Do you want to change your content writing game forever?
If yes, read on.
When it comes to the internet marketing, “Content is King” and when it comes to content, “Research is King”– more on that later.
Content in this context refers to text, charts, tables, PDFs, forms, blogs, forums and other social media posts.
High quality content fetches higher traffic to pages (blogs, websites, social media and other digital platforms) by propelling search engine results.
So, what differentiates a successful content writer from the rest?
The SECRET behind efficiency of content lies in its ability to resonate with the right audience. Ask yourself – Are you writing for students, parents, teenagers, etc.? Who will benefit from your content?
Once you are done with the vital step of identifying your audience, the rest of the process is streamlined!
Listed below are some effectual content writing tips:
1. Find Your Niche
“Stop writing about everything. So many brands create content and try to cover everything, instead of focusing on the core niche that they can position themselves as an expert around. No one cares about your special recipe… Find your niche, and then go even more niche.” Joe Pulizzi
It is great to be able to write about anything under the sun, but it is not unique. As a content writer, you should strive to be “UNIQUE”!
What makes one writer unique is his ability to find a niche. Examples of niches are technical writing, ghostwriting, SEO writing, financial writing, etc.
In the world of content, expertise is non-negotiable. Instead of being a “Jack of all trades and master of none”, choose a niche and build your expertise in it. Furthermore, as a niche writer, you are in a better position to develop your authority in the chosen field.
2. Create An Outline
The finest content writers exploit the power of creating an outline for generating high quality content. An outline is monumental in helping a writer organize his thoughts in a systematic way and creating structured content. For creating an outline, consider using high quality templates for specific results.
3. Come Up With An Attractive Title
An interesting analogy for the title of your content would be, the “main/entry door to your house”.
Imagine the door is your headline and your content is the house the reader wants to get into. Is the door inviting? Is it shabby or impressive? Don’t you think that the door speaks volumes about the house and its interiors?
In the same way, the title of your content has the power to, “make or break” the enthusiasm of a reader.
A good title delivers a promise of engaging and unique content that will benefit the reader. In order to determine whether your title is good enough, make use of SEO tools like Headline Analyzer, Capitalize my Title, etc.
4. Upgrade Your First Paragraph
Let us use the “House Analogy” again to understand the importance of the first paragraph.
Your guest (reader) likes your door and decides to peep in and see what lies beyond. Remember, your guest has limited time and is in a hurry to move on so it will just take a few seconds for him to decide whether your home is worth the time or not.
That is the catch!
The first paragraph is critical as it determines whether a reader will stick to read rest of your content (walk into your house and explore it) or move on in search of better content.
That is where your first paragraph does the magic. So, stick to the topic and keep the sentences short & concise (4 to 8 sentences).
Interesting Fact: Most readers decide whether an article is worth reading or not in the first 15 seconds.
5. Make It Trustworthy
“Explore your own innermost thoughts to create content that will evoke deeply relatable emotions and passion in others.”
― Ken Poirot
A reader should be able to connect to your content and trust the information provided. For doing this, you can/should:
- Use proper grammar with the help of tools like Hemingway Editor or Grammarly
- Use research and references
- Report personal experiences
- Teach, don’t sell
- Watch your tone – keep it amiable
- Provide context (link your readers to relevant topics and content sources).
6. Do Not Over Do The Key Words- Use Them Sparingly And Strategically
Use keywords responsibly when creating content. Some tips to use keywords effectively are:
- Implement synonyms
- Use long-tail keyword variations- Specific keyword phrases
- Avoid repeating phrases and words
- Use online keyword research tools like WordStream, Ubersuggest, Google AdWords, Google Correlate, etc.
7. Latent Semantic Indexing:
This is a term used for words that share the same context e.g. “Apple” and “iTunes”. You can use Google Auto complete, Niche Laboratory to generate LSI keywords.
How does LSI help?
- Prevents search engines from viewing your content as spam
- Reduces bounce rates
- Improves site ranking
- Maintains the flow of content thus retaining visitors
- Increases sales
- Less competition
8. Use Content That Is Easy To Assimilate And Share
The “House Analogy” is perfect for understanding this.
When your guests step into your house (the article), ask yourself:
Is there a breathing space?
Will your guest (the reader) leave with pleasant memories (meaningful and relevant information)?
If yes, you nailed it!
The key to great content lies in how simple and comprehendible it is.
Here are some tips for creating simple and effective content:
- Keep it entertaining
- Keep it snappy and rich
- Sprinkle some visuals
- Use shareable quotes
- Be specific to your target audience
- Make it useful: Provide “step-by-step” processes, use examples and keep it up-to-date.
- White Space (blank space around the text to improve readability):
. Makes the content easy to scan
. Looks uncluttered and calming
. Draws a reader’s attention
Bonus Tip: Use words that an eighth grader can understand as your yardstick.
9. Research, Research, Research!
There is no shortcut to this.
Research is imperative as it helps a content creator in coming up with unique and relevant content.
10. Writing Flow
At this stage, you have an impressive headline, a captivating first paragraph, and quality content.
Now comes the time to sprinkle some magic!
To keep the reader curious about what you have to offer, focus on your writing flow. Keep them engaged from one point to the next, one line to the next and one paragraph to the next until the end.
Is it possible to do so?
Yes! It is possible and very easy!
All you have to do is:
- Avoid lengthy paragraphs
- Do not use an overly formal tone
- Keep your audience in sight
- The content should not be too technical or too simplistic
- Provide value; do not ramble
- Use transitional words
11. Include Relevant Images
Beautify your content with the help of relevant high quality images (Images=Accent pieces for your “house”)
Add some visual appeal to your content with the help of relevant images in the form of pictures, infographics, screenshots and graphics.
The right image will not only appeal to the reader’s eye, but it will also explain your text and make your content more relevant and memorable for your target audience.
Some of the best sources for free high quality images are:
- Death to Stock
12. Merciless Editing
Step back, and look at what stands right before you. Go through everything thoroughly as many times as possible.
- Is the tone of the content right?
- Is the content clear and concise?
- Are the sentences grammatical?
- Are your facts right
- Any spelling mistakes?
When creating content, be the best answer on the internet. – Andy Crestodina
To sum it up, as a content writer, you should strive to provide your reader with the information he wants in the simplest and most effective manner.
Converse with your reader through written words as you would with a person in real life:
- Use punctuation
- Short sentences (20 to 25 words at most)
- Use conjunctions (and, but, if, nor, so, because, etc.)
- Avoid buzzwords and complicated vocabulary
Give your reader what he wants within the shortest time possible and he will come back for more!