How to Write Click-Worthy, Original Web Content
High-quality content can truly be the difference between a company that succeeds and one that doesn’t. If you learn how to write content well, it can help you skyrocket your online presence, boost your organic rankings, drive a greater volume of leads and reach your full business potential. But where should you begin?
For many businesses, curating compelling content is a challenge. Good content writing relies on effective content creation skills, along with a strong awareness of your target audience, their needs and your content goals. In many cases, it’s not possible to tick all these boxes in house. As a result, many companies choose to outsource, which can be expensive and risky.
However with the right training, guidance and resources – it’s possible to develop your high-quality content yourself. In this article, we’ll run through 9 essential tips from the industry experts about how to write content. With these under your wing, plus a healthy dose of practice, you’ll be writing rich, informative content in no time. Let’s get started.
Before we jump in to the tips – let’s explore the value of quality content a bit further. It’s worth keeping these points in mind as you develop your skills as they’ll help keep you motivated and on track to succeed.
Broken down, a decision to invest in quality content writing is a decision to invest in your business’s success. Why? The content you produce sets a precedent for your company’s overall professionalism and brand voice. Whether it’s on your website, industry publications or social media channels, like LinkedIn Ads, content is crucial in establishing your brand, building trust, generating interest, and ultimately, contributing to sales. It tells readers what you offer and why it matters.
When you write good content, you also have a chance to boost your business’s online visibility and organic rankings. Because copy and content writing are paramount to influencing search engine results. And keyword-dense website and blog content on relevant topics can help you put your business in front of audiences that matter.
Now that we’ve covered the value of quality content and given you the motivation you need to invest in the process, it’s time to jump into our 9 essential tips. We’d recommend keeping these by your side when you start your next piece of content. Trust us – they’re a lifesaver!
A strong start is the key to producing great content! What do we mean by a strong start? Before you begin writing, do your research and plan accordingly. Make sure you know your business and its niche well, and don’t be afraid to learn as much as you can about the art of effective content writing. Consider your brand voice, tone, and purpose, and plan to incorporate these consistent elements as part of all the content you create.
Next, consider your goals as a content writer. Different kinds of content can be written to reflect different objectives. For example, social media campaigns might be focused on driving sales, while blog posts might be designed simply to boost website traffic. Whatever you’re aiming for, make sure that you seek clarity before putting pen to paper.
Finally, brainstorm! Idea generation is an important part of the writing process. Content ideas are everywhere if you know where to look for them, so start taking notice of the latest news in your industry. Is there a gap in the market that your content could fill? What about a popular search term or trend you can add your own unique interpretation to? Use these questions to inform your content ideas and writing choices!
Effective content writing is all about your audience. If you play your cards right, these people will soon be your customers! When you find yourself wondering how to write content that converts, it’s time to focus on the people you’re writing for.
Start by defining your target audience. Who does your content need to communicate with? Are there any particular demographics you should keep in mind? If you’re unsure of who you should be speaking to, most website and social platforms offer in-built demographic information you can turn to for guidance.
Once you’ve started to develop a sense of your audience, it’s time to gain more clarity. Spend time on market research, learning the wants, needs, and interests of the people who will read your content. You might even produce a specific buyer’s persona! The information you find at this stage of your research can help you improve authenticity and impact, approaching writing as a meaningful conversation.
Lastly, decide what works for your audience. Should you use professional language or a light, conversational tone? Who your content is targeting should always influence your content writing style. Knowing how to write content isn’t enough if you don’t also know who is most likely to read what you and your business have to say.
“Lack of true content is killing the reputation of content marketing. That’s the view of Joe Pulizzi, who is hearing more griping from the small business owners and executives attending his content marketing classes. They complain that their email newsletters, blogs and Facebook pages are not getting enough traction. When the complaints came up at a workshop a few months ago, an exasperated Pulizzi asked his audience how their content was different. He was greeted with silence.”
With a little prodding, one vendor said it had posted coupons on Facebook, another vendor had shared content with 300 of its dealers, and a third posted an article that was intentionally generic to avoid giving away his advice. He told them that until they became serious about creating original, compelling content, they’d be better off spending their money on advertising.
It’s hard to find a bigger content marketing evangelist than Pulizzi, who founded the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) in the late 2000s after deciding he could help global brands do a much better job with their marketing. Today, CMI offers content marketing education and training, produces the Content Marketing World Conference and Expo, publishes CCO [Chief Content Officer] magazine and offers its Content Marketing Master Class through a nationwide seminar series. Pulizzi has written two books on the topic and CMI’s site is chock full of great content about content marketing, which it describes as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
When done correctly, Pulizzi argues content marketing establishes an aura of authority and trust that are at the core of any brand promise and can help brands own their media channels, rather than rent them through advertising. In his 2015 book, “Content Inc.,” Pulizzi argues that finding and filling information voids online can help startup companies stake out leadership positions in fast-moving markets before they even ship their first product. The problem is that “99 percent” of marketers are not generating distinctive content.
“Somewhere along the line,” Pulizzi wrote in a blog post earlier this year, “we marketers became infatuated with the tools and less concerned about what we put inside them. This, my friends, has got to change.”
Many marketers have found telling real people’s stories to be one of the most potent tools for breaking through what Rutgers University Marketing Professor Mark Schaefer called “overwhelming information density. In his book, “The Content Code,” such stories are original and, therefore, authentic by definition.
The way marketers create and distribute content is constantly changing, but the basic dynamics of storytelling – and their power to influence – have stood the test of time. “People still love a good yarn and, more importantly, they will remember it long after their memory of product specifications, endorsements and Facebook promotions fade,” Schaefer says.
In helping small active lifestyle brands craft their voices, Verde Brand Communications CEO Kristin Carpenter-Ogden has found it particularly useful to start with the founder. Their stories nearly always follow one of the seven classic heroic themes marketers have exploited for centuries, such as overcoming giants, naysayers and scarcity.
Even gear heads rarely remember the weight of every waterproof-breathable garment they use, what blend of fabrics it features or what awards it has won, but they can nearly always recall the story about the sudden mountain storm that inspired the founder to create the brand.
The challenge for the marketer remains finding stories that will evoke the desired response from the target customer in a way that is consistent or enhances a client’s existing brand. “The objective of storytelling is to earn trust,” says Carpenter-Ogden, whose firm works with dozens of small active lifestyle brands, including K2, Keen, Mad River Canoe, Pearl Izumi and Raleigh. “People buy products they think align with the people they want to be.”
Seeing this, and under pressure from Greenpeace, United Students Against Sweatshops and other activist groups, a handful of forward-thinking athletic and apparel brands began incorporating corporate responsibility into their content marketing strategies in the 2000s.
Nike, Adidas, Patagonia and Timberland began publishing annual reports laying out progress they had made against sustainability goals, such as reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, and use of energy and water to position themselves as leaders with their environmentally-minded consumers amid growing pressure from activists. Though fast fashion apparel brands and retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores, have since launched their own corporate sustainability programs, it’s unlikely they will gain significant mindshare with environmentally-minded consumers, even though their efforts will have a bigger impact due to their larger size.