Trust is hard to win and easy to lose – easier than ever, in fact, in today’s world where news travels fast across multiple networks, driven by users, companies and organisations, as well as traditional publishers. 

Monitoring social media is now a full-time job for brands. But just reacting to events is no longer enough. Investing in digital communications to help build trust is crucial to any marketing strategy. 

The importance of this to brand guardians is highlighted in a recent piece of social listening research we carried out at Formative Content.

Chief marketing officers and comms bosses, the research reveals, regularly use the keyword “trust” when tweeting about content.

Why trust matters

Other research, too, shows that trust isn’t just a big concern for brands – it’s also a big opportunity.

According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, people trust businesses more than they do governments and the media. Almost three-quarters of people are worried about fake news, but a similar proportion look to company CEOs to take leadership on important issues.

So organisations have a chance to step into the void created by a lack of trust elsewhere. And the content they put out on social media will play a key part in this.

What’s the secret?

Creating content that builds trust requires a focus on quality and authenticity.

“Write about what you know” is the advice often given to budding novelists and it’s even more true for businesses. Companies that produce blogs and videos about things they understand are much more likely to be considered genuine sources of useful information.

Messages should articulate the views of the organisation with clarity. And, of course, honesty is a given – pretending to be something you’re not is likely to have the opposite effect to that you intended. 

Find the emotion

The most successful content makes a connection with the person reading or watching, and central to this is acknowledging that person is human. 

As I write in my forthcoming book on brand journalism, it is a mistake to ignore the emotional side of business communications.

Marketers and comms professionals all too often think that’s just for consumer brands.

People want to feel an affinity with anyone they’re buying from and trust is imperative in building that relationship. But you can’t just communicate and expect to get attention.

To be effective, content needs to embody the qualities that make the best journalism compelling. It must be relevant, reliable and credible. It needs to keep the reader engaged and offer a fresh perspective on an issue the audience cares about. 

The value of trust

In short, your content needs to deliver real value. If it does, it will help grow meaningful and enduring relationships with your audiences. Over time trust will grow, and in turn give a tangible boost the brand.

Marketing expert and author Michael Brenner says people want to learn new things, and expert thought leadership builds trust. He cites the example of consultancy Capgemini, which created a corporate storytelling website to showcase the talents of its consultants.

The initiative delivered nearly one million new visitors to its brand website and attracted more than 100,000 new followers to the firm’s LinkedIn page, as well as 1.8 million shares of their content. 

A boost in trust can directly impact on a company’s bottom line, according to a recent Accenture report

“In this age of transparency, how a company does things has become equally important to what it does,” says the report. 

“Companies need to very intentionally create a culture of building, maintaining and preserving trust, and bake it into their DNA, strategy and day-to-day operations.”


Lessons in content marketing: Why your ‘why’ should come before your ‘what’

Consumer trust and digital skills will be key to business success in post-Brexit Britain


If you would like to know more about how Formative Content has helped build trust amongst client audiences, please email

About the author: Gay Flashman is the CEO and founder of Formative Content. In April, she was named in Thrive Global’s Top Female Creatives of 2019 list. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Updated on 27th February 2020.

It achieved over 1.5 billion downloads from the App Store and Google Play in 2019 and is more popular than LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat. It’s active in 155 countries around the world and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Its name is TikTok and it bills itself as the “destination for short-form mobile videos”.

But should B2B marketers be taking note? Especially following the monumental success experienced by outlets such as the World Economic Forum, who recently garnered over 3.5 billion views of one of their TikTok hashtags at this year’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

What is TikTok?

Beginning life in Asia and then launched in 2017 by ByteDance for markets outside China, TikTok is the way for primarily teens and Generation Z to engage with each other through music, dances and videos lasting between 15 and 60 seconds. 

Now though, global news organisations such as The Washington Post and NBC News have joined the platform. Consumer brands such as Burberry and Calvin Klein are on board and even sports teams such as Liverpool Football Club are using TikTok to generate content aimed at raising brand awareness amongst a younger audience, in a way that resonates with them.

The question is: how can B2B brands harness TikTok’s power? Is it just a brand awareness tool? Or is there more to it?


Not everybody seems to be convinced. According to some, B2B marketers were safe to ignore TikTok in 2019 and possibly forever. This is unsurprisingly down to the young audience, clique-like nature and time restrictions on message delivery.

Whilst the demographic at the moment sits in the 16-24 range, the older generation is expected to arrive in due course, as happened with Facebook. So arguably, now is the time for businesses to invest in TikTok and establish a following through expressive and compelling content that explores what makes them fun and interesting. 

Think of it in the same way many B2B businesses conduct themselves on Instagram – using the network to share captivating, cultural content. Instagram began as just a way to share pictures with friends, and now there are more than 25 million brand accounts that regularly connect with and, most crucially, sell to their audience. 

TikTok has a long way to go, though.

With its young userbase, the decision makers just aren’t there yet, so there’s not much for B2B brands to market to – and there really is no way to tell when they’ll show up. 

By the time they’re in senior level roles, will TikTok still be around? Just look at the demise of MySpace and Bebo.

There’s also a pertinent question B2B brands will have to ask themselves – do they want to create a new innovative side to the business, without jeopardising their authenticity and integrity? Do they want to completely shift their tone of voice? 

If the answer’s yes then brands have got to be willing to experiment and test new ideas fully knowing they may fail. This could put off a lot of well-established corporate players.

Waiting game

So why, then, has The Washington Post taken the gamble and joined in the first place?

Dave Jorgenson, the driving force behind the Post’s TikTok page, said: “The long-term plan has always been that we’d use this as we use any other platform. [Someday we will] post news in the way that reflects the platform. [Right now the plan is to] jump in and be part of the fun.”

Jorgenson, who primarily serves the newspaper as a producer and editor in the Creative Video team developed a seven-page proposal for his bosses – and they approved his plans. 

Clearly, The Washington Post is confident in TikTok’s future. But it does have the advantage of being able to wait a decade or so to see if it brings in readers in the future. 

TikTok is also currently in the very primitive stages of allowing brands to advertise on the platform, so this could be another route in. However, it circles back around to that key factor of who the brands would be advertising to.

It seems that, for the short term at least, TikTok might not be the best place for B2B brands to be advertising. Building brand awareness is apparently the strategy for those already there, but any selling is going to have to wait a while.

It’s likely that we won’t see a flood of B2B activity on the platform until one of the key players takes the plunge and joins the game, giving onlookers the chance to analyse their performance. Who, if anyone, will be the first to take a step into the unknown? 


4 steps to building your business a better Instagram strategy

10 common social media myths busted


If you would like to know more about how Formative Content can optimise your social media strategy, please email

About the author: Seb Budd is the Social Media Executive for Formative Content. He is responsible for planning, executing and driving the social media and blog content for the company. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

Why are you reading this? Your purpose, we’re guessing, is to find out more about content marketing and because that catchy headline piqued your interest.

But do you know why your clients and their audience would read anything you create? 

Tim Williams, CEO of Onalytica, says people aren’t interested in ‘what’, they want ‘why’. 

Speaking at a session on influencer marketing at B2B Ignite at the Business Design Centre in London, he said that as marketers we should be asking ourselves ‘why will people want to read this?’ ‘Which pain points am I addressing?’ 

If you can’t think of any, how can you be sure there are any? Maybe it’s a sign to re-evaluate what your audience needs from you.

Whys matter

Let’s dig a bit deeper into this why question.

Simon Sinek, author and TED Talk(er) extraordinaire, developed the ‘Golden Circle’ concept to explain how businesses can differentiate themselves and build their value proposition.

His theory goes that if a business strategy starts with the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’ or the ‘how’, your message will carry much more meaning. He says: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

The Golden Circle

Sinek uses tech-giants Apple as a perfect example of a brand whose philosophy begins with ‘why’ – challenging the status quo, thinking differently. The ‘what’ – making computers – is almost irrelevant.

The same principle can be applied to content marketing. 

People first and foremost, want to know why your content will help them achieve their goals, not what it is.

Take a step back to think about what the ‘why’ of your content is and then lead your copy with it. People will take much more notice of it when you address the issue straight away. Why should they read on? The ‘how’ and the ‘what’ then follows.

You’ll quickly see that if you can communicate the core purposes of your content before anything else, the trust between you and your audience will grow and solidify. People buy from people, and if you can embody the same fundamental beliefs as your market, you’ll see that trust blossom.

How to communicate purpose

Forbes identified three effective methods for communicating purpose. They are: 

  1. Challenge vs Overwhelm
  2. Clear but unfinished
  3. Repercussions and rewards

Starting with Challenge vs Overwhelm, content needs to excite people and challenge them to stretch themselves to be a greater version of themselves. However, we mustn’t overwhelm them with unachievable goals, unmanageable expectations or statistics that scare the reader. Inspire hope, don’t instil fear.  

The goal with the second point here is a little harder to define. It’s important to outline a clear direction for your reader in which to propel themselves, but with flexibility on the route to get there. Forbes describes it as the ‘fine line between governance and guidance’. 

Ultimately our content should be sparking an image of a company where processes are streamlined, productivity is increased and ROI is greater. However, every client is different and has their own USPs, so it’s vital to offer variation in how to achieve their vision.

The third and final method speaks to what energizes people. In a survey of workers, 98% believed meaningful work was ‘important’ or ‘very important’. So it follows that content that carries greater meaning delivers greater rewards and is more likely to be followed. 

In short, people are tired of products. What they’re interested in now is context. A piece of content is nothing without purpose. 

To demonstrate why our content is going to help somebody, we must communicate with honesty and direction. Illuminate all the reasons why this information is key to their success and do it before you try to explain anything else.

Begin with the ‘why’ in everything you do. It’s an unbreakable foundation for success.

Gay Flashman, founder and CEO of Formative Content, is one of just eight women named in the Thrive Global Top Female Creatives of 2019 list.

The list showcases women who are “reshaping the creative space and paving the way for future female leaders to shine and inspire our next generation”. It recognises the importance of the creative industries in helping inspire positive, transformational change. But it also acknowledges there are often barriers to access and progress that women in all business sectors face that their male counterparts do not.

Set up in the UK in 2014 by Gay Flashman, Formative Content has grown at around 70% year-on-year. With an almost 50:50 male-female split at all levels of the business, and a wide spread of ages, the company combines commercial acuity with a flexible and inclusive outlook.

Formative’s list of blue-chip private and public sector clients includes the World Economic Forum, KPMG, Nestlé, Tata Consultancy Services, Microsoft and many others. They have come to rely on the team at Formative for high-quality editorial and visual content that deploys journalistic integrity to support clients’ business objectives.

The team at Formative is made up of journalists who have a depth of high-level editorial experience, from the BBC, Bloomberg, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITN, the Press Association and more.

Featured alongside novelist Candice Carty-Williams, the journalist Marissa Miller, and the actress and activist Jameela Jamil, Gay Flashman said her inclusion was something she was extremely proud of, but which reflects the achievements and contribution of the whole Formative team: “This is fantastic recognition of my desire to build a business that can exceed clients’ expectations by delivering content of the highest possible standards at a speed other agencies struggle to match. But it’s also a huge compliment to the team here at Formative who have taken that vision and made it our reality.”

You’re a sesquipedalianist. And you don’t even know it.

We all like to sound clever. Who doesn’t like to come across as though they understand stuff that other people don’t?

It’s a natural human impulse. It doesn’t make us bad people. But it does make us bad writers.

Take the heading above. Anyone who uses the word sesquipedalianist is clearly hugely annoying because most people obviously have no idea what it means.

A sesquipedalianist is someone given to using long words. And we are all sesquipedalianists. Some of us are just better at suppressing the urge.

As writers who often have to interview specialists to put together accessible, intelligent articles and blogs, we not only have to hold back our own desire to use long words and jargon, we have to hold back theirs too.

And that’s a lot of sesquipedalianism to deal with.

Nanosphere complex

In the 1990s there was a shampoo ad on TV that promised to coat your hair in ‘nanosphere complex’. Which sounds amazing, right? Except that it isn’t a thing. It’s completely meaningless but sounds vaguely impressive (or did in the 1990s).

And that’s how most industry jargon comes across to people on the outside. Apply the nanosphere complex test to everything you write. Does it really mean anything? Do people actually know what you’re talking about? If not, rewrite and repeat the test.

There there are very few things that will kill a reader’s interest as quickly as the use of jargon. It is also a strong sign that the article isn’t very well written

If someone doesn’t understand a term immediately, it will break their concentration, frustrate them and probably make them think that the article isn’t one they’ll be interested in.

We live in a pretty brutal world – there are masses of articles out there vying for readers attention.

Even if you’ve managed to stop someone scrolling, tempted them to click and persuaded them to read, if they have to stop for even a second because they don’t understand something, you’ve lost them and they won’t come back.

Business nonsense

Writing Business to Business blogs it can be tempting to just repeat the jargon used by an interviewee and hope that the reader will understand what is being said.

There are two problems with this.

Firstly, you may not understand the issue properly yourself and as such, you’ve basically got no idea what you’re talking about.   

Secondly, even if you do understand it, you are limiting your readership to people who already know an awful lot about the subject. And most clients will want to extend the reach of their articles far beyond that.

There is very little art in writing a jargon-filled article. Translating a jargon-filled interview is something that takes imagination, patience and brain power.

Our job is to listen, understand and then translate so that the reader doesn’t tadalafil 5mg canada have to.

The Clapham Omnibus

In England, there has long been a notion of the ‘ordinary’ man. Often said to spend a great deal of time aboard the Clapham Omnibus, this chap is a model of intelligent reasonableness.

Journalists are often told to write for this guy. Would he know what they’re talking about?

I don’t spend much of my time mentally ‘shouting sentences’ at someone on the Clapham Omnibus but I do stop to think if my mum would follow what I’m writing. And if she wouldn’t, it gets rewritten until she would.

It doesn’t have to be Omnibus Man or my mum. But everyone needs someone to mentally test their copy against.  

Jargon busting

There are good reasons people use jargon.

It creates a unique mini-language around a particular field of expertise and that helps those within it communicate accurately and easily. But jargon doesn’t travel.

Some people enjoy the exclusivity of sounding knowledgeable about a particular subject. Others are so immersed in jargon they can no longer communicate without it.

Either way, we have to cut through.

When interviewing people as the basis for writing an article or blog post, ask them to explain their work, their view or their thesis to someone who doesn’t work in the industry.

If that’s not helping, ask them to summarise in two sentences or 10 seconds.

Don’t be afraid to politely ask for clarification – “what does that mean in simple terms?” or “talk to me as though you’re explaining it to a 6 year old”.

Trust your gut – if you don’t think you have grasped something, ask again. A small amount of awkwardness in the interview is worth it if it helps you write an article that is clear and readable.

If you’re not getting anywhere, change tack. Ask about something else and then re-ask the question you’re stuck on in a different way further down the line.

Ask the expert to list several elements to the answer – that way they’ll break it down and give you more digestible chunks.

Aim for accessible writing even when you’re covering very complex issues. Write to appeal to everyone interested in current affairs. Don’t assume insider knowledge and don’t patronise either.


And don’t use long words. Unless your audience is replete with sesquipedalianists…


Like this post? Read ‘Why you should be writing for an intelligent goldfish‘.

Keith Breene is a Senior Writer at Formative Content and has 20 years experience as a national journalist and corporate storyteller.

Extracting key information from specialists to create engaging stories and content is what our journalists do best. If you’d like us to help tell your corporate stories, get in touch.

Email: or call our team on 01494 672 122

Formative Content is a UK based content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.


You’ve committed to creating regular content.

You might even have a reasonably stocked content calendar.

But what happens when the content ideas run dry? How do you make sure that you’re providing consistently engaging, quality content?

Your content hub or social media channels will start to dry up if they are left uncared for too long.

Your audiences will get bored and move on.

The good news is that there is a plethora of content out there waiting for you to make use of it.

As trained journalists, we’ve spent decades hunting out stories, chasing down leads and investigating hunches. Now we do this for our clients, to help ensure that they’re bringing their most powerful stories to the fore.

Here are 10 ways you can fill your content pipeline with cut-through content for your business:

  1. Use your subject matter experts. Every organisation has people who know a lot about particular subjects. Using interview techniques, you can extract information that will be of value to your audience and turn it into compelling stories.
  2. Put your people forward. Remember that people buy from people, so it helps to show the human side of your brand by sharing the stories that involve your teams.
  3. Audit your existing content. Not sure you have ‘content’? Think again. Existing assets such as blogs, web pages, FAQs, case studies, sales brochures, whitepapers, presentations, webinars, videos, advertising and any other marketing material all count (phew!). Repurpose this content into other useful forms for your blog,  social media or turn them into infographics.
  4. Look at the numbers. Examine website data with Google Analytics. See what content is most popular, how many clicks articles get, the time spent on them, etc. This can tell you what is working on your buy real clomid site, so you can create more content that hits the mark.
  5. What are people asking you? Use the comments section on your website, the questions your customer service team is asked, the problems your client-facing staff deal with on a day-to-day basis. Find the common problems your clients are facing and solve them. This provides real value.
  6. Use your keywords. There are tools that you can use to research what people are searching for in relation to your product or service. Google’s Keyword Planner tool or Buzzsumo can be used to create content that contains specific and trending keywords. Great content that ticks the SEO box.
  7. Search on social media. Twitter is one of my favourite research tools. Run a hashtag search to find out what conversations are being had in your business area. Use those hashtags to join in the conversation.
  8. Search in other places too. Look at questions posed on Q&A sites, online forums and LinkedIn groups related to your topics. Find the themes and use them to create different forms of relevant content.
  9. Keep a close eye on the competition. Look at what your competitors are posting to determine how you can do things better or differently. You may be able to fill some gaps but remember your content still must reflect your brand values, personality and tone of voice.
  10. Curate quality content. Don’t feel that all of your content should be original and your own. Sharing good quality third-party content is a great way of adding to your content pipeline.


Looking for some help finding the best things to fill your content pipeline? Get in touch today: Email: or call our team on 01494 672 122.

Nowadays, there’s little which doesn’t rely on digital to survive, and indeed, thrive. Corporate events are no different. They no longer begin and end at the venue. And really good event content can help to maintain a digital edge over your competitors. With enough shares and impressions, your event will be a success before it has even taken place, and long afterwards.

Quality content is a sure fire way of reaching your audience in a variety of ways, capturing the insight, energy and buzz of the event. 97% of business event attendees see digital content as a ‘non-negotiable essential’.

Here are five key things to consider when creating content for events:

1. Tie your content to the event. 
For a digital event campaign to succeed, your event objective needs to inform all of your content – whether it’s to unveil a new product, relaunch your businesses brand or bring together clients and prospects. Your content should inform and expand upon the subjects covered in your event, and link back to your business objectives.

2. Create an extensive, realistic content schedule.
What sort of content do you want to create? What do you want to reveal before the event and what highlights do you want to focus on afterwards? Answering these questions will allow you to create a dynamic content schedule that combines pre-written content, live or quick-turnaround blogs and video coverage.

3. Session event coverage.
Live blogs are a great way to remain active on social media during an event. You can analyse what key speakers have said and keep cialis online texas those who couldn’t make your event informed. It also gives you an opportunity to tag speakers on social media which increases the chances of them sharing your content. Read this post for more information on live blogs.

4. Create an event hashtag.
An event hashtag is a guaranteed way to bring traffic to your website. By publicising your hashtag before the event, you can encourage guests to tag you in their tweets at the event. Tweets with one or two hashtags can increase social engagement by up to 100%. Through word of mouth, or word of social media, your event – and, by association, your company – can attract wider and wider circles of attention. You can find out more about using event hashtags here.

5. Don’t let the content suffer.
Once you’ve decided to provide quality content, commit to it. The worst thing for the digital impact of an event is inconsistency. The frequency and quality of content shows your followers how committed you are to the event and the opinions expressed therein.


Looking for more information about creating event content? We have other articles that might help – or, alternatively, please do get in touch to see how our team of journalists can put their reporting skills into practice at your event. Just email enquiries@ or tel: +44 (0) 20 7206 2687

Sam Bridgeworth is a Content Producer in our newsroom.

Formative Content is a UK based corporate content agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients.

Financial services firms boast a wealth of expertise – the problem is that most fall short when it comes to showcasing their knowhow.

Digital communications is an effective tool, but corporate barriers must be broken down for this strategy to flourish.

The companies that are best at getting their message across are those who can create a buzz around the products and services they offer without promoting them explicitly.

The idea is that swerving the so-called ‘hard sell’ and tapping into topical themes instead is more likely to pique the interest of potential customers and clients.

However, this is often easier said than done.

When it comes to the financial services industry, companies must walk a fine line between producing eye-catching content and adhering to strict regulatory requirements.

But with the right approach it’s possible to turn even the most complex business proposition into something that will appeal to everyone, from board-level execs to the man on the street.

Why are financial services firms turning to digital communications?

In highly-commoditised markets like banking and insurance, websites that are designed purely around products and services are becoming a thing of the past. Companies are starting to realise they must offer more if they want to boost brand awareness and convert prospects.

Insurance products, for example, will always be a grudge purchase (who gets excited about shopping for car insurance?!). But with the right messaging it’s possible to drum up interest in the vital role insurance plays in safeguarding the interests of people and businesses.

Fortunately, digitalisation has opened many doors – organisations can now tell their stories on multiple platforms via journalistic-style articles, blog posts and social videos.

What are the obstacles to adopting a digital communications strategy?

Financial services has got a reputation of being slow to react to innovation. This is largely due to the regulatory burden that’s placed on the industry. But corporate culture is also partly to blame.

When it comes to communicating to prospective customers and clients, financial services firms can often get bogged down by organisational silos.

The key is to get board-level buy-in for a digital communications strategy that recognises these issues.

Another stumbling block is style and tone, which needs to shift away from sales language and towards providing informative and personable content that both resonates with prospects and highlights brand values.

Which financial services firms are best at digital communications?

Financial services companies all over the world are beginning to adopt a digital communications approach – although some are better at it than others.

Here are a few stand-out examples of those financial services brands investing in this new type of corporate communication, built on the foundations of targeted conversation and community, rather than traditional PR and marketing messages:

Like this post? Read ‘Why you should be writing for an intelligent goldfish’ for more tips to make complex messages easier to understand.

If you’d like to talk to us about the ways our team of experienced journalists and marketers could transform your digital communications, get in touch: Tel: +44 (0) 20 7206 2687

Callum BrodieCallum Brodie is a Content Editor at Formative Content with years of financial journalism experience.

Formative Content is a UK based corporate content agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients.



Does this sound like one of your company’s straplines?

“Backed by our track record in multi-layer MPLS networking, our NFV/SDN-driven end-to-end solutions enable service innovation from the network edge right to its core.”

If so, you’re clearly in an industry that needs to speak to technical experts.

Whether you’re in IT, telecoms, engineering or finance, your content needs to show potential customers that you know your stuff. If someone Googles ‘multi-layer MPLS networking’ or ‘NFV/SDN’ – or whatever your keywords may be – you want your site to come top of the list.

So, we’re all good with that strapline then? Not quite.

Hook, line and sinker

The problem is, your audience is not just experts Googling your keywords.

While experts are often your first foot in the door with a new client, they are unlikely to be the only influencers and are rarely the final decision-makers.

Whether it’s on the web, via social channels or at events, you need to get your message across to a lot of people who don’t understand your ‘lingo’: marketers, operational staff, procurement professionals, CFOs and even CEOs.

So, in designing your content, your first concern should be to make it appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.

Reel them in

Next, you need to pull those readers in right from the get go.  

In this multi-channel world, our attention span is shorter than ever. Since the year 2000, it has fallen from 12 to eight seconds. That’s an attention span roughly equivalent to that of a goldfish.   

So, the best way of grabbing people’s attention? Keep it simple – no matter how complex your technology. That does not mean that you should dumb down your messages. It’s just a case of delivering them in a way that makes them more accessible to a wider audience.

Will this turn off more technically-minded audience members? Not if it’s done well. Who doesn’t prefer an easy read over a hard one? What’s more, having accessible content doesn’t preclude you from also creating ‘deep dives’ for expert audiences later in the sales cycle. But before you dive, paddle.

What to think about

So how you go about attracting and reeling in those readers? Here are a few tips:

Drop the jargon

When you’ve been in an industry for a long time, using jargon becomes second nature. For many of your audiences, you might as well be speaking a different language. To avoid descending into technobabble, get someone outside your department or even outside the organisation to vet your corporate content – or use an external writer from the outset.  

Take a big picture view

It’s easy to get bogged down in detail, especially if you work with a lot of experts. To show how important a particular technology or concept is, you need to step back and look at the bigger picture.    

For example, a campaign I ran a few years back for a telecom company talked safe order clomid online about helping small businesses grow faster by enabling them to punch above their weight and challenge much bigger competitors. We never mentioned the technology which made it all happen.   

What does it mean to Joe Bloggs?

Even if your business is B2B, your customers will ultimately sell to end-users – whether it’s consumers or businesses. Ask yourself what benefits these people will get?

Instead of talking about your marvellous call centre technology you could focus on how it reduces waiting time for callers – the biggest gripe people have with customer service lines – and how it pushes down costs.

It’s like…

I recently wrote a series of articles on a system for managing, orchestrating and automating telecom networks. Unless this is your ‘patch’, these terms will mean very little. But what if I said that it’s like Windows for telephone networks? All of a sudden, a complex technology becomes something that most readers can relate to.

It brings it closer to home – after all, nearly 300 million people in the world use Windows at work and at home.

Bring facts and figures to life

Facts and figures are important. But use too many and they can be off-putting. It’s important to bring them to life. The global food price index sounds dull, but how about the following intro:

“For those with a sweet tooth, there’s bad news in the latest global food price index. Over the last year, the price of sugar has risen and dropped like the stiff peaks of a perfect meringue.”

Along the same lines, percentages may sound very authoritative, but using ‘a third’, ‘more than half’ or ‘6 in 10’ makes your figures easier for readers to visualise.

Use examples

When you are trying to make something complex easier to understand, examples are worth their weight in gold. What will your product or technology do, in practical terms?

Going back to our original example, what are ‘NFV/SDN-driven end-to-end solutions’ good for? For example, the technology might let more people live-stream a popular concert or football match. This means that everyone trying access the live feed can do so without delays and disruptions, contributing to that all-important customer experience.   

What they need to hear is what it means for their business and to the bottom line.

What do you need to catch a ‘goldfish’? Make it interesting and make it accessible. Whether it’s the CEO or a software developer, they are more likely to relate to your content if you give them an interesting hook.

If you’d like to hear how we can help your business produce journalistic content, get in touch today.

Email: enquiries@ or call our team on 01494 672 122

Andrea Willige is an Account Director at Formative Content, leading campaigns and creating compelling content for our technology clients, amongst others.

Formative Content is a UK based content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.

Most writers know the feeling. You sit down to start your article and five minutes later you’re still staring at a blank page. Don’t panic.

In fact, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve got the first step to writing a successful article just right. You’re thinking about what you want to say. The alternative is to pour a disjointed stream of consciousness onto the page.

It’s nearly 25 years since my tutors at journalism school knocked my writing into shape. Since then the technology used to create and publish content has been through one revolution after another. But those core reporting skills haven’t changed much. Below are seven reporter skills that you can use to create content your readers will find easy to read – and share.

Have an angle

A story without an angle won’t be much of a read. Consider these two headlines.

Artificial Intelligence Will Change the World

Your Next Holiday Flight Could be Piloted by a Robot

The first has no angle and very little appeal to potential readers. The second is a compelling story with a really strong angle on the broad subject area of artificial intelligence. So, focus hard on your angle to give yourself a chance of hooking your audience.

Don’t bury the lead

Begin your story with the newest information written in a sharp, accessible style. Look to answer the basic questions; who, what, why, where and when in the opening two paragraphs of your article. Context and supporting background material can be included later.

Keep it short

The best reporters write short sentences. They also use simple everyday language. They typically  attempt to convey only one idea per sentence.

Your aim is to get the story across in a way that is easy for readers to understand. So, avoid putting obstacles in the way. Keep adjectives to a minimum, avoid flowery prose and lose the Latin phrases. If you are writing corporate content it can be tempting to reach for the thesaurus and include lots of big words to impress your colleagues. It’s likely to achieve the opposite and it will certainly alienate your readers.

Use active sentences

Many people struggle with the concept of the active and passive voice, so forgive me for taking you back to kindergarten for this one.

The first phrase many of us ever learned was “the cat sat on the mat.” It’s language in its simplest form and small children can easily understand it.

Now imagine telling a toddler that “the mat was sat upon by the cat.” It’s a much more difficult concept to grasp. That’s because it’s written using the passive voice.

Active sentences tell us who did what. Grammar buffs will recognise the subject-verb-object construction. The important point is that keeping your copy active makes it much more engaging. It gives clarity to your story and it normally takes fewer words to say the same thing.

Spelling and grammar

A writer’s reputation is grounded in good spelling and grammar. If you struggle with these there are online tools to help you. All computers have a simple spell checker. There are also more advanced online tools like grammarly that check not only spelling but also grammar, readability and other writing errors.

Attribution and accuracy

Unless you are writing a first person piece, there is no room for your own opinion in your copy. The source of facts, figures and quotes should be clear to readers. Make sure the sources you quote are credible. Do not use Wikipedia as a single source. Anybody can edit entries in Wikipedia so the data may not be reliable.

Check that everything in your piece is accurate. Your credibility as a writer depends on getting the facts right. Your company’s reputation may also depend on you getting your facts right. That means your job may depend on you getting the facts right. Check and once you’re happy, check it all again.

Polish your copy

Once you have written and checked your article it’s a good idea to go back and rewrite it. Your first attempt will never reflect you at your most brilliant.

For example, this article has 710 words up to this point. Is that too many?

The great American writer Mark Twain has the answer to that. Back in 1880 he said pretty much all of what I have said above. He used 106 words. I’ll leave you with those.

“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English – it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them – then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”

Letter to D. W. Bowser, 20 March 1880

If you’d like to hear how we can help your business produce journalistic content, get in touch today.
Email: or call our team on 01494 672 122

Simon Torkington is Executive Producer at Formative Content and produces and oversees content production for some of our biggest clients.

Formative Content is a UK based content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.