7 Tips on How to Create Content for the Social Web

Creation, consumption and access to content and information has changed so much in the last decade that the landscape is not able to be recognised.7 Tips on How to Create Content for the Social Web

Paper has been replaced by software and media is now residing on computers disguised as phones.

Books are now ebooks, newspapers are websites and Twitter feeds and content are created by writers disguised as bloggers who publish without an editor to be seen.

We read and view on smart phones and tablets. These did not exist a few years ago.

Seldom do we deep dive and spend hours in a book but read a blog post and consume in bite size chunks. Our knowledge consumption is dominated by snack packaged content that we skim and scan.

Vast libraries of books that weighed tonnes are now loaded on our Kindles, Nooks and iPads that we carry in our hand and access anytime, anywhere.

Content creation needs to adapt

Our changing habits, new media preference and content consumption platforms demand a different way of thinking and practice if we want to maintain relevance in a digital world.

How you create content has to adapt to this new environment.

Long form needs to be made into short formats. Big blocks of text need to be broken up. Don’t like reading?…. well now you can watch a YouTube video.

More choices, more information that is fun to read and view.

7 tips for creating engaging content

So what are some tips and tactics to keep in mind when writing a blog post, creating a website or designing a video or other multimedia to achieve attention and engagement.

1. Simple

My cousin used to accuse me of using big words. He was right. It only confuses people. The curse of knowledge means that a subject we know can include acronyms and unintelligible words for the beginner. You need to be reminding yourself and on the lookout for not trying to be too clever or smart and hence leave our audience behind. One syllable words can be much more effective than three or four.

2. Headlines

You only have seconds on the web before people click away. Learn the art of attention seeking first to ensure the reader and viewer will want to read the rest. This also applies to the introductions to the article. When you do a Google search you see the headline and a description. Both of these are important in that order. Titles to videos, Slideshare content, images and tweets are also in this mix.

3. Structure

The title has made your reader turn up…. now the challenge is keeping them engaged. No walls of text please. Short paragraphs of 2-3 sentences and subtitles that draw them in like a magnet are vital. The other content tactics include keeping it snack size and use bullet points and lists. By lists, I mean doing what is in this post “7 Tips

4. Conversational

Society is moving from formal to informal. We still wear suits but only for special occasions (unless you’re a banker or a lawyer). Writing is also part of this culture trend. Write how you speak and you will have a better chance of getting readers to come back. Conversational writing is seen as authentic and real.

Forget stuffy.

5. Stories

Want to make a point?… use a story. Your reader will remember the story as it will touch and stir their emotions. Using it in the introduction can be very effective.

6. Multi-media

Create content and make it into a variety of media. Nothing stopping you taking a written article and repurposing it into a video, slideshare presentation, podcast, a transcript or even an infographic. We all have different preferences for media consumption.

Be inclusive and you will reach a larger and wider audience.

7. Responsive

Our web viewing was dominated in the past by computer screens. Some were 13 inches and others were 15.  With reading often being spent with a mobile in your hand or even a 32 inch high definition widescreen at your desk, making websites and blogs that “respond” to different screen sizes so it is easy to read and view no matter what device you are using is becoming essential.

This is called “Responsive” design and templates for WordPress blogs and websites should be considered and are now readily available.

Time to update your website or blog?

Here is a place to learn how to create content

Learning to adapt to these changes requires education and you can teach yourself or you can be guided. One I have been checking out and reviewing is a free educational website called Open2Study, which offers a course called “Writing for the Web

It includes 4 modules covering these topics:

  1. Why writing for the web is different – This topic takes a closer look at what I touch on in my tip on structure
  2. Characteristics for good content – This module takes a deeper dive in regards to my tip on multi-media
  3. Writing effective content – Structure that I mentioned in tip #3 is an important part of this module
  4. Looking after your content – This looks at things like the importance of search engines and maintaining your content which goes beyond my 7 tips mentioned in this post.

In total there are 38 videos that walk you through the basics. My experience taking this online course was the following

  • It’s easy to use
  • Guides and reinforces with simple quizzes
  • Assessment at the end of each module allows you to gauge your understanding
  • Very professional video production with great sound clarity

There are a couple of suggestions I would make that I think would make this online education series have broader appeal. Also repurpose the content into a podcast (so I could listen to it in the car or even in the Gym) and possibly provide a transcript in a PDF format for those that love to read rather than just view.

The next intake of students for Open2Study is on July 1. I would recommend it to anyone who is new to writing for the web and wants to learn how to create and write optimal content for the web whether that is a blog or a website. It’s also free!

What about you?

How have you adapted to the rapid evolution of the web. Do you have an iPad or Kindle? Do you read ebooks. Have you had to rewire your content creation habits.

Look forward to your insights and feedback in the comments below.



Want to learn more on how to create great content for your blog and the social web?

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 162,000.

Download and read it now.

Image by Shutterstock


  • Craig Badings

    Jeff I still think the one thing above all else is the quality of your content. If you can produce useful, new, insightful content that drives to the very heart of your audience’s main issues and challenges you are going to rise above the rest.

    Too much of what we see online is regurgitated content with a bland sameness because most corporates are so risk averse they don’t want to rock the boat. Want your content to stand out? Then make it bold, say something controversial, stimulate or frame a debate – that’s what gets the content juices flowing.

    Oh and then use all your wonderful tips to share it widely…

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Craig for the insights.
      Quality content stands out. Learning to do that takes time, and persistence It is also requires extensive reading both within your industry and from other inspiring sources.
      If you want to create great content “read a lot”

      • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

        Constant reading and applying are amazing helpmates.

        • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

          Thanks for that insight DS
          We now live in an age of constant learning and life is the richer for it.

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    Yes, my reading has increased since starting to read on the iPad 3 with its very sharp screen.

  • Robert H Hernandez

    Thank you for posting this, new I have more of an understanding of what I need to do in order to be more effective.

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Look forward to hearing about your future success Robert :)

  • http://jessicaknapp.org/ Jessica Knapp

    I have used an eReader and other forms of digital media. It occurred to me that the issue with new media, such as eBooks, is in finding a way to still enjoy autographs. That’s until recently. I was on Goodreads and recognized that an author is using authorgraph. Digital is very much a chameleon. I’m taking note on the rest because I’m considering a Blog of my own.

  • ljhughes8

    thank for the tips.

  • http://www.twentylys.com/ TwentyLYS

    As always to the point. Nice tips and another reference site, good one. One point to mention though, although people read including myself on phones to tablets, i still believe that for deep works like research paper, people still do print and highlights the important sections. Books might very well be obsolete in few years.

  • http://casasana.org/ Casa Sana

    These are some really useful tips, especially for those nonprofits such as ourselves who have stories to tell, and need to grab attention above all the other noise.

  • http://www.clippingpathoutsource.com/ Cpo Experts

    it’s really helpful who learn website content…

  • http://whoischristopherthompson.com/ Chris Thompson

    Hi Jeff, These tips are really helpful. I’m glad that I found this article, you highlightened great points here and also you shared some useful stuffs. Thanks for sharing Surely I will suggest this :)