“To be momentous, create content with purpose,” says Russell Sparkman, co-founder and CEO of FusionSpark Media. Anybody can be a writer, but what does it take to be a content writer? Is it as simple as it sounds? Nah! To be able to write quality content, one needs to understand the content provider and end-user well. And that is what makes content writing a challenging task.
Did you know that 47% of buyers go through three to five content articles before they reach out to a sales representative? Not me, Hubspot claims so.
The list of factors to think about before framing content is endless. However, this blog covers a few important ones that are listed below and explained further below:
It is not enough to understand the technique to write content. The thought process behind writing content must be considered, to start with. What is your business goal? Who is your target audience? What is the search intent? What are the keywords you must use? What is the content strategy? How well have you researched and planned? Lastly, how will you write it?
1. Understand your target audience
As a content writer, understanding your target audience should be your top priority before you get down to penning down your content. What must be taken into consideration are demographic, geographic and psychographic information. But before you analyse the above, building a buyer persona should help. Who is your buyer? What is their goal? What are their challenges? Getting an answer to such questions will help you analyse their buyer persona and in turn, their above-mentioned information.
It is also not important that you write content everyday. Even if you post a content-related piece once a week, it should be valuable and appealing to your audience. A 2016 content preferences survey report revealed that more than half of B2B buyers depend on SEO-friendly content to research their buying decisions and look for shorter, but informative content. Yes, shorter.
2. Personalised topics vis-a-vis buyer persona
The most challenging part of content writing, among other things, is topic selection. This is subjective and depends on the client vertical. This is where all your content marketing know-how or research comes into the picture. While it is okay to pick commonly written about topics, it is recommended that you choose a topic that is lesser known. This will help you rank on Google with less competitors vying for attention. I know my topic is quite common, but I am just trying my luck! So read on.
3. Impactful headlines & SEO-friendly content (Avoid keyword stuffing)
Your content is as good as your headline. You mess that up and your reader leaves the page. Just like you pick stories in the newspaper based on their headlines because your attention span is limited, they are as important for web content. Using hard-hitting headlines and pun is fun too! While you are at it, keep in mind the word count. Don’t let your headline read like a sentence.
Content is king, yes. But without search engine optimization (SEO), it is as good as invisible. It’s there, but nobody can see it. Your content must have the necessary keywords but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you stuff keywords in places it looks irrelevant just to boost your web ranking. Most importantly, a search engine must understand your content. If it is convoluted and mixed up, you not only confuse the search engine, but also jeopardise your chances of going up the web rank. Next in line with regards to SEO are meta tags. They rule the roost here. Your user will only be directed to your content if your meta tags are attractive and strong enough. And among other SEO-related activities lie backlinks--both internal and external.
Good web content should be useful, interesting and informative, have a call-to-action (CTA) button and most importantly, remain credible and plagiarism-free. Your readers must know where to go next, if they like your content. It is as important for a search engine to analyse your web rank based on these very CTA clicks.
4. Impactful introduction
After the headline comes your introduction. This makes or breaks your reader’s interest. Here is where you must try to build interest and ensure the flow of your content is just perfect enough for your reader to keep reading till the end. Once you ace this, the rest flows in naturally.
5. Go with an interactive and engaging tone
The tone of your content should always be interactive and engaging. It doesn’t matter even if you put in all your research material in your content, it wouldn’t qualify to be good web content unless you strike a chord with your readers. For this, you again consider the brand vertical, target audience and medium of content.
6. Refurbish content
The above steps majorly define how you can go about writing your content, but your job doesn’t end there! Every published content out there needs to be refurbished time and again to suit SEO needs. Almost 60% of marketers refurbish content two to five times, points out PathFactory, earlier known as LookBookHQ, a B2B intelligent content platform. Look back at your content at regular intervals to update and refurbish it. It must always look as fresh as it was when you wrote it the first time.
7. Related external links
Every content that you write will be referred to some other content on the web. Attribute these links or any other content that you think may be relevant to the topic you are writing about along with a hyperlink. This will ensure credibility above all and also give added information to the reader.
While concluding your content, you must make sure that it doesn’t end abruptly. Give your readers closure. Provide a summary of the entire content you just typed out and give your user a rewind into it. It will help if the reader has a burn out due to information overload and make it easier for them to recollect what they have just read and register the same better.
9. Engaging call to action
Following the summary, add a call to action button along with a short nudge to tell your reader what to do next and where to go. This will be helpful if the reader wants to connect with you or your organisation for its products and services or any related action.
A SEMrush survey in 2019 revealed that 78% of companies have a team of one to three content specialists. An article by the World Economic Forum cites that by 2025, content production will feature in the jobs of tomorrow as part of human interaction.
SEO-friendly content writing comes with varied requirements. The rules remain the same for websites, blogs, videos, emails, social media, press releases, case studies, podcasts, manuals, whitepapers, infographics and so much more. They all build a connect with humans. These are mediums that target users at various stages of the sales funnel and that is why it is important to weave your content around these stages.
In the wake of Covid-19, content writing has seen a positive sea change. The post-pandemic world has taken content marketing to a new level. Hubspot says that 82% of marketers actively used content marketing in 2021, a 70% upward trend from 2020.