In many different industries, professionals sometimes complicate things when it’s not necessary. Content marketing is no different. Keeping it simple lends itself to more scale – and in many cases better results.
After serving over 10 years in the US military, one of my biggest professional lessons was the “KISS” principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). It has never failed me, and it has been used in many different scenarios – so much so that I have incorporated this principle into my writings and even used it as a basis for teaching older people in the ‘Indiana University Kelley School of Business how to blog for six semesters.
When it comes to content writing and marketing, the KISS principle is broken down into four parts –
- Tell ’em what you gonna tell ’em
- Tell them what you told them you were going to tell them
- Tell them what you told them
- Tell them what to do next
It is the basis of more than 1000 articles written in my career.
1. Tell them what you are going to tell them – “the introduction”
This is the opening of your article, where the author needs to grab attention quickly after hooking it to the title. If a reader can’t get past this stage, chances are they won’t fully engage with the content. This is the most critical of the four parts of the KISS principle of content marketing.
It is in this introduction that the author must present an argument that makes readers want to read. What problem is solved? What’s in it for the reader? If the writer can answer these two questions, and if it’s compelling to the target audience, the first part of this principle is satisfied.
Remember, businesses are in the business of solving problems — basically, that’s what all businesses do. Your content should reflect this.
2. Tell them what you told them you were going to tell them – “the body”
This is where the writer wants to deliver on the promise made in the introduction – if the writer fails to deliver on their promise, the reader won’t be happy and that feeling can be projected onto the brand.
This is also where the author solves the problem and/or proves the argument of the introduction. This section requires clear and poignant evidence, facts or logic.
If it’s valuable to the reader, that person will continue to consume the content. This section should provide value based on what was promised.
3. Tell them what you told them – “conclusion”
In this section, the writer should remind the audience what’s in it for them.
The content should refer directly to the argument or issue mentioned in the introduction. This section doesn’t need to be long and is usually limited to one or two paragraphs.
4. Tell them what to do next – “call to action”
It’s always the writer’s duty to tell readers what to do next. If they take time out of their busy schedules, the writer owes them a next step.
Writers can’t just expect a reader to consume an article and start clicking through to the website to buy or download something. Readers need guidance and advice on follow-up items.
We know that in many of our offices, some of our colleagues like to overcomplicate things, including content marketing. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The KISS principles outlined above provide a good model for producing content – whether it’s blog posts or more advanced content.
A version of this article first appeared on the InPowered blog.