like Innocent Drinks? Or is it really neutral and serious like BBC News? If you can think of three words that accurately describe your brand’s personality, you can then apply those traits to everything that you write and produce. And once you give your brand or business a distinctive voice, it becomes more recognisable and more memorable, and people are more likely to engage. Humans love listening to stories.
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When they listen to stories, they release a hormone called oxytocin. And this is the human hormone of connection. So if they’re releasing oxytocin, that means they’re connecting with the story. They’re connecting with your brand. They’re connecting with your cause and your work. If you can tell a story, they will remember it. And brilliantly, they will also share it. They might share it to their mum on the phone, or they might share it on social media. They’re kind of doing your work for you. They are spreading your message. Tell a story and you’re more likely to get your content remembered. There are three things I always try and remember when I’m creating content. And that’s to include objects, people, and places.
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These are three things that if you can weave into any piece of content or a story, ideally, it’s going to make it more memorable. So an example is, our CEO was giving a speech in a gallery. I contacted the curator of that gallery to find out what objects and pieces were in that space. He told me about one of his favourite pieces, and I thought, can I connect this to our work? Can I connect this to what his speech is going to be about? I could, and when you make that connection, the story can then naturally evolve from there.
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Objects, people, places are just great things to think about when you’re trying to be creative and come up with memorable content.

As you’ve seen, there are lots of different kinds of online content, and they can be deployed in different ways, for different results.

In this video, we hear from Hayley Dunlop who creates content as part of her job as a copywriter. As you will see, there’s more to creating online content than simply hitting the publish button. An online content professional has to think about content type, tone, timing, audience and platform, as well as the goal or desired objective.

What do you think?

What do you think makes for effective content? Share your thoughts in the Comments section. Think about the ideas that have been covered so far. Can you explain your position using some of this course terminology?
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How to Create Great Online Content

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