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From the time we wake up to the moment our heads hit the pillow, we’re bombarded with content. So it's no surprise that in 2015, the average person spends less than eight seconds looking at any given piece.



If you’re like me and tasked with creating compelling content for an organization, a brand, or a campaign, the 8 second rule is a good thing to keep in mind.

Here are a few questions I find helpful to ask at the beginning of a project:

  • Who is my audience?

  • What do they care about most?

  • What do I want to write about? Is it helpful? Interesting?

  • What’s the best way to present the information? (blog post? infographic? howto? video? ebook?)

  • Does it tell a story?

  • Does it sound like human wrote it?

Use these questions to guide your thought process. It also can’t hurt to revisit them for a quick gut-check before you hit publish.

Once you have an idea, it’s time to deliver. IMHO, good content requires iteration – which takes time – but there are a few tools I’ve discovered recently that will make your life so much easier.

  1. Canva is a simple, free (!!) tool that makes it easy for anyone to create designs for both print and web. Choose from hundreds of fonts and browse a million images, or upload your own. The best part? Canva’s pre-made templates cover all of the social media and print dimensions you use most. 

  2. The struggle to find quality images is way too real. That’s why Allie and David created Death to Stock Photo, a company that connects photographers with people who are looking for better photos. When you join their free mailing list, you’ll receive a new pack of images every month. For $15 a month you can access their entire library, and a portion of your membership funds creative projects around the world.

  3. The Noun Project aggregates contributions from around the world so you can easily find the perfect icon or symbol for your project.

  4. Clear, concise writing wins every time. The Hemingway App will flag your writing for things like complex words or phrases, passive voice, and extra-long sentences. You’ll never need an editor again! (JK)

  5. A fresh set of eyes. When you’re laser focused on a tight deadline it can be hard to see what isn’t working. Asking a colleague or friend to look at your content and give honest feedback doesn’t cost money and often yields constructive advice only a human can provide. :)

Ready to unlock the power of your story? Dig into our storybuilding guide and learn how to find and share stories with your community. 

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