It’s not easy to write content.
Consider the following figures. Despite the fact that written content is the most commonly used content form by 98 percent of marketing teams, one in three marketers says that their content writing is only “somewhat” or “not so” effective.
To put it another way, there’s a lot of content out there that isn’t performing as well as it could.
This post is intended to assist you and your team in improving the quality and success of your content writing.
Fortunately, with a little study and practice, anyone can improve their content writing skills. To help you improve, here are the 10 ingredients of great content writing.
1. Craft a Compelling Headline
Let’s say you get 100 visitors to your blog. Only 20 of them will read the rest of your material, despite the fact that 80 of them will read the headline.
To put it another way, your headlines have a lot of work to do.
Strong headlines contain particular information and a little description to entice readers, but they don’t tell the entire narrative.
Thanks to a BuzzSumo analysis of 100 million Facebook and Twitter headlines, we can see how this works in practice. It discovered that the sweet spot for headline length is 65 characters (about 11 words).
Of course, the length of your headline isn’t the only consideration. The words themselves are crucial.
Headlines containing instructional phrases like “you need to know” and “why you should” are most likely to be shared on Facebook.
People often want to read content that teaches them something, whether it’s how to improve content writing or a rundown of the hottest draft prospects in Major League Baseball.
2. Hook Readers With an Interesting Intro
Your headline compelled a reader to click on your content. Now you need to persuade them to read on.
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It’s easier said than done, though. According to Nielsen Norman Group, readers spend about 57 percent of their page reading time above the fold, before scrolling.
Only the most dedicated make it much further with the second screenful of content, where the proportion drops to just 17 percent.
In other words, don’t expect your readers to stick around if your introduction doesn’t immediately grab their attention.
Jumping right into the content promised by your headline is the best method to keep your readers reading.
For example, if you’re reading this, chances are you want to improve your writing skills. So, in the opening, I acknowledged your problem and mentioned that the purpose of this essay is to assist you in finding a solution.
Presumably, that intro worked because you’re still reading!
3. Write for Your Audience
A catchy start can help you maintain your readers’ attention for longer, but it’s not a panacea. You must write specifically for your target audience.
To put it another way, write for a specific group of people rather than for everyone.
It’s similar to the difference between an article on “excellent content writing” and one on “great writing,” to provide a simple example.
I can make educated guesses about you because you’re looking for content writing suggestions. You might, for example, work in marketing or create marketing-related material.
If this were an article about “excellent writing,” you could be anyone from a student to a novelist who is experiencing writer’s block. I’d be unlikely to hit the mark for any of those audiences if I tried to write for all of them.
4. Narrow Your Article’s Focus
Each article should have a single clear idea from headline to conclusion.
Following this approach can help you form more logical arguments, write copy that flows naturally, and provide your readers with clear takeaways.
Unless you’re writing a pillar page acting as a central point for discussing a broad topic, keep your focus as tight as possible. For instance,
- Bad: How to improve your marketing
- Better: How to do better small business marketing
- Best: How to do social media marketing for SaaS startups
It’d be impossible to write a valuable piece of content on that first theme because the potential audience is just too broad. You simply can’t offer advice relevant to everyone, from a one-person startup to a multinational brand.
By narrowing your focus, you could provide real value around a specific topic.
5. Be Engaging
Your audience will bounce if your content does not rapidly captivate them once they get on your page, no matter how appealing your headline is.
To demonstrate this, let’s look at some additional BuzzSumo studies. They used machine learning models to figure out how to write interesting content.
Only a small percentage of the items studied fared well on both Facebook and Twitter.
This demonstrates how users on various platforms interact with various types of material.
Then there’s the actual writing.
As a marketer, I’m sure you’ve heard that good content creation requires clear language.
However, according to the same BuzzSumo study, content with high readability ratings (shorter sentences and words) does not outperform content with lower readability scores.
To put it another way, writing interesting content is about using language that your target audience will understand and appreciate. As a result, oversimplifying or overcomplicating for the sake of doing is not a good idea.
6. Write in Your Unique Brand Voice
Why does some brands’ content make them stand out more than others? We now know it’s down to a variety of elements, the majority of which are directly tied to brand voice, or the personality you assign to your business, thanks to Sprout Social.
Continue writing once you’ve worked out who you’re writing for and what interests them. It’s all about maintaining a level of consistency.
Unless you have a single person in charge of all content production and communications, you’ll need to share your brand voice with your whole team in a single, easily accessible document. Otherwise, you risk having several writers utilizing opposing viewpoints and tones.
As a minimum, your brand voice document should include:
- your brand’s core values and mission statement
- a description of your audience and the way they speak
- your ideal relationship with your audience
- examples of specific words and phrases you do (and don’t) use
7. Provide Knowledge That Readers Want
Consider this scenario: you were looking for content writing advice on Google, came across this article, and then discovered a wealth of material on how to make better video content.
Imagine if, instead of specific advice, I simply published 2,000 words about why great content is important but never showed you what it looks like or how to create it.
If that happened, you’d probably stop visiting my site in the future.
That’s why, before you start writing, you need to figure out what consumers desire from your content through keyword research.
Data isn’t difficult to come by, fortunately. You can locate frequently asked questions about your selected subject by using a service like Ubersuggest.
I’m going to write about SEO, but I’m not sure what I’ll write about yet. People are asking what SEO is and why it’s important, according to Ubersuggest. This informs me of what I should include.
8. Use an Outline
It’s time to make an outline after you’ve done your research and determined what your audience expects from your content.
Why bother with a content outline? Because it facilitates the creation of a more helpful and well-structured piece.
Furthermore, it enables you to locate useful sources and statistics to support your claims and offer context.
It’s straightforward. Simply write out the questions from your keyword research in a logical order. “What is SEO?” would, for example, come before “Why Is SEO Important?”
Do you need to make many references in a single section? Subdivide those points into subsections, each with its own subheading. For example, under “Why Is SEO Important?” you might add the following subsections.
- organic traffic is highly valuable
- local SEO drives conversions
- SEO offers long-lasting results
Finally, search for relevant third-party sources and existing content on your site to reference in each section (and subsection).
9. Include Actionable Tips
The purpose of your content writing should be to ensure that readers learn something useful. That way, there’s a larger chance they’ll share it with their friends and come back to you later. They may even join your mailing list or download password-protected stuff.
Providing detailed, actionable suggestions laying out exactly how to do whatever you’re talking about is the simplest approach to educating your readers.
You must be an expert in your field to do this well. That is why, rather than writing about brain surgery, I write about marketing!
To put it another way, write what you know. Step-by-step solutions to real-world challenges are discussed. Make a list of the tools and processes you use; if you made them yourself, even better.
10. Add Trust Factors
There’s a lot of information available. Even if you’re in a small niche, there are probably hundreds of publications on the same subject.
Why should readers prefer your material to that of others?
Making your material trustworthy is one of the best methods to stand out from the crowd. People are more likely to click on your material if they know it is well-researched and authoritative.
Being a well-known figure in your field certainly helps. I automatically have an advantage over lesser-known publishers now that so many people know who I am.
That wasn’t always the case, though. To establish my worth, I had to start someplace. Backlinks assisted me in achieving my goal, and they may be able to assist you as well. You should, in particular,:
- Support the points in your content by linking out to authoritative sources. Linking to mainstream media sources, government sites, universities, and high-profile brands could make your content writing more credible.
- Get credible sites to link to your content. If a high-authority site like the New York Times links to your content, that’s a great sign that people can trust you. As a bonus, it can help you rank better in organic search.
Examples of Excellent Content Writing
What does fantastic content writing look like in practice? Here are three sites consistently getting it right:
HubSpot has often demonstrated the value of producing in-depth content on issues that are important to its core audience of sales and marketing professionals.
It also has blogs dedicated to salesmen and marketers. Its content, in addition to being useful, plays an important role in the buyer cycle by directing users to paid tools and gated content.
As the world’s largest professional social networking platform, LinkedIn is a highly credible source. Rather than churning out low-value content, its articles often include unique research, making them more valuable.
WooCommerce is the single most popular e-commerce technology solution on the market.
Its plugin is intended to make it simple to open an online store, and its blog is intended to help with that. It routinely contains stories from firms serving specialized markets, which may be a terrific source of inspiration for entrepreneurs, in addition to practical guidance.
Content Writing FAQs:
What skills does a content writer need?
The average content writer needs to have research skills and the ability to translate findings into engaging copy. In addition, self-discipline and time management are a must, and knowledge of SEO best practices helps.
Is content writing hard?
Anyone can put some words on a page, but writing quality content that resonates with your audience can be tricky.
What is SEO copywriting?
It’s all about creating content search engines can understand. It used to be about stuffing keywords into every sentence, but there’s a little more to it now.
What are the main types of content writing?
Content writing can be split into two categories: content marketing and copywriting. The former includes things like blogs and e-books, while the latter encompasses websites and ad copy.
Great content writing starts with defining your target audience.
If you don’t understand who you’re writing for and what they want to hear, you can’t create compelling content. Sure, you might write nice words, but they likely won’t generate leads or sales because they aren’t targeting the right people.
Start with your audience in mind every time, and chances are you’ll create better content.