The Internet offers so much written content on any topic you can imagine that you have to make a difference and stand out. However, if you are just beginning to learn the tricks of the trade, you want to make informed decisions and know what you are doing throughout your writing.
You can find numerous tips and tricks on content writing online, but this info is mostly scattered, so you end up being all over the place.
The Initiation Rite – Basics of Content Writing
So, where do you start? The same place your audience starts from – the World Wide Web and search engines.
Once you have identified your topic, research what is already out there. But seriously, do your research.
• Gather relevant resources, and find the most popular content marketers covering the topics you want to cover. There’s a bunch of awesome tools which can help you in your research, such as BuzzSumo, Feedly and Mentions.
• Do not copy somebody else’s work. This will decrease your chances of ever becoming an authority on the type of content you write and your pages will not be indexed well by Google.
• Imitating the style or article structure of somebody more experienced than you can be very beneficial, but you should do this only as practice. You want to work towards your own (or your company’s) unique style – this is what will keep them coming back to your blog content.
Know Thy Digital Content Audience
The Internet is evolving and so are the ways in which people use it. An average user (read: a potential future customer) wants to get answers now. If you don’t offer answers they move on to the next search result. People scan for information, they don’t want to admire how complex your vocabulary is:
• Every single one of your blog posts is there to proactively answer questions – being informative is your priority.
• Find your point – the major idea you want to focus on and stick to it. (reminder – you are writing for people who want info now and mostly have the attention span of a squirrel, so one major point is enough).
• Don’t just repeat what others said. Present your own point of view on the topic.
• People love humor. Use it wisely, a little can go a long way.
Brevity Is the Soul of Wit
You want your writing to be easily digestible. Plain writing will appeal to more people, so keep it simple and to the point! (Make your paragraphs 6 lines or shorter and your sentences 25 words or less. Well, preferably less – in content writing less is often more).
Writing of any kind is a process and it takes time. After you think you’ve finished writing content, let it sit for a while and come back to it later and repeat. When you are back at it try some of these techniques:
• Remove the word that from your sentences:
– Studies show that people react better to images on social media than plain text.
– By outsourcing your marketing activities you can obtain leads that fit fitting your needs only.
That is very often unnecessary and removing it makes the sentence sound better and more precise.
• Be personal, use you and yours. You want to include your readers in the story.
• Don’t be stiff – strong words, such as kickass, badass, wonderful, brilliant can actually have a very relaxing and friendly effect and appeal to people who read your stuff.
The effect you want to achieve is people coming back to your post, sharing it and actually using it as a resource. For your content to be so well received you need to leave a lot of white space in the text and let your ideas resonate with your audience. Break your long titles into a title and a subtitle. Use lists with numbers and bullets. Play around with bolding, italics, and underlining. Embed videos and images in your digital content. Essentially, sift the wheat from the chaff and walk in your readers’ shoes!
Optimizing Your Content
Finally, SEO optimization is definitely something you want to pay attention to.
Writing content and posting it online has one single purpose – it’s supposed to make you relevant. It’s supposed to make you an authority in your field and serve as a resource base for your audience (potential future clients of your company).
Search Engine Optimization is all the hype these days and a lot of self-proclaimed SEO experts are making fortunes by offering it as a service. I say do it yourself while you are writing.
Here are a few essential tips which will take some time to take effect but the prize at the end will be worth every single second you invested:
• Google has evolved – only quality shall prevail. Make sure your content is answering important questions in the subject matter you are dealing with.
• Quality and quantity – keywords matter. After you have ensured the quality of your content, make sure the text also includes keywords. Research the top keywords concerning the topic you are writing about. Keep in mind that people are increasingly keen to search for phrases or even entire sentences rather than single words. The bottom line is, you want people to have a way to find your post in the endless sea of online content, so find your keywords and phrases and work them into your blog post.
We’ll take a deeper dive into SEO optimization in our next blog posts. For now, try out the tips listed above and watch the magic happen. Different people excel in different areas, so you will likely find your own mix of content writing best practices.
If content writing is not your cup of tea, but you need it to boost your growth and you need some help, check out our creative services or contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help you climb to the top.