Content Writing 101
Writing good content can be fun, easy, and lucrative if you do it right. You don’t have to be able to write a novel to write content that works. What you do have to be able to do is engage with your audience and get them to take action. Following these tips will definitely get your articles more attention. Then they’ll ask you “How do I . . . ?”
Know your audience/Buyer personas
Writing good content for marketing is just like telling a story with a purpose. To keep the reader/ buyer interested, you have to know who they are.
What kind of language do they use? This includes sentence structure and vocabulary. People who read articles in the New Yorker might not appreciate the same language you would use to tell a fishing story, and vice versa.
You need to do research into your target audience. Look at other articles that are popular with them. Read publications aimed at them. Get to know them. Pretend you are one of them. Read the article you are writing as if you were one of the customers.
This might all sound simple, and honestly, it is. It just takes a little more work than sitting in front of a keyboard and going Viola, It’s perfect. You might have to edit a bit.
Write to Them
Once you know who your target audience is, those are the people you write to. Only those people. Don’t get carried away with trying to bring in other personas with one article. Very rarely are you going to be able to write one for all pieces of content. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but for all practical purposes stick to the main persona.
Don’t try to write them a letter. Try to talk to them in writing.
In other words, write it like you were standing in front of them and talking with them. If the persona you are trying to reach are casual people, use a casual tone and language. If they are very formal personas, use that language as well.
This is why the one article that fits all usually doesn’t work. There are a lot of different types of people out there from a lot of different backgrounds with a lot of different languages. Stay in the conversation with the one main persona at all times for each article.
Most people will tell you not to use too many big words or use long sentences, but that only applies to personas that talk like that. Believe it or not there are people out there who use big words all the time. It’s the norm for them. If that’s your persona, use their language.
The main thing is to be honest. People are already untrusting of marketing now. You can dress it up but keep it honest. The general public understands a lot more about marketing now than they used to. If you lie to them, it could have disastrous results for your client. Make sure you fact check your own work too. Once it’s out there, it might be there to stay. You don’t get to use the “I was told by this person” excuse. "Make it interesting but keep it honest.
"You can actually have ethics and work in marketing."
Assume your audience is Intelligent
Assume your audience is intelligent. They will appreciate it if you show them respect. For the most part people don’t like being treated like they are dumb. This is always bad for business. People nowadays are a lot more informed about things than they were decades ago.
Social media and the internet have made information accessible to everyone at the touch of a button. Assume they can and will check your statements, because more than likely they will.
Content writing isn't the same as writing a novel. In a novel you have pages and pages to go through with characters who can have a full range of emotions and experiences. When writing content, you need to stay focused on one emotion.
Don’t jump around from tearjerker to witty or any other emotional pulls. It’s going to seem a little ADHD and people probably won’t understand it. This is writing with a purpose, stick to what that purpose is. There’s an audience to use bold words in your CTA’s with and there's an audience to use more caring and compassion in your CTA's.
DON’T MIX THEM! The guy looking for a new pick-up truck isn’t going to want to feel the same way about the new Ford, that the mom looking for little girl school clothes is.
SHE'LL BE A BEAST WITH THIS LITTLE DRESS!,
"They will think you are so sweet in your pretty little new truck."
FAILS in MARKETING!
Change up the Landscape
People have very short attention spans when they are scrolling. The average time you have to get their attention is about 3 seconds. After that you have to keep their attention. We do this by breaking up the plain text with eye catchers. BOLD type, Italicized, Tiles, H(1), H(2), (parenthesis), and the biggy [BRACKETS].
[ Brackets get remembered. ]
Remember that, always.
All these little things help to keep people interested by keeping their brain working on the landscape. A flat straight road will make anybody nod off.
HILL, and lots of
This will keep them focused on your article. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it either. Just make sure it brings their attention to the main points.
Read it before you publish it!
This is a big one. When we write sometimes, we get into the zone. It just starts flowing off the page. That was the quickest 500 words in history. Then we read back over it and... UH OH! That doesn’t sound right.
If it doesn’t sound right, rewrite it. Then read it again and again if you have to. Don’t just fix that sentence and post it. Read the whole article again. Till it makes sense when you read it out loud. If it makes you feel something, you might have nailed it. It’s OK to be a victim of your own success in writing. Seriously. KUDOS!
Some of my articles still make me laugh out loud. Like they were designed to. I don’t really use the tear jerking emotions for writing.
Only use links to places you want your reader to go.
Use them sparingly. You want people to stay on your page and read your article, not jump around to everything else. The exception to this is TRAVEL. If you’re writing an article about a place to go, you might want to include links to the things to see. Don’t go overboard, just enough to make them want to visit. You can always write another article later.
So now that you are armed with the tips the pros are using, I expect your next piece of content to get more attention than even you hoped for. If you’re just starting out, make these tips part of your main diet. If you’ve been writing for years, find ways to include them in your work too. There’s a lot of competition out there for people's attention, it might as well go to you. Just remember that content writing is always changing. Don't be afraid to try something new or retry things people didn't have luck with in the past. You never know what might get someone's attention.