When it comes to creating content that grabs the attention of readers, newsrooms reign supreme.
Having initially worked in newsrooms and subsequently in marketing departments, I’ve picked up on a few best practices I’ve brought over to the corporate side when creating written content.
In the world of print journalism, every article follows a well-defined structure to deliver information effectively. From the attention-grabbing lede to the informative nutgraf and the engaging body, news articles aim to engage readers from start to finish.
While this structure is essential in journalism, its value extends beyond newsrooms. Whether you work in marketing, PR, communications or you’re simply interested in creating written content that grabs the attention of readers, Here are a few elements of news-story writing you can add to your content toolkit.
The Lede: Grabbing The Reader’s Attention
The lede, also known as the opening paragraph, serves a crucial purpose in news articles. Its primary function is to grab the reader's attention and entice them to keep reading. Content marketers can leverage this technique by crafting attention-grabbing ledes for their blog posts. Whether it's a thought-provoking question, a surprising statistic, or a compelling anecdote, a strong lede immediately captivates the audience, encouraging them to engage further with the content. By adopting this approach, content marketers can create an instant connection with their readers and increase the chances of their content being consumed and shared.
The Nutgraf: Establishing Your Story’s Essence
Following the lede, news articles often feature a nutgraf, which provides a concise summary of the article's main points. Content marketers can incorporate this element by presenting a clear and concise overview of their content early on. By establishing the essence of the content upfront, marketers can give readers a glimpse of what they can expect, enticing them to continue reading or exploring further. The nutgraf acts as a roadmap, guiding the audience through the content and setting the stage for the key takeaways. This approach helps content marketers deliver value quickly and efficiently, respecting their audience's time and capturing their interest.
The Body: Engaging and Informative
The body of a news article delves into the details, providing information, evidence, and context. Similarly, content marketers can create engaging and informative bodies for their content pieces. By organizing their ideas logically and presenting information in a structured manner, marketers can keep their audience engaged and ensure the content is easy to follow. Incorporating relevant examples, statistics, and expert opinions adds credibility and depth to the content, enhancing its value for the readers. A well-structured body ensures that content marketers can effectively communicate their message, educate their audience, and position themselves as knowledgeable industry leaders.
The Kicker: Closing With An Impact
The conclusion of a news article ties the narrative together, leaving a lasting impact on the reader. Content marketers can adopt this strategy by providing a concise and memorable ending to their content pieces. The conclusion should summarize the key points, reinforce the main message, and encourage the audience to take action. By leaving readers with a clear call-to-action or thought-provoking statement, content marketers can elicit a response, whether it's sharing the content, subscribing to a newsletter, or making a purchase. A compelling conclusion helps solidify the content's impact and prompts readers to engage further with the brand.
The structured approach of news article storytelling provides content marketers with a powerful framework to captivate and engage their audience. By incorporating attention-grabbing ledes, informative nutgrafs, engaging bodies, and impactful kickers, marketers can create content that resonates and drives meaningful interactions. Embracing the news story structure allows content marketers to deliver valuable information effectively, establish credibility, and ultimately build lasting relationships with their audience. So, grab the newsroom playbook and infuse it into your marketing departments.
On September 22, 2017, Sarah Hegazi raised a rainbow flag in Cairo at a concert featuring Mashrou Leila, a Lebanese indie rock band whose lead singer is openly queer.
For the Egyptian writer, it was an innocuous act validating her existence as a queer person living in a nation that often violently stifles any gender or sexual expression that strays away from the cis-hetero norm.
With 35,000 people at the concert—many recording the event—it was no surprise that Hegazi’s photo with the rainbow flag began circulating on social media.
She was soon arrested, tortured, and left in solitary confinement for days. Once released in January 2018, Hegazi sought asylum in Toronto—thousands of kilometres away from home, burdened with the trauma and PTSD that followed her.
Financially strained and overwhelmed by the bureaucracy that comes with seeking asylum, Hegazi’s attempt to find suitable mental health care failed.
She took her life on June 14, 2020.
Hegazi is just one example of the challenges many LGBTQ+ people face when trying to access mental health care in Canada. Access to mental health care for those who need it most remains a critical issue, and one that isn’t spoken about enough in healthcare circles, especially when it comes to queer and trans people.
But what can healthcare organizations do to make access to care easier for members of the LGBTQ+ community? Here are some points that I’ve learned while working in the realm of healthcare at a time when it’s facing dramatic shifts and has ample potential to deliver value for those on the periphery.
Having Diverse Mental Health Providers in Your Organization
As a queer woman of colour, one of the challenges Hegazi faced was finding a mental health practitioner who could understand the intersection of her identity. Increasing the number of LGBTQ+ mental health providers from diverse backgrounds within healthcare organizations can significantly enhance access to care. Having mental health professionals who can relate to these experiences can foster a deeper level of understanding and connection. Healthcare organizations can actively recruit, support, and retain diverse LGBTQ+ mental health professionals, providing mentorship programs and creating inclusive work environments.
Healthcare Partnerships with LGBTQ+ Organizations
Community partnerships and outreach collaborating with LGBTQ+
organizations and community centres is crucial for healthcare companies and organizations who want to reach underserved populations. By establishing partnerships, healthcare providers can offer mental health services in a more accessible and trusted environment. This approach reduces barriers such as stigma and fear of discrimination, while also enabling healthcare organizations to gain insights into the specific mental health needs and concerns of the LGBTQ+ community. An example of this is Freddie, a company that simplifies access to PrEP, a medication that prevents HIV. Freddie has collaborated and often advertises on platforms targeting members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Telehealth and Online Resources
One of the silver linings of the pandemic is how it transformed healthcare toward a digital future. Access that was once only available in person was now offered virtually. The expansion of telehealth services can greatly enhance access to mental health care for LGBTQ+ individuals. Virtual platforms provide convenience, privacy, and allow individuals in rural or isolated areas to connect with providers who specialize in LGBTQ+ mental health. Healthcare organizations can also develop online resources and support networks to provide information, education, and community for LGBTQ+ individuals. These resources can include self-help materials, LGBTQ+ specific mental health guides, and online support groups that foster connections and a sense of belonging.
It is crucial that healthcare organizations prioritize the mental health needs of the LGBTQ+ community, ensuring equitable access to care and fostering overall well-being for all individuals. By taking these steps, healthcare organizations can play a vital role in promoting mental health equity and supporting the resilience and flourishing of LGBTQ+ individuals. It’s a win-win for both the LGBTQ+ community and for healthcare organizations that want to offer value to patients.
The realm of marketing has witnessed a significant shift toward online-content-driven strategies thanks to constant technological advancements and evolving consumer behaviours. I've seen it first-hand working in healthcare, which is continuing its march toward a digital future as it caters to the needs of patients and members.
But it's not just happening in the healthcare industry.
Content marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for all sorts of businesses to engage and connect with their target audiences, build brand loyalty, and drive conversions. As we venture into the future, establishing your kingdom through content is set to become an even more vital function for businesses looking to grow as more companies aim to attract the attention of consumers.
Here's what the future of content marketing will entail for organizations that aim to succeed using content.
Evolving Consumer Landscape
The future of content marketing lies in recognizing and adapting to the evolving consumer landscape. Just as a wise sovereign understands the needs and desires of their subjects, businesses must comprehend the aspirations and preferences of their target audience. For example, Nike's "Breaking2" campaign successfully captured the hearts of running enthusiasts by providing valuable insights and guidance on training techniques, nutrition, and the human spirit as part of the campaign.
Rising Significance of Digital Channels
With the rapid advancement of technology, digital channels have become the crown jewels in the marketing kingdom. Businesses that embrace these channels will extend their reach and influence in the future. Red Bull's content marketing strategy, for example, conquered the digital realm by sharing exhilarating sports-related content across platforms. Through captivating videos, articles, and social media posts, Red Bull asserted its online reign, captivating millions of consumers and establishing itself as a leader of energy, adventure, and adrenaline-fuelled experiences.
Building Trust and Credibility
Trust and credibility are the foundations upon which a successful business builds their online kingdom. In the marketing realm, businesses can establish trust and credibility through their content. HubSpot's blog, for example, functions as a trustworthy advisor, consistently delivers high-quality, educational content that serves as a beacon of reliable information. By providing valuable insights and guidance, HubSpot has earned the loyalty of businesses and marketers, solidifying its reign as a trusted resource. This will be a key point for businesses to align with as they look ahead to becoming a credible brand.
Personalization and Customer Experience
Tailoring content to provide personalized and immersive customer experiences is key to capturing audience attention. Netflix's recommendation engine analyzes user data to suggest tailored movie and TV show recommendations. By offering a personalized content experience, Netflix strengthens its position, captivating audiences and nurturing customer loyalty. Businesses can follow suit by understanding their customers' preferences and delivering content that speaks directly to their individual needs and interests.
Storytelling and Emotional Connection
Storytelling is a powerful tool that enables businesses to forge emotional connections with their audience. By crafting compelling narratives, businesses can leave a lasting impact. Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign connected with its audience through stories that challenged traditional beauty standards. By promoting body positivity and celebrating diverse forms of beauty, Dove created an emotional connection with its audience, establishing a meaningful presence in the hearts of its loyal customers. Connection with your customers on an emotional level will remain a key priority for companies that want to succeed in the impersonal online world.
The reign of content holds the key to establishing your kingdom in the online realm. Just as a wise leader recognizes the evolving landscape, embraces the power of their digital court, builds trust & credibility, personalizes experiences, and weaves compelling stories, businesses can harness the full potential of content marketing in a future that is becoming more digital and more online. With a strategic and customer-centric approach, businesses can establish their presence, foster brand loyalty, and drive success in the ever-evolving marketing landscape.
I help companies grow by telling their stories.