Write content that works.
Having to think up engaging, entertaining content on a regular basis can be a fair old slog. The ability to churn out original writing that attracts traffic is a skill, but you can rekindle your creative flame. Let’s explore 5 ways you can write better content that meets your business objectives.
1. Review and refresh your content strategy
The best place to start is with your content strategy. After all, what would be the point of writing great content if it doesn’t align with your aims and objectives?
For starters, it needs to reach the right audience. How do you do this? By researching your customer base. The worst thing you can do is write for everyone; by solving a specific problem for your ideal customer, you’ll reach your target market more easily. Adopting the correct tone of voice and using language that appeals to your existing customer base and potential customers will help you reach your business goals.
Looking six months to a year ahead, define your business goals and develop a content plan that will help you achieve them. Penning regular blogs, crafting targeted social media content and writing website copy that effectively sells your product or service will play a large part in helping you meet your objectives.
2. What’s your end goal?
Meandering content won’t get you very far. Streams of consciousness might work in creative prose but a browser that’s interested in your product won’t want to have to think too hard before making a purchasing decision.
However, storytelling is a great skill and definitely has its place in content marketing. The trick is to assign a clear goal to your piece of writing. It might be to inspire your reader to make a purchase, build general brand awareness or attract more followers.
Once you’re happy with WHY you’re writing this piece of content, ensure that your tale has a clear beginning, middle and end. The perfect ending will contain a Call to Action, for example, a link to a product page.
3. Write for your customers
Sometimes a fresh take is all it takes to help you get over writer’s block. Why? Writers can be guilty of word blindness: the longer they spend on a piece of work, the harder it is to measure its quality and suitability.
So if you’re really stuck for content ideas, quiz your customers. One way to reach them is on social media; ask your followers what they feel is missing from your content. What do they want to know about you and your business? What issues do they have with your product? Are there problems you could be solving for them that you’re unaware of?
Your team can also be a great source for content ideas. Sometimes a different perspective is all it takes to give you the inspiration you need.
4. The headline that hooks
Attention spans aren’t what they used to be. If your headline doesn’t reel in readers, they’re unlikely to read the rest of your blog.
Content must not only entertain, it has to solve a problem. This is why a headline like ours works so well; by telling you how you can do something in just a few steps, it has sparked your interest and inspired you to investigate. Head-turning headlines offer a straightforward solution to a common problem; in this case, how to write better content.
How to write your winning headline
Practice – It might seem odd to spend so much time on one line but drafting a few headlines and reading them out loud will help you decide on the winner. Even better, test them on your colleagues.
Problem – If you address the problem in your headline and throw in a solution, readers will respond.
Plain – offbeat headlines sometimes work but 9 times out of 10, you’ll just alienate browsers. A straightforward headline that grabs attention is preferable to wacky copy. If you use the active voice, you’ll waste fewer words. For example, replace ‘In Just a Few Steps, You Can Write Better Content’, with ‘Write Better Content in 5 Simple Steps’.
5. Optimise for SEO
There’s more to SEO than keywords and phrases.
For your contagious content to start catching, it needs to be read by the right people. One way to ensure your ideal customer picks up your new blog is to optimise it. Begin with your layout:
- Keep it clean and simple, with plenty of white space;
- Use short sentences and paragraphs;
- Break up text with bullet points;
- Add in appropriate images.
Don’t be tempted to go overboard with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation); content is about building trust, not bamboozling readers. Write honest, balanced copy that tells the truth about your service and include some user-generated content, like reviews or case studies.
Conquer keywords and phrases by doing the following:
- Think about the questions browsers would ask about your business, product or service on Google;
- Input the keywords your customers are likely to use into Google and discover what keywords your competitors are using;
- Make the most of Google’s ‘auto suggest’ function for keyword ideas;
- Include a keyword or phrase in your title, and keep the title short;
- Build keywords into your meta description. Why? When browsers search for keywords online, they’ll show up in bold in your meta snippet;
- Incorporate keywords and phrases into your headlines and body text;
- Don’t force a glut of keywords into your piece; it’ll look terrible and Google won’t be fooled.
Finally, proofread for errors. Nothing puts readers off more than a blog littered with inaccuracies, spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
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