Content marketing is the marketing technique of the moment. But central to every great piece of content marketing is great writing. Here are some of my most often used tips on writing better online content:
What to write about:
Pretty much any story related to your business can be a blog post. But make it something current and newsy if possible …. people prefer to read posts about things that are happening now, or soon. Reviews and forecasts are popular too.
Write for your customer …. or some search engine?
Is there some arcane way of writing on your topic that will push your site to the top of the search engines? Maybe, but even if there is chances are someone else has already discovered it, and by the time you do it will have changed again.
So the best solution is simple …. write what your reader wants to know, not what you think will impress a search engine.
Keywording …. the harsh truth
Much the same applies when it comes to keywords. You could spend all week trying to devise the best keywords and they still might not impress the search engines. So first and foremost, write for your reader. Use keywords that will help focus your content for them. Think of any benefits to search engine optimisation as a bonus.
Keep it concise
Doing things online has conditioned us all into absorbing information in small bites, whether it be emails, tweets, blog postings, articles or whatever. The tendency to view content on mobile devices has made this all the more relevant. So short, snappy pieces of content are always best.
Also, divide your content up into as many sections, sub-sections and paragraphs as is possible (without overdoing it).
Make sure it will share well
Bear in mind that when blog posts and articles are shared to social media (a major reason for using online content nowadays) some of the title and most of the content is clipped to fit the space available. Sometimes this means that your shares lack the impact of the original, or even don’t make sense at all.
Try to design your headline and content so that your message is still readable (and still appealing) even when it is summarised.
Use a personal writing style, not ad. speak
In the long term, online content is a kind of ad. – content marketing. But no one really likes reading ad. copy – in fact these days many people don’t. The best solution is to write as you speak, naturally. Grammar doesn’t have to be perfect. Colloquialisms and turns of phrases are OK. Humour is good, but keep it fairly middle of the road. Avoid puns …. a very common mistake to make but they are absolutely terrible for SEO and reader comprehension.
Always have a call to action
This long-term copywriting secret is as valid today as it ever has been.
At the end of the day the purpose of content marketing is to get your reader to do something – for example click a link, or call you. So make sure you know what you want your readers to do, and that you make it clear in your copy.
Mark Hempshell is a copywriter and content writer – for more information or to hire Mark contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org