It doesn’t matter if you are content writing as a business or you are updating your personal blog, it’s important to produce a piece of online copy that hits the spot every time. The best copy is informative, engaging and memorable. It’s a good way to connect with an audience and to build a strong, long lasting relationship, regardless of whether you are selling them a product or updating them about recent news. However, more goes into great content writing than you may think.
Carry Out Keyword Research
There is no denying the importance of keywords when it comes to writing SEO friendly copy, but that doesn’t simply mean adding a handful of unplanned keywords in a blog post and hoping for the best. Carrying out keyword research is vital, as this will highlight the particular keywords that your post should be focusing on.
In order for keywords to work for content writing, they need to be relevant and incorporated naturally into the content. Don’t overuse keywords and find variations or semantic keywords that can be built into the page.
Grab Attention With a Great Headline
With so many blog posts out there, all competing for a captive audience, grabbing someone’s attention is vital. You have about 2–3 seconds to capture a readers interest.
A great headline can make or break an article, as it’s the first glimpse the audience gets of the article and it’s what entices them to find out more. The first few sentences are also important, as you only have a few seconds to engage them once they start reading.
Create Enticing Introductions
The ‘lede’ as journalists call it is the introductory section of the content intended to grip the user and spur them on to read the full article. The intro to your article can make or break it. If you haven’t got the reader licking their lips for more in the first paragraph or two then you may as well forget likes, shares and engagement.
Remember that although you need an irresistible intro it should just provide an overview for the content and not reach it peak at this stage. You can introduce things like breaking news, must read tips, new analysis, secret information, a feature rich story. Just remember to effectively use the ‘lede’ to set the scene and the purpose of the content.
Paragraphs should be browsable
Many people browse through content on a page as opposed to reading and taking every word in. In fact, with so much content on the web and people consuming so much more by mobile it’s not unusual for someone browsing just to pick out just the paragraphs or points relevant to their needs. In fact, data shows that those that browse articles generally consume about 20% of the content on the page.
You can make you page easy to browse by breaking it up with paragraphs and clear headings and using images to highlight the paragraphs of content.
There are other factors that can improve how someone browses including the background colour that the content sits on, easy to read fonts, occasionally using lists, adding bold and italics or colour to highlight an important keywords and of course the page should be responsive.
Think About the Target Audience
Writing winning copy relies heavily on writing for a specific target audience. Who you are writing for will impact the tone and voice, as well as the words you use. For example, a blog post aimed at millennials is likely to be a lot more colloquial than a blog post aimed at a retired audience.
Similarly, a blog post aimed at a younger audience may include new slang and social media trends . This style of writing may not make as much sense to a more mature audience. You need to think about what will resonate with your visitors.
Solve Problems For Your Audience
Like with all forms of sales it can be very easy to get caught ln the trap of leading your content with the features and functions that your product has.
However, if your content doesn’t solve a problem and add some value to its audience then there really is no point being there at all. I can be difficult to find paint points for prospective customers and their business as they can be unique, but you should write your content with this very much in mind.
You might care that your product has twice as many features as your competitors, but your reader is more likely to care about how the content solves their problems, this could be saving money, increasing sales, improving productivity or support. Learn what their main problems are and create content to find solutions.
The more that you create content to overcome the challenges your readers face the more opportunity there is to build relationships with the audience and increase the chances of them connecting with you.
Write With One Purpose
When you are writing a blog post, write with one key purpose and have that in mind before you start writing. Your purpose could be to convey a specific piece of information, to market a product or to advertise an event.
Throughout the blog post, tie as much of what you write back to the main point and purpose. Not only will this help a reader to stay engaged, it will also help to keep the blog focused and relevant.
Ensure Your Blog Post is optimised
There is a lot of content competition online, which is why it’s important to ensure a blog post is SEO friendly. If you want your target audience to find your blog post, you need to write it with SEO best practices in mind. This includes using keyword research, lists, short paragraphs, relevant internal links and unique titles.
On-page SEO is an important factor across all web pages. On-page SEO is everything that makes a page tick from the content and HTML to the speed and user experience. Webmasters can optimise individual pages to perform better in search results leading to increased traffic and ranking.
Add Images, Graphics and Video
When you add images and video into the content it breaks up the paragraphs and make it visually appealing.
Visual media can help increase the engagement level and provide more features to share.
When articles contain more media they are easier to repurpose onto other social platforms for instance video on YouTube and Facebook and images and infographics on Pinterest or Instagram.
Video can keep people on the page longer and increase your dwell time. The dwell time is a measurement of the time a visitor arrives on a web page and returns back to the SERP’s. Google favours sites that don’t have short dwell times. Additional actions for users to take like watching videos, downloading documents, linking to internal pages can all help improve time spent on a page and on a site.
Think About Your Content Writing ‘Voice’
Regardless of whether you are writing for a business or for a personal blog, you should use a ‘voice’ that is unique to you and your business. This will help you to establish a personality, which in turn helps to build a relationship between you and your readers.
The ‘tone’ you write with should be in line with brand voice and values, the target audience and your persona. If you have other people in your team that write for your blog they should still continue to write in a similar style even if there is a touch of their own personality in the content.
Check, Check and Check Your Content Writing
Once you have finished writing any copy, it’s important to check it and check it again. This means checking for spelling errors, missed punctuation, formatting and general improvements. It’s very easy to miss out a word or spell something incorrectly, even if you have a lot of content writing experience.
A lot goes into writing an engaging piece of copy. There is no shortage of blog posts online and you want yours to stand out, which is why following a structured process when you write a new article can be invaluable.