Inside a cave in southern France there is evidence that humans have told stories since the dawn of time.

The Chauvet cave paintings of bears, horses, bison, owls and rhinos are estimated to have been etched on the cave walls between 32,000 and 36,000 years ago, during the Ice Age.

Nobody knows what stories might have been told with these pictures. In fact, you have to fast forward to just 4,000 years ago for the world’s oldest known story, The Epic of Gilgamesh from the ancient kingdom of Mesopotamia in modern-day Iraq.

But what these and countless other cave paintings and fragments of ancient text show us is how deeply storytelling is embedded in our humanity.

Survive and thrive

In his book On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction, University of Auckland professor Brian Boyd argues that storytelling is a human evolutionary adaptation that offers “tangible benefits” for survival.

Just what these benefits might be was recently explored by a team of researchers from University College London.

The researchers studied hunter-gatherer communities in Asia to examine the role that storytelling played in their societies.

In these communities, unexposed to modern-day moralising influences like organised religion, stories are essential for promoting co-operative and egalitarian values.

In a series of experiments, they offered members of the communities an allocation of rice to either keep for themselves or share with others. The more skilled storytellers that there were in the community, the more people were likely to share what they had with others.

Not only do stories help hunter-gatherer communities survive and thrive; the study by the UCL researchers also suggests there are evolutionary benefits to being a skilled storyteller.

When members of the Agta hunter-gather community in the Philippines were asked who they would most like to live with, skilled storytellers were twice more likely to be named than less skilled individuals.

Storytellers were more popular even than the best foragers. They also had greater reproductive success, and were more likely to gain the cooperation of other members of the community.

Corporate storytellers

If storytelling can be linked to basic human needs and desires, then businesses can use stories to better connect with their customers.

Apple is rated among the best in the world at doing this. The technology company recently topped a poll of the UK’s best storytelling brands for a fifth straight year, beating Help for Heroes, a charity for wounded veterans, into second place.

How does a company selling phones and computers make more of a connection with people than a charity telling tales of fallen warriors?

By consistently connecting with its customers at an emotional level.

Storytelling at its best engages hearts and minds. Apple succeeds at doing this by communicating itself as a brand with vision, a brand with purpose.

Apple invites its customers to be part of something bigger than themselves.

That something bigger isn’t just a story: it’s a narrative.

Winning narratives

Apple’s narrative is condensed into the slogan “think different”.

John Hagel, founder of Deloitte’s Center for the Edge in Silicon Valley, says that Apple’s narrative is so powerful because it invites the customer to be part of the story.

It invites the customer to think about the world and technology in a different way.

Hagel defines the difference between a story and a narrative as follows: firstly, stories are self-contained, with a beginning, middle and end, while narratives are open-ended. Secondly, stories are about the storyteller and characters in the story, while narratives can invite you to become part of the story.

As well as highlighting Apple’s success, Hagel also points to Nike as a good example of a brand using a narrative to its advantage.

Like Apple, Nike’s narrative is condensed into a simple slogan: “Just do it”. Hagel says it encapsulates the start of a journey, “the quest to become your personal best”.

Unsurprisingly, strong narratives and strong brands tend to go together. After Apple and Help for Heroes, the other companies ranked among the UK’s top 10 storytelling brands were all household names with strong identities, ranging from the BBC and the National Trust, to Facebook, Google and Dyson.

Empower your brand

With household names and global brands successfully harnessing storytelling and wider narratives to connect with customers, you could be forgiven for thinking that corporate storytelling is a consumer market phenomenon.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Business-to-business companies need to connect with their customers just as much as consumer firms.

And whether you are global sportswear brand or an IT services provider, you are still, at the end of the day, dealing with humans. Humans who, as the research shows, love stories.

One great example of a B2B company not only telling great stories, but placing them in the context of a wider narrative, is Tata Consultancy Services’ #digitalempowers website.

From smartphone apps helping African fishermen stay safe, to drones helping fight deforestation and save rhinos, #digitalempowers tells stories that together form a narrative showing how digital technology is a force for good in the world.

This narrative tells Tata Consultancy Services’ customers that it is a company committed to growing and improving the ways digital technologies can be used within organisations.

It is just one example of the corporate storytelling that Formative Content delivers for its clients to help them take control of their narrative and better connect with their customers.

Are you in control of your business narrative?

If you’d like us to help you create high-quality content that sets you apart from the competition, get in touch. 

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on +44 (0) 20 7206 2687.

Enjoyed this post? Read How to turn interviews into engaging articles.

 

John McKenna is a Senior Writer at Formative Content and an award-winning business journalist with deep specialist knowledge of energy, infrastructure and project finance.

 

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: office@formativecontent.com 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.

 

We have all seen headlines like the following pop up on our social media feed:

“When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS… I Was SHOCKED!”

“He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe”

“The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.”

These headlines – known as “clickbait” – are designed to pique the reader’s interest without revealing any details of the story, therefore encouraging them to click on the link.

Mercifully, however, the days of clickbait are numbered.

Last summer Facebook announced it was clamping down on clickbait after complaints from its users – the three headlines above are all taken from a Facebook staff blog explaining the changes.

After surveying thousands of headlines, Facebook developed a “spam filter” that blocks articles with phrases commonly found in clickbait headlines from appearing in its user’s news feeds.

Facebook’s main advice to avoid falling foul of the filters and being blocked is the following: “Pages should avoid headlines that withhold information required to understand what the content of the article is and headlines that exaggerate the article to create misleading expectations.”

Instead, Facebook’s advice, unsurprisingly, is to share headlines that inform and set appropriate expectations.

Using emotion to get clicks

While social media networks like Facebook are clamping down on misleading and hyperbolic headlines, this doesn’t mean there are no longer any “tricks” left to help you engage readers.

Research tells us that eliciting emotional responses and establishing emotional connections can significantly boost sales of products, and the same psychology is true of content: emotions are powerful drivers of reader engagement.

Using emotions in your content is different from the use of emotive words like “shocking” and “unbelievable”  seen in clickbait.

Instead, it is about providing a genuine emotional context to the story that your readers can connect with.

For example, in a NewsWhip debate on ‘Building Audiences through Emotion’, Bloomberg Global Head of Audience Engagement, Meena Thiruvengadam, said there are some topics where you should avoid an overly emotional treatment – such as stock prices falling slightly – and others that naturally lend themselves to an emotional context.

“There are some international pharmacy no prescription needed things where there are natural emotional elements like ‘This CEO went from being fired to creating this amazing business empire’,” she says.

“That speaks to aspiration, inspiration, encouragement, motivation and things like that. There it makes sense to bring that out [of the story]. But for something like the monthly job numbers, that’s going to be much harder and you can try to push it too far, which is something we try not to do.”

Reflect your audience and your brand

Writing engaging headlines is clearly a balancing act between arousing enough interest in the reader for them to click on your article, and avoiding being overly sensational.

The key to managing this balancing act successfully is to always keep the reader in mind when writing the story.

Consider what their expectations are of you and your brand, and whether the story itself and its headline reflect and meet those expectations.

For example, in the same NewsWhip debate on emotional engagement, MTV’s Senior Director of News Audience Development, Renan Borelli, says that MTV News readers don’t want political commentary and analysis, and will tell Borelli and his colleagues to “go back to playing music videos” when they try to be political.

“MTV News has been covering politics since Bill Clinton was running for president, so it’s really ingrained in our DNA,” he says.

“But we have found that people don’t want the snarkiness from us. They don’t want these dramatic and bombastic headlines. They just want us to lay things out directly and tell them why it is important.”

The four take-aways from this are:

 

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

John McKenna is an experienced writer at Formative Content and an award-winning business journalist. 

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.

 

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@http://formativecontent.com 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:
office@formativecontent.com 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.

Events are undergoing a profound change, transformed by digital technologies and content like so many other industries. But what does the future really hold, and how can events professionals harness the opportunities presented by these dramatic shifts?

These were the questions we set out to answer at an event in London this morning, The Future of Events: The Challenge of Digital, to coincide with the release of our report of the same name. The session was moderated by Formative Content CEO Gay Flashman with presentations from Jazmin Beale from Olympia London, Una O’Sullivan of KPMG, Lucy Eldred from KNect365 and Joe Edwards of Sage.

One of the key questions surrounding digital content for events is – if you put all of your event content online, won’t delegates be less likely to actually attend?  It’s a moot point, according to Joe Edwards, a comms industry veteran. Whilst the digital toolkit now available to event organisers is the most varied it has ever been, there is still one central purpose of holding an event and that is to network, he said: “People talk about ROI and leads, but one of the most important part of events is connecting people together face to face.”

It was an attitude shared by Una O’Sullivan, who runs a biannual internal KPMG event: “A conference is a social event,” she said. “It’s about getting people talking together.”

Indeed, research conducted by Formative Content for our report shows that almost 50% of those that attend events do so predominantly for the networking opportunities that the event presents.

The key challenges

But of course, you still have to get people to the event in the first place. This was one of the enduring challenges for organisers, according to Jazmin Beale.  Jazmin was perfectly placed to outline the problems faced, given that she stewards 220 events every year at Olympia London, with a combined footfall of over 1.5 million.

The main challenges were threefold, she said. Firstly, driving revenue by getting people to the conferences and getting exhibitors to hire stands; secondly, maintaining the quality and quantity of attendees: “Like any party, the people who attend contribute greatly to the event experience,” she said; and thirdly, the realisation that digital engagement throughout the year encourages repeat attendance and word of mouth referral, and is therefore key to any event.

“Many leading shows are on the journey to become a brand in their own right, and are engaging their industry with great content,” she said.

1610b02_industryexperts_final_approved

How to make digital content work

How are events making digital content work for them? Joe Edwards thinks that organising social media at events is a bit like herding cats, but, that said, it can be done very effectively.

“The most important thing for social, when looking at events: it’s all about increasing awareness – and that has to be emotive, exciting and engaging,” he said. “If I see another video of people walking through doors and vox pops saying how great the conference is, I will shoot myself,” he promised. “It’s got to be done differently.”

Among the more inventive methods Joe said he has used was demonstrating the Internet of Things by having delegates send a tweet with a hashtag and a particular number in order to switch on a lightbulb. The key was to “connect the message of the event to some sort of activation idea within the event,” he said.

Lucy Eldred’s KNect365 Finance runs 48 events under 13 different brands every year, and also tries inventive ways to engage the audience. She tries to make her content stand out with a Graham Norton-style chat show for one of their key annual events, the FundForum Asia.

“We try to do content that speaks to people as people,” she explained. “We do a daily livestream chat show, like Graham Norton for the Asset Management community, and it is relatively entertaining given how dry the subject matter is. We send it out immediately to our global audience and it’s a way of them accessing the content of the event in an engaging way.”

Joe Edwards recommends implementing a social command centre at events, with social media managers dedicated to pushing content outside of the physical event. “They can identify and direct conversations; they can promote questions and promote engagement while the talk is going on. The command centre can also manage the live feed with photos, vox pops, and videos, as well as moderating the social conversation around the event.”

Una O’Sullivan also makes great use of video and pictures, “We have a video booth where we get people talking together, and it shows that we are a collaborative organisation.”

Living beyond the moment

But perhaps the biggest take-away of the event was the importance of maintaining that audience engagement across the year.

Una O’Sullivan faces this challenge in mobilising internal engagement at KPMG. She runs a bi-annual gathering of 200 – 250 financial services leaders within the organisation, which serves as an opportunity for financial services leadership to set out their strategy and gather inputs from partners at the coalface. The most valuable part is getting that information and knowledge to cascade down the organisation, as she explained:

“There is very much a before, during and after,” she said. “The purpose of the conference’s digital output is to firstly, help the delegates get the most out of the conference by preparing them; secondly, to capture the news and the conversation at the event, but thirdly, and by far the most importantly, for the delegates to be able to take the information back and cascade it. There are some really important messages that can be taken back to member firms, global account teams, and of course to the clients.”

Among Una’s box of tricks is a well-designed message from KPMG’s global chairman, which is sent out pre-event to the delegates, summarising the purpose of their attendance and imparting relevant information. Then there are daily updates sent to delegates, as well as a wrap up of the day’s discussions. There is a global news site which enjoys very good engagement and which, for the week of the conference, is full of stories from the event.

Finally, there is a toolkit produced at the end of the event, which is sent out to every member of the financial services team – some 30,000 people.

“Content is so much more than telling people what happened at the event, it’s a year-round process,” agreed Lucy Eldred. “If you can get them to engage at the time of the conference and come to you because of the insightful information that you are providing, then you can continue to provide that content year round and become a source of insight for your prospective conference-goers.”

The future is bright

According to the research conducted by Formative Content, over 90% of event organisers believe the industry has a secure future – but only if it embraces full-time digital communication.

“In an increasingly digital world, events bring communities together – face to face,” said Jazmin. “They share a common belief, a passion or hobby, through a shared industry or as part of a local, national or international community.  Events make things happen.  They ignite ideas and knowledge.  They progress education and understanding.  They create and enrich the communities they serve.  They bring investment to the country and local communities.”

Find out more in the report, The Future of Events: The Challenge of Digital. Enter your name and email address to download your copy.

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Formative Content’s team of experienced journalists and marketers will help you build the reputation of your brand. Get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. office@formativecontent.com Tel: +44 (0) 20 7206 2687

Alex Gray is a Senior Writer at Formative Content responsible for writing fast-turnaround, engaging blogs on a variety of topics and industries.

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

Hashtags are an important feature of any social media strategy.  According to research by Twitter, tweets with one or more hashtags can increase engagement by almost 100%.

It’s easy to see why skilful use of hashtags can raise the awareness and the visibility of your events.

Having a hashtag for your event is useful from a content marketing standpoint. But it is also useful for social media analytics and metrics, because it centralises all the online discussion about your event.

1609b07_sharable_final_approve

So how do you choose an event hashtag?

Example of a successful event hashtag:

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the games industry’s biggest exhibition simply used the hashtag #E32016 for this year’s event – simple, unique, memorable and relevant.

This tweet with a photo and just the hashtag for text got over 100 shares.

When and where should I start using my event hashtag?

You should be using your event’s hashtag in the build-up to the event, during it, and in the aftermath.

Your hashtag should be included in all social promotions of your event, especially on twitter. Create your hashtag as soon as possible to get the social buzz going. Promote your hashtag and include it on all your promotional materials and comms.

Twitter’s research also shows that posting a concentrated number of Tweets in a short timespan can increase follower growth 50% more than average.

This means live-tweeting and posting updates about an event using your hashtag is a simple way to grow followers and increase interaction on social media.

After the event, writing digital thank you cards for your attendees is a good way to keep the conversation going – so make sure you are using your hashtag there too!

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Formative Content’s team of experienced journalists and marketers will help you build the reputation of your brand. Get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. office@formativecontent.com Tel: +44 (0) 20 7206 2687

Adam Shirley is a Content Producer at Formative Content and specialises in digital content and writing for social media.

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

Not everyone can be a great writer. But everyone can work to improve their writing.

Whether you write for a living, or just in your day-to-day life, these 3 simple tips could help you improve.

Make your words work harder

Every word should have to earn its place on the page. As Pulitzer Prize winning author and New York Times sportswriter Red Smith said: “writing is easy. All you do is sit at the typewriter until drops of blood appear on your forehead.”

In other words, writing should be difficult. It should challenge you. It should push you to justify every word.

Something can almost always be said with fewer words. Consider the following example:

On the face of it, this would appear to be a rather obvious question. (14 words).

Depending on how brutal you are, you can cut this sentence down easily. Much of it is unnecessary and adds nothing to our understanding.

It’s an obvious question. (4 words).

The refined example carries weight, it is punchier, and every word has earned its place.

Avoid ‘writing’ language

Using complicated words is a recipe for disaster. Try not to use words you wouldn’t use in conversation.

At Formative we follow the classic rule of the TV news broadcasters – targeting language at an audience of intelligent 14-year-olds. Keeping your words simple and your tone conversational is key to engaging, tight copy.

There are extreme examples of this – take a look at plainenglish.co.uk for some of the best – but some buy accutane online us might slip you by.

Her main aim being to ensure there was a facility for the young people.

We can all understand this – although exactly what ‘facility’ is being talking about isn’t clear – but you wouldn’t speak like this to your mate in the pub. Its formality makes it clumsy.

This tip is also about avoiding long sentences. Repetition rarely happens in speech, and it makes your writing looked unloved and rushed.

Be your own harshest critic

“When you start writing you’re 98% pure writer and 2% critic. After you’ve written for a length of time, you’ve learned a great deal about your craft, and you’ve become 2% pure writer and 98% critic.” David Westheimer, journalist and novelist.

This is about more than a proof read. It’s about being really honest with yourself to help you achieve steps one and two. Just because you’ve written it, doesn’t mean it has to stay. Removing redundant words will help you write tighter copy. Looking out for meaningless modifiers (totally unique, completely full, etc.) will refine your writing. Checking for accidentally repetition will help develop a conversational tone.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to hit delete and start again. If you’re not happy, what chance has your audience got?

Credit to Andy Drinkwater for examples and quotes.

Formative Content create high quality content for our global clients. To find out if we could help your brand, get in touch on 01494 672122 or office@formativecontent.com.