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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNIE

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There’s someone who I like to keep by my side in times of need.

When imagination threatens to desert me, my writer’s block seems permanent and English has apparently ceased to be my native tongue.

Meet ERNIE.

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to it all or an established old hand.

If you want to remember what makes good content, just think about ERNIE.

I’ll cut to the chase.

It’s an acronym.

But it’s helpful.

So, good content is…

Engaging

Definition: Occupying or attracting someone’s attention

In other words, content that gets noticed. It might look good or sound good. It might make an extra effort to be in the right place at the right time. And once it’s spotted, it holds people’s attention. This is most definitely not bland, boring content that’s plonked in a corner of a website somewhere to be ignored and forgotten about. It’s keen to be seen. No wallflowers need apply.

Relevant

Definition: Appropriate or connected to the matter at hand

Apologies for the generalisation but over 75s may not be that interested in content about extreme mountain biking holidays. Meanwhile, teenagers may not be that bothered about content that talks about potential retirement destinations. Producing content that lacks relevance to the audience is a crucial trap to avoid yet one that can be surprisingly easy to stumble into if you don’t do your homework beforehand.

New

Definition: Not existing before

New ideas, new angles, a new way of expressing something. It could even be a new soundbite such as “Useful five-letter-acronym helps to form basis of good content.” Tell people something new. Is there anything you can say about a subject that hasn’t been said by someone else before? Is there a different angle and or creative slant that can be applied? Or perhaps more original subject matter? Questions, questions…but quite important ones.

Informative

Definition: Providing useful or interesting information

Both relevant and new will give you a good head start when it comes to creating informative content. Tell me something I don’t know and why I need to know it. For example, did you know that, according to HubSpot, 43% of people admit to skim-reading blog posts? You wouldn’t dare though eh?

Entertaining

Definition: Providing amusement or enjoyment

It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood blockbuster (and you’ve only got 0.001% of the budget in any event). There isn’t a requirement to indulge in constant side-splitting anecdotes. And it might be easier on video that in a static infographic. But if your content is enjoyable to read, watch or whatever, your audience will be in a better place.

So there we have it.

ERNIE.

Not just “the fastest milkman in the west”(alternatively, ask your parents grandparents).

It’s also a new way to remember the elements that make up good content.

Keep him handy.