Marketing is all about convincing people to read what you write and buy into it. But wouldn’t it be nice to encourage a new point of view on a consumer to make him or her buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, or follow a company on Facebook? Maybe you can. Writing Web content is a challenge but not impossible. Below are a few key takeaways to take into consideration.
Acknowledging the New World Order of SEO
Most marketers and writers are concerned with SEO, or search engine optimization, when in fact they should ignore almost everything they read about it (not counting this, of course). Know that the world of keywords, search phrases, inorganic linking, and SEO padding is long gone. Google constantly publishes updates that seek and destroy people who write for SEO reasons.
In response, you need to focus more on writing Web content that picks up readers. There needs to be a hook, an engaging narrative, perfect spelling, acceptable grammar, and a final takeaway that is memorable. This is a challenge when you’re faced with writing tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, press releases, and other content for a company or marketing campaign. Regardless of word count or purpose, there are a few must-implement-immediately strategies for writing the perfect content.
Topicality & Form
To start with, what you write about is the most important decision you’ll make when it comes time to write blogs and articles. You need to find topics that have room for engagement and growth. Consider the following two topic ideas based on this article; which one would you rather read?
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The first topic actively explains what readers will learn (or hope to learn) from clicking a link and reading an article. The second one, however, sounds closer to a sales pitch than anything. It gives off the impression that the writer is trying to sell an idea rather than inform readers.
The “how to” line is also surprisingly popular on the Internet. Informative blogs are highly readable because most people go on the Web to find a solution to their problems, which, in this case, is writing Web content. Tutorials, FAQs, “Top 10 Tips,” trends, and similar articles are a great format to use on educational topics.
Resource-style blogs and articles are also highly effective. The idea of these pieces is to become an authority on a subject and share everything you can to help a reader understand a particular viewpoint (think Wikipedia). The resource format is also great for adding links to that crossover to other blogs and websites. The data or analysis breakdown is effective, too, and repurposes the best info from case studies, research, and major publications.
What NOT To Write About
Avoiding certain topics is the best course of action. Take viral content and celebrities, for example. If you own a cement company and post one of those “Why my cement company is like the Golden Globes,” people will know that you’re trying to milk a popular search term to increase readership. These blogs do take off, occasionally, though you should avoid them under most circumstances.
You should never duplicate content or mimic an already published blog or article. This content is punished by Google and hated by readers who know it for what it actually is. It is perfectly acceptable to borrow ideas to sourced and linked articles, however, especially when you’re comparing and contrasting different points of view.
As a marketer whose job is to sell an idea, it is often easy to slip into the monetization trap. There are, essentially, two types of content you will produce: Content that builds up your readership/presence and PR-heavy/promo content that pushes products and services. Do not publish the latter format as the former and vice versa.
Tips for Writing Pure Content
Here is a quick list of content-creation theorems to stick to:
Always put quality over quantity
Do not worry about search engines; instead write for your readers
Utilize social media for sharing and gaining readers
Edit, revise, and edit some more
Do research before writing
When writing Web content, avoid sounding like a robot — write personal and passionate stories that people want to read