Content writing is an art. It could be a newsletter, a social media article, a magazine piece, or even your blog. It’s your chance to seduce your audience, grab their attention, introduce them to your brand, keep them motivated and entertained, and get them to buy your products or engage your services.
Here are some step-by-step thoughts to make you a master (or mistress) of the genre.
1. Idea. Idea. Idea. Always start with one.
You may think that a lengthy article doesn’t need a single-minded idea. After all, there are digressions and elaborations, and your copy can meander from point to point. It can be difficult to identify your overarching idea.
So, it’s vital to understand the ‘why’ of your article. Why are you writing it? Why are people going to be interested? Why will it convert people from readers into buyers? That’s good content writing.
Expressing that idea in the headline is vital. After all, we live in a time-poor world, and nobody is going to wade through an article if their interest hasn’t been piqued in the first place.
And don’t forget to build your keywords naturally into your headline. It’s manna from heaven for Google.
2. Research – and from more than one reputable source.
You may be the summa cum laude of your subject. Be aware though that other people aren’t. Take the time to research the facts you’ll need to construct a well-thought-out article. Make sure you put it into words that your audience can understand. Keep it simple!
3. Write confidently.
Don’t be afraid of the blank page. Good content writers know this is the mere canvas, and the brushstrokes of their copy, the choice of the right words, and the finesse of the argument will make it a masterpiece.
Write more than you have to. You can always cut it down. In fact, you are likely to cut it down to crystallize your argument, because, let’s face it, nobody likes to read fluff.
Be personal. Write to your audience. The audience doesn’t think of themselves as consumers. They refer to themselves with words like ‘you’, ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘ours’. Don’t be too casual though. You’re not their drinking buddy. You’re the expert of a subject. But don’t get too verbose. The tone you’re aiming for is conversational yet professional.
4. Write for people – not Google.
Yes, we all know that the object of content writing is often to improve SEO. But makes sure your copy is human-optimised, not algorithmic love letters to search engines. So, don’t stuff your articles with keywords and key terms. Engage your audience. Make sure the content on your site or blog is sticky, so that readers come back for more. Google likes that.
Add your personality to the piece. You’re a living breathing human after all, with a great brain and interesting points of view. Flaunt them.
5. Never, ever, plagiarize.
Yes, I know. You’ll find anything and everything on the internet, and then some. So, there are almost certainly articles that have been written that cover the exact topic you’d like to discuss.
It’s fair game to visit these sites and use their content as bases and references (but only that!) when writing your article. But Google penalises plagiarism, as it should, and, with its ever curious bots, it knows when you do it! Besides which, do you really want to tell your customer that the best thing your company can do is copy its competitors?
So be original! Take what’s out there and add your own unique and fresh spin on it. Search engines will reward you for that, and your customers will think better of you.
6. Proofread. And then proofread again.
Imagine the scene. You’re in the middle of reading an article, and then the grammar gets gooey, the pronouns become confused, and even, regardless of spellcheck, mistakes and typos abound. Does that come across as professional? If you’d like to be a respected content writer, pay attention to your A’s and B’s. This is Content Writing 101.
But let’s face it. Your main concern is running and growing your business. So, unless you have ten hands with ten fingers on each of them, chances are you may need help with writing your content.
That’s where I come in. Give me a call, drop me an email, or send me a smoke signal. I’m a professional content writer, and I can help.