Small businesses have been grappling with Internet marketing since the concept was born. The main reason? They lack the time and expertise to build quality web content. Here are seven content writing tips to capture the eye of prospective customers and search engines.
Mass media marketing is a thing of the past. Now, websites like Google and Facebook dictate the way marketers work. Success stories come from developing exceptional web content for Internet users to discover on search engines and share on social media.
Yes, it’s true that anyone can publish anything to the Internet, but the proliferation of content can leave some businesses feeling overwhelmed. “How will I stand out?” is a common concern.
But just because the web is swollen with content doesn’t mean it is good content.
In fact, much of it is garbage.
It is noise.
That is why Google’s algorithm is specifically designed to fish for the diamonds in the rough; to farm out the quality content from the rest.
You want to generate quality content that your target audience will find, read and share on the web. And if you use these seven tips to create a quality blog post, the results will follow.
1. Insert a call to action
Think of your blog posts as large sales funnels. At the end, there needs to be a place for your reader to take the next step.
Do the same with your reader. Leave them with a thought that will propel them to take action — whether it is clicking on a link for more information, or filling out contact information to enter a raffle. (Ours is at the bottom of this post!)
2. Mind your language
This is what makes one piece of writing stand out from another. Because there is so much poorly written material out there, how well your blog posts are written is how you can stand out.
Omit those needless words. Never publish something the same day you write it (let it sit 24 hours. You’ll be amazed at how much it improves.) And always have someone review your work (see tip #7).
Perhaps most importantly, your content should contain information that is unique and valuable to your reader. Do not hesitate to insert quotes and statistics to support your claims.
3. Lead with the pain
Now that you’ve identified what they need to know, grab their attention. For that, we turn to literally the oldest trick in the book: Push the pain button.
Neuromarketing attributes our decision-making as a battle between the “old brain” (the part that triggers a “fight or flight” response) and the “new brain,” which produces rational decision-making.
When it comes right down to it, the old brain makes the decisions, and it reacts specifically to pain. Anything that causes fear, anxiety or unease will prompt the old brain — and your client — to act.
Let’s use a dentist as an example. You don’t want to title your post with “The Best Ways to Prevent Tooth Decay.” Not only is that dull, it’s relatively inconsequential to the reader.
Instead, frame it as, “Five Ways People Lose Their Teeth Before They’re Forty.” A bit sensational, sure, but it’s focused more on the pain (lose your teeth) and an age group. It’s a wake-up call for someone who may be neglecting their teeth.
Always lead with the pain. Then swoop in with the solutions.
4. Reward your readers
In On Writing, Stephen King mentions how much writers owe their audiences. After all, you are expecting them to take the time to sit down and read your entire piece of writing.
This is why a “we first” attitude just does not work. Consumers will not respond to your groundless platitudes, so avoid tooting your own horn.What do they want? They want solutions to their problems. They want your team to spend less time trying to define what you do as a company, and more time learning what they need as customers.
Don’t settle for your own ideas, either. Reach out to your current clients. Whether it’s an email survey or a phone call, talk to them. Find out what they want to know. Then produce content that generates the answers.
5. Make it “skimmable”
Use bullets, subheads, photographs — anything that can make the reader’s experience quick and smooth. Paragraphs should be no longer than three lines each. Jon Morrow details it in this great piece “Stephen King’s 20 tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer.”
6. Post consistently
Most think you have to publish content every day. You don’t! It can be every week, or every other week. Just as long as you’re consistent.
Google specifically doesn’t want people to hire a writer, create a bunch of posts to rank for keywords, and then not post again. They put you in “the sandbox” to ensure you’re not doing this – sometimes not ranking you for 1-6 months to ensure you’re for real.
The only way to avoid it? Publish consistently.
7. Have someone review your work
The best writers have great editors. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on an editor, though. Simply find someone subjective, and have him or her give you the thumbs up.
Treat your work with the quality that it is due. It is more likely to be read and shared on the net that way.
This isn’t easy. Writing great content is tough work, even for those who get paid to do it on a daily basis. Like any skill, writing requires a disciplined, consistent approach. These seven steps will help you take a giant step in that direction.
Find out how your content and conversion ranks with our interactive version of the Content Scorecard you can fill in yourself – no email required for download.