January 15, 2016
Any time you begin to write, you need to know the purpose of your writing, who you’re trying to effect, what effect you’re trying to have, and how you’ll determine your effectiveness. Content writing – writing articles, blog posts, or anything else online – is no different than writing essays for school, or fiction, when push comes to shove.
Invest Time in Content Writing and Make It Worthwhile
Crafting top-notch content that is worth sharing takes time. Some business owners choose to freelance the work out to those who spend their days perfecting their ability to balance the best writing with SEO friendliness to help websites rank in the crucial first page of Google results. There’s no shame in that – but take a look at these tips, and see if you can improve your content, until freelancing, or hiring a marketing person in house, is reasonable.
If your last business writing class was years ago, here are a few tips to bring you up to speed on writing for the Internet.
There’s a lot of discussion in the world about lowering attention spans or clickbait headlines, but really and truly, the simple fact that people read sensational headlines and want a fascinating story delivered to them quickly is nothing new. Don’t believe me? Google “yellow journalism,” or just look at the tabloids at the grocery store checkout line.
Unless you’re writing a very technical white paper, or an ebook that will be sent out to your most technical consumers (and even if you are) don’t waste words. Get to the point and make sure your content is useful for everyone and attracting interest. Tell readers what you’re here to tell them, and then wrap up the article. If backstory is really needed, you’ll probably need it again; make a static webpage and link to it within your article. Complementing the content with links is great for your SEO friendliness.
Make a Point
This isn’t high school; no one wants to read your regurgitation of the article that’s making the rounds. They do, however, want to know what your opinion is. They want to know why you agree with something that’s being hotly debated, or why you disagree with a popular notion. They want you to challenge the popular assumptions, and convince them that there’s a better way to do things. They want to leave your article with something new to talk about or do. Convincing them that there’s a point is one crucial element of getting them to share your article, which is also an important part of building visibility. The bottom line is that your content has to connect with your audience.
Write for a Specific Person
As a business, you should have a target customer profile. This is your perfect customer, the one you are deliberately selling to. When you write content, you write for that person. You consider what they need to know about your product, what their pain points are, what will convince them to move from considering to purchasing.
You also make sure to spread word of your writing to places where they will see it. If they’re regularly on Reddit, for example, you make sure to post your article in their subreddits. If they’re on Facebook, then share there.
You cannot write for everyone; it’s impossible. Everyone is simply too big. Write for your readers, the ones who’ve been with you since day one.
Focus on Your Headlines
Clickbait headlines help no one. Most customers roll their eyes and move on when they see “27 Ways To Make $1000 An Hour!” Or “You Won’t Believe You Made An Embarrassing Faux Pas In Hollywood!” That said, there are ways and ways to write headlines. Compare:
- “Remember, Business Taxes Due April 15th: Have You Filed?”
- “5 Small Business Deductions You Might Have Missed”
The first headline is groan inducing. No one wants to be reminded they need to do their business taxes, and everyone knows when they’re due.
The second, however, makes a promise. It tells the reader “Hey, I have some information that might be helpful to you! Come on over and check it out!”
Remember to always follow through on the promise of your headline, however. If you promise 5 tax breaks and deliver three ways to skate around the numbers to raise the amount of home office utilities that you can deduct, your readers are going to be annoyed. It may not keep them from coming back to your website or clicking on your links this time, but over time, they’ll lose trust in you, and you’ll lose their business.
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