The Writer's Resource: Tips, Tricks & Strategies for Becoming a Better Writer

Persuasive not Pushy: The Art of Crafting Content That Speaks to the Reader

shutterstock_147922871When it comes to content marketing, it's important to get out of the sales mindset in order to reach a wide audience and create a genuine interest in the niche that you are promoting. Of course, your content should draw your readers in and make them want to invest their time or money into the products and services you're ultimately promoting. But the way to do it should always be through crafting interesting, entertaining, and thought provoking content.

So how exactly do you create content that speaks to your audience and makes them want to buy without making your words sound to "salesy" or pushy? Here are three effective concepts you can start implementing right away to start getting your clients the attention they need for success:

Start a Conversation

The truth is that your readers are not interested in reading about how fantastic the products and services you're promoting are. They want to gain insight into finding solutions to their everyday problems, and learning about new information and techniques that will help make their lives easier. You have to find a way to incorporate your clients' products and services into useful content that gives your readers something to take away and implement into their own lifestyles.

For example, if you're creating content for an HVAC company, you can create content that revolves around reducing wear and tear on air conditioners or how to minimize the need for heater repairs during cold winters. The idea is to create authority and become a trustworthy friend to readers so they're more likely to naturally look into the products and services associated with your content.

Create Involvement

Get your readers involved in your content with techniques such as inspiring them to ask questions of themselves that will help them work out their simple problems. Another method is to have them write down lists of goals, interests, and aspirations that they can use to increase different aspects of their lives.

Whether your content helps homeowners sell their homes more quickly, encourages people to adopt a healthier diet, or simply gets stay-at-home parents to think about how they're spending their free time, the point is that you're bringing something valuable and actionable to the table that keeps readers thinking about the companies you represent long after your words have been read.

Like writing in a conversational tone, creating involvement within your words will make your clients' products and services more desirable by readers because they can be used to complement the tools you provide them within your content. After all, who wouldn't want to invest in software that will help keep track of the goals you suggest to readers looking to lose weight?

Represent the Brand

An important aspect of creating successful marketing content is giving each piece a unique tone that mimics the brand of every individual client you work with. It's a good idea to read through the "about us" page of your clients and ask them to go in depth about the tone and personality they'd like to connect to their business. Every piece of content you create for a particular client should speak the same in terms of personality, style, and authority.

If a client is just starting out and has not yet created a voice for their brand, put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would want to be seen by clients when you're choosing a voice to craft your content with. Take a look at competitor sites not only to weed out topics that have already saturated the internet, but to get a feel for the other voices out there which should help you come up with something unique for your client.

With these tips and tricks in mind, you should be able to come up with something new and unique that draws readers into the brand you're representing and makes them want to keep coming back for more.

Does Your Content Only Scratch the Surface? Learn How to Make it More Interesting!

Posted by Laura Holton

more_interestingWriting shallow, generic content is easy, requires minimal research, and demands little prior knowledge of the subject — all of which are selling points for content writers. However, clients are looking to stand out from their competitors and demonstrate to their audience why they are the right choice; readers are looking to be informed or entertained with something new; and Google ranks unique content high in search results. Content that just scratches the surface fails to please all three.

The problem is that there is a huge amount of content already on the web, making it difficult for writers to create something completely original. However, by taking a different approach to content creation, you can intrigue your readers and provide value to your audience. Here are a few ideas how to avoid being generic and go deeper into your subject matter.

1. Write from a Different Angle

You can turn even what may at first seem like an uninteresting subject matter into an exciting piece of content when you consider how you feel about the issue.

Most Creative People recommends sticking to topics in which you already have some interest; however, we understand that this is not always possible. In the case you do have to write on a subject you find boring for a B2B company, never allow your audience to feel your despair. Liven up the content by finding aspects that make the subject compelling, taking an angle never tried before. You may not be an expert on the subject matter, but this has no bearing. In fact, limited knowledge can often be beneficial, as you are even more likely to have some fresh ideas that your client's readers had never considered.

2. Infuse Pieces with Your Personality

Nothing makes for more shallow content than facts presented in a bland, dry tone. Your content may be completely free from grammatical or comprehensive errors, but this does not necessarily mean it is well-written.

Enhance your content by allowing your personality to shine through. Pay attention to your choice of vocabulary, style, and structure to ensure your writing reflects who you are, while still taking an appropriate tone and voice to meet your clients’ requirements.

3. Experiment with Various Formats

Mix things up by trying out a variety of formats for your content. For instance, if search results on your subject are turning up many pieces in data analysis form, try a Q&A, opinion piece, or how-to instead. Simply by presenting the information differently can be inspiring and may lead you to coming up with a range of new ideas or penetrating the subject in greater depth.

Whether you are tackling a completely new issue or returning to a topic that you have covered many times before, it is always possible to put a new spin on the subject. Keep your clients happy, encourage their readers to come back for more, and improve search engine rankings all by creating something fresh and thoughtful.

Leave the Hard Sell at the Door: Reaching People the Right Way with Great Sales Copy

shutterstock_124546999Copywriting requires a writer to wear a variety of hats.  Sometimes your writing will focus on delivering information and other times you'll find yourself describing a particular item and attempting to motivate the reader to buy it.  Creating great sales copy can often be a challenge because you need to find a way to pitch a product, idea, or service without suffocating the reader in a blatant sales pitch.

The many trends and predictions for 2015 and beyond include a heightened focus on strengthening the interaction between businesses and their potential consumers.  Copywriting has always been used to create a connection, but in the past it's primarily been focused upon offering the sale rather than building a relationship.  When the copywriting remains strictly business, consumers feel like they are being herded toward a company's marketing funnel rather than being gently encouraged to go that direction.

Some individuals seem to have a natural talent for creating great copy, and they can often be the envy of struggling writers everywhere, simply because they have the ability to pitch anything to anyone and get desired results.  It almost seems like they could sell ice to Eskimos without really trying!  You might be surprised to know that the ability to write great sales copy isn't necessarily one that can be taught, and many successful copywriters actually have very little formal education in the art of writing, if any at all.

Great writing, and writing great sales copy, is a talent that manifests itself more through being able to talk to people.  While communicating ideas in writing is naturally different from doing so verbally, the basic premise is the same - you have to know how to reach someone and motivate them to take action.  If you can do it face-to-face, you can do it on paper (or on your computer screen).

One of the most important aspects of talking to people, whether you're doing it verbally or in writing, is demonstrating a passion for what you're talking about and communicating that passion through your words, written or spoken.  If your audience can see that you feel and believe something strongly, it's infinitely easier to evoke those same strong emotions from them, as well, and when you are able to provide information that resonates with your reader's emotions, you've successfully tackled one of the biggest obstacles in marketing - making people feel.

Regardless of the logic we believe we put into our everyday decisions, including buying choices and shopping habits, we are still creatures that are driven by emotion.  You can attempt to sell, sell, sell all day long with the technical aspects and benefits of any product or service and you may see marginal positive results, but if you are able to motivate an individual to want or need something based on emotional responses, the results will be significantly more positive.

How can you evoke emotions from your readers and convince them with your copywriting that they should take action?  While it may appear to be easier said than done, it's not that difficult when you identify a few key questions that have answers with emotional roots.

  • What do you want?
  • What do you need?
  • What is your question?
  • What is your problem, dilemma, or issue?
  • What solution are you seeking?
  • What would make something easier?

One or more of those six questions are almost always the driving force behind a consumer's decision to purchase something, and more often than not their decision is motivated by several of those questions combined.  Consumers are looking for things that fulfill wants or needs, answer questions, solve problems, or make their lives more efficient, convenient, or hassle-free.  It's up to you, as the writer, to create sales copy that tells them how those six questions will be answered and do so in a way that leaves the hard sell at the door.

Developing a Successful Writing Business

shutterstock_158416370One of the first challenges you will face when you set off on your quest to become a successful freelance writer is to resist the temptation to immediately quit your “day job” and throw yourself into writing on a full-time basis as your sole means of financial support. You should find a market for your writing first and start producing work on a gradually increasing basis, to make sure you'll be able to create content that will sell.

Finding Jobs

You've already found the perfect platform for connecting with clients who are seeking quality writers, right here at Zerys. One of the primary keys to success is to ensure that your profile and expertise categories are as informative and complete as possible. Some clients who use our content marketing platform choose writers based solely on the information provided in the writer's bio, while some use other factors like ratings or areas of expertise.

When you accept an assignment, whether it's one that you've chosen from a list of those available to you or it was a direct offer from a specific client, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your writing skill. You should always strive to provide the highest quality work possible. This will open up more doors for additional writing jobs and give you greater opportunities for finding work.

Time Management

Being able to effectively manage your time is a hurdle that many freelance writers face, regardless of where they find their writing jobs. Whether you are working with one-at-a-time selections from an open list of jobs or you have a steady stream of projects assigned to you personally, you still have to be able to manage your time in a way that allows you to complete your writing projects within specific time frames. You also need to allow yourself time for personal activities; after all, when you're punching a clock and working in an office, you still have breaks and you get to go home at the end of your work day.

Balancing Workloads

Similar to time management, you need to be able to balance your workload in a way that doesn't leave you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or burned out with your writing tasks. This is especially true for freelance writers who are writing as a second job or using their writing as a way of supplementing a primary income.  Achieving a balanced workload incorporates time management as part of the basic strategy; you should be able to create a daily or weekly schedule that gives you time to effectively and efficiently manage or take care of all your personal and professional activities.

Intangible Assets Are Critical

Some of the most critical assets a successful writer can possess are those that are intangible - - excellent spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills, an ability to effectively proofread and edit, and a firm grasp of language usage and sentence construction skills. It can be extremely frustrating for a client to have to thoroughly proofread and possibly re-write or excessively correct typographical errors that could have been avoided by simply reviewing the work prior to submission.

Many successful writers will quickly admit that one of the most important keys to their own success is that they are also their own harshest critic. While you should never devalue your work - after all, your client thinks it is valuable and is willing to pay for it - you should be able to objectively review your own writing to identify possible errors or other deficiencies. If you don't have someone available to edit your work or you feel that you cannot be sufficiently objective, check online for help. There are several web-based tools and applications that provide free evaluations of your writing to check for punctuation errors and identify improperly constructed sentences; some even provide you with a readability rating.

As your writing side job becomes more prolific and your earning power escalates, you'll be able to determine if writing full-time as your sole occupation is an endeavor that you are able to achieve and which will provide you with the monetary compensation your budget demands.  When you reach the point where, when asked what you do for a living, your answer is "professional writer," you'll be rewarded with a sense of satisfaction, knowing that you're doing what you love and that you have achieved your goal.

What Makes a Writer "Good?" (And How to Be Great!)

shutterstock_242760031Mediocre writers tend to jot down the facts or regurgitate information already found on the internet – they don't take the time to figure out what their readers really want to learn, and there typically isn't any personalization found in the text of a low quality writer. As a quality writer it is vital to connect with your readers in a way that engages them emotionally and makes them want to take action in some way, whether that action is starting a garden or signing up for your newsletter.

Your content should resonate with readers in such a way that they want to share your words of wisdom and insights with their friends and family. This not only aids you in maintaining an authoritative voice on the web, but it attracts quality leads and increases the chance that your content will get promoted through social media. Here are some other things you can do to maintain a quality edge in the market and stand out from the crowd of not-so-great writers out there:

Become Your Audience

One of the most important aspects of being a great writer is getting into your audience's head to determine what they really want to read and learn about. If you're writing content about HVAC repair or maintenance, think about what you'd like to learn on the subject as a homeowner.

Maybe your readers can benefit from learning about sustainable ways to limit the wear and tear put on the HVAC system, like planting trees in specific places on the property or completing a do-it-yourself insulation project. Think outside the box and tap into topics that haven't already been beaten to death by other writers.

Create Actionable Content

As an effective writer, you have to know how to create actionable content. This means that you're giving your readers more than just information – you are telling them how to put the information to use as well. For example if you're writing about flowers and plants that naturally repel pests like mosquitoes, go a step further and tell your readers how they can grow those plants at home in a kitchen window or out in the garden.

Or if you're writing about what to expect during a toddler's first dental visit, tell parents how they can prepare their child at home and how to encourage proper oral hygiene practices at home between dental visits. Not only does actionable content resonate with readers longer than informational content, but it keeps them coming back for more.

Work at Being a Friend

A great writer knows how to build a relationship with their reader base, which makes them feel like they're getting advice and information from someone they can trust and someone who understands their wants and needs. To create personable content, it's simply a matter of writing in a conversational tone.

Instead of using big fancy words or technical terms to explain topics, write as if you're talking to a friend in a down-to-earth and straight forward manner. This tactic works just as well for blog content as for professional pieces, but it's best to use real-life examples in professional content and save personal opinions and experiences for blog content.  

Integrate Dynamic Visuals

Because visuals are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text, it's important to include at least once dynamic photo, infographic, or video to every piece of content you create if possible. Visuals enhance your written skill and will automatically capture the attention of readers before they have a chance to move on to something else. Visual content is like a pretty package that shows people what they can expect when opening the "package" to read your content.  

With the help of these tips and tricks as well as some practice, you'll find that it's easy to make your own professional mark in the content creation world and ensure that you're remembered by clients and readers alike for your quality written words. 

Improving Your Content Creation Process

shutterstock_156983240Creating content is not necessarily an art form, but it does require some degree of skill and ability to consistently produce quality content. You cannot simply sit down in front of your computer, and rattle off several hundred words of information without putting some thought and organization into the content creation process.

If you find yourself in a rut because you aren't producing the kind of content you want, examine your content creation process and take the necessary steps to improve.

What's Wrong?

Are you missing deadlines? Letting your workload overwhelm you to the point where you fall behind and have to churn out mediocre content simply to meet demand? Creating content requires an ability to manage your time wisely and effectively, so you can continue to produce exceptional results for both you and your clients.

Another issue that could stand in the way of creating the type of content that meets your standards, and those of your clients' could be that you're inadvertently including sloppy punctuation and grammatical errors in your work. In addition, not adhering to content-specific directions such as adding required keywords and CTAs, for example, can make otherwise good content seem poorly written.

How Can You Fix It?

Advice on how to become a better writer can be found all over the Internet. You can also find tips and tricks on how to make sure your workload, no matter how heavy, always gets completed on time. In some cases, the information could read like a how-to on being productive at home, or improving efficiency away from an office environment. You're likely already aware of these tips, tricks, and techniques, so apply them as often as you can. Rather than repeating advice and telling you things you already know, let's look at a different strategy altogether.

If one of your most common challenges is meeting deadlines, you should examine the volume of your workload. Are you accepting more work than you can complete on time without compromising quality? Are you taking on a manageable volume of work, but putting off getting it done until the last minute? If these are the issues you are facing, here are some ideas that might help:

  • Completely reduce your workload to a "one at a time" status.  Not only does this give you a manageable number of items to complete, it also puts more pressure on you to complete more work because you don't have a safety net of other assignments waiting in the wings.
  • Take a break.  Sometimes your biggest challenge might not be anything already mentioned, but rather the fact that you're getting burned out and don't realize it. A short break of a few days or a week can help you recharge and revitalize your passion for writing. When you get back to the drawing board, you'll instantly see an improvement in your content creation efforts.
  • Request a lighter workload. If you have a high volume client who routinely gives you a substantial number of assignments, simply ask him or her to cut back on the volume until further notice. If you are one of the client's favorites, he or she will gladly do so simply to keep you as a preferred, high quality writer.
  • Don't wait until the last minute. This is an oft-repeated piece of advice, but it does bear repeating (along with apologies for the redundancy). When you take on a content creation task, do it promptly. Waiting until the last minute will only put more pressure on you to get the work done regardless of the quality. When you create content well in advance of deadlines, you have the opportunity to check and recheck your work to make sure it's at a level both you and your clients are pleased with.

Being a writer is easy; being a great writer is a different story. It does come with some challenges, but they are by no means insurmountable. When you examine the true cause behind any supposed "defects" in your process or the content you are producing, you can easily identify areas in need of improvement, and take steps to remain the quality writer you know yourself to be!

3 Ways Time Management Can Help Your Writing

Posted by Robin Kastengren

shutterstock_173999390You probably already know that the best way to get the most out of content marketing is to create lots of content and to keep your outlets continually fed with fresh material. If you are not managing your time effectively it will not take long before you are bumping up against deadlines and rushing through your work. The problem, of course, is that quality is always the first thing to suffer when you are rushing—especially with an ongoing project like a blog. Once the quality starts to dip, the entire point of the blog is missed.

How Time Management Can Help

Whether you use a paper to-do list or a calendar on your smartphone, managing your time is essential to your success, and to the success of your content. Along with staying on top of your work and getting more done, managing your time can do so much more.

  1. Fewer Problems.  There are some people that claim that they do their best work when they are under the gun. For the rest of us, we usually end up creating more problems for ourselves when we’re under pressure. From missed deadlines to skipped instructions, your work starts to come unraveled when you cannot take the time to do the job right. Retracing your steps to fix everything that has gone wrong only eats up more time and leaves you further behind.
     
  2. More Opportunities. When you are constantly racing the clock, you will never have enough time to pursue new opportunities. You will be too busy making up for missed deadlines and reworking posts that were written too hastily and are not up to par. When you are on your game, you will have more time to go after new opportunities that could lead to better work, and better income.
     
  3. Downtime. Probably the biggest benefit of effectively managing your time is being able to get some down time--and enjoy it without worrying. If you do not take enough time to rest, it won't take long for you to reach the burnout stage and then you will really get behind. Most writers and content creators benefit from making time for a little exercise, hobbies, and a good nap. After all, a rested writer is a good writer.

Strategies for Success

There are many ways to manage your time; what works for you might not work for someone else. The common thread that runs through every successful strategy is planning. Whether you schedule your time each day or a week at a time, set aside specific blocks of time for writing and set attainable goals.

Content writers and managers often have to work with assignments that pop up without warning and come with a short deadline. One of the benefits of an ongoing content project is that you know what is coming ahead of time so you can work ahead and create a little cushion for yourself. Take a day or two to focus only on creating this cushion—even if it means passing up other work. Remember, the goal here is long-term sustainability, not immediate reward.

Once you have that cushion, you can schedule your ongoing project in at regular intervals while still having plenty of time for jobs that pop up and need to be completed right away. Your days will run more smoothly, and you can finally have time to finish that novel, take a fishing trip, or even just stretch out on the couch and take a well-deserved nap.

Looks Aren't Everything, But They Sure Help! 5 Tips to Make Your Landing Page Look Good

Posted by Rachel Terry

shutterstock_92888848What you say matters, especially if you want people to jump from your landing page to your main website. But how your content looks matters at least as much. Why? Because if the content on your landing page isn't visually appealing, readers may never make it through that large block of text you labored over, and they won't be tempted to see more of what you have to offer.

What can you do to make your landing page inviting, alluring, irresistable? Try one or more of these techniques to make improve your landing page's good looks.

Use Sub-headings to Break Up Your Text

Make the content on your landing page easier to approach by using sub-headings (H1, H2, H3) to provide a road map. Your subheadings should summarize the key points of your article or blog post and provide extra "entry points" for readers looking for specific information.

Additionally, search engines look for H1, H2, and H3 tags for classifying the content of your website. Therefore, think carefully about the words and phrases you use in your sub-headings; they can influence your search engine result rankings.

Use Bullet Points

Let's take a look at a case study. Which list do you prefer to read?

Readers look for content that contains the following: timely information, specific examples, links and resources, and personable writing.

Or

Readers look for content that contains the following:

  • Timely Information
  • Specific Examples
  • Links and Resources
  • Personable Writing

Incorporate Meaningful Images

Unique, funny, or intriguing images can work wonders for your content. When content loads onto a webpage, most people automatically look at the image before they read any words. If that image is interesting or elicits an emotional response, your readers will be hooked.

Images are especially important if you plan on posting your landing page content on social media, so choose your images wisely, and don't post anything that will confuse readers about your branding or your overall messaging strategy.

When you use images to enhance the looks of your content, don't forget to include captions. Captions help your readers to understand what you're showing them, and they also improve your SEO. Search engines will classify your images by the captions, so your website will earn more traffic from those conducting image searches.

Consider Using Graphs and Infographics

In the age of short attention spans, many people prefer to get their information from easy-to-read graphs and infographics. If you've never before created an infographic, do a little research and pull out any numbers or keywords from your content that could be arranged in a graphic.

Like images, graphs and infographics are perfect for social media marketing. People often re-post visually appealing content that contains valuable information.

Promote Your Other Blog Posts and Content

A list of links, whether arranged in bullet points, a table, or a simple list, will provide your readers with extra, relevant information. Tempt your readers to go beyond just your landing page and explore all the great content you have to offer. Provide an enticing heading to this list, something like "Popular Posts" or "Related Links." Let your readers know that this landing page is just the beginning.

In summary, remember that the good looks of your landing page can be your ticket to higher traffic and more returning readers. Yes, your content is important, but never forget that readers may never dive into your content if they're not hooked by good looks first.

5 Fresh Business Blog Writing Ideas

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock_139626251A business blog is one of the most powerful assets that your company can own, but only if you use it effectively, by creating content that your audience actually wants to read and share. When researching how to keep your business blog writing up to scratch, you have probably heard much of the same advice time and time again: draw readers in with a gripping headline, keep paragraphs short and use plenty of whitespace, ensure that you content is scan-able. This is all useful information, but there is so much more to business blog writing.

This post will provide you with some new ideas to keep your business blog writing fresh. Captivate your audience to increase open rates, shares, and, ultimately, conversions.

1. Address Your Readers Like People

Just because you are blogging for business does not mean you should adopt a corporate tone. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to instantly lose readers. For all your business blog writing, imagine that you are having a conversation with your audience by utilizing these tips from KISSmetrics:

  • Only use words and phrases that would use in an actual conversation. Cut the jargon and hyperbole.
  • Use the active voice whenever you can, particularly when referring to actions that your company is going to take. Only fall back on the passive voice when writing in the active becomes too long-winded.
  • Keep your writing informal. Write in the second person to address readers directly and consider using contractions if this is appropriate for the voice of your blog.

2. Realize That Every Post Is a Product

Your posts are a reflection on the quality of your company as a whole. You would never release a product to the market if you didn’t think it was perfect; the same principle should apply to every one of your posts. Each piece must:

  • Be something your audience wants to read.
  • Include opinions backed up by statistics and other research.
  • Be of high quality. You should feel proud to own your blog.

If you have posts that do not fulfill this criteria, remove them from your blog — or, better still, never publish them in the first place.

3. Tackle a Variety of Subjects

You want your readers to use your blog as a continuous source of information and inspiration. If you always write about the same topics, your audience will quickly realize that your blog offers them nothing new to learn or discover. Think about characteristics most of your target audience have in common, and write about any subjects they are likely to find interesting provided you can tie the posts back to your company.

Even if your product range is quite small, you should be able to brainstorm a wide variety of topics; however, if you are stuck for your ideas, ask your audience what they would like to know more about, create posts that answer common questions, or talk about the latest developments in your industry. Provided that you avoid repeating yourself, this should be plenty to maintain your readers’ attention.

4. Cut the Sales Pitch

You may have heard this before, but it bears mentioning again as creating posts that push for a sale is a mistake that many corporations make in their business blog writing. Readers have come to your blog to be informed or entertained — if they wanted to know about your services, they would read that section of your website.

Be all means, end your posts with a call-to-action that encourages readers to purchase a product, but only when consumers are in the right stage of the sales funnel. If you try to sell too early, you will lose prospects and reduce potential conversions.

5. Try Different Styles of Business Blog Writing

You may have noticed that you receive the most engagement from a certain style of posts, be it a how-to, numbered list, or news update. Whereas it is always a good idea to stick with what works, don’t be afraid to branch out to something new once in a while. Interview industry experts, invite executives from your company to share their trade secrets, or publish posts from guest bloggers, who may be able to provide a different angle to a popular debate.

Content marketing is all about providing your audience with what they want and need. Make sure your posts reflect this, and you will be set up for success.

Want to Make Boring Content Less Yawn Worthy? Mastering the Art of Storytelling

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock_175052972Every day, users are bombarded with content, consisting, on average, of more than 100,000 words in total, says Digital Marketing Philippines. If you want to stick in your readers’ minds, your content needs to stand out — and one of the best ways do this is to tell a story. People love hearing stories as it allows them to relate and connect to the content, something that is difficult to do with statistics and data. However, to be successful, you need to master the art of telling stories.

1. Talk About Something Important to You

If you want readers to care about your story, you need to give them a reason; for instance, may like to start off by explaining why you decided to write the piece. HubSpot has these ideas for content:

  • News from your industry or on a matter that affects your target audience.
  • A case study detailing a customer experience (real or fictional).
  • A real-life story from you company talking about a mistake you made or how you overcame a challenge.

2. Help Readers Identify

To be memorable and sharable and to incentivize your audience to take action, a great story should have the power to amaze, inspire, and spark an emotion in your readers. To achieve this, you must create relatable characters, perhaps based on buyer personas and experiencing similar problems as those your audience face. This will allow you to connect to readers on a level that goes beyond simply being a customer.

Your characters should pass through a struggle or tension of some kind, which they resolve at the end of the story. Avoid being too obvious about the lesson learned; it is much better to allow readers to interpret the story on their own. This will show them that you respect their intelligence and will lead them to make their own decisions about how to engage with your company, without feeling coerced into a sale.

3. Relate Your Stories Directly to Your Brand

Whether you choose talk about about a real event or something completely fictional, you need to relate your story back to your brand to give value to this content and to gain the trust of your readers. If you use the perspective of someone in your company, use the story to reflect your core values. If you tell the story through the eyes of a consumer, write about how your products or services impacted this person.

4. Familiarize Yourself with the Elements of Fiction Writing

Just as important as the story itself is your style of writing. This comprises of your choice of words, the structure and buildup of the story, and your personality and tone of voice. You can best understand the importance of style by reading fiction and studying what makes a great story.

Unfortunately, simply knowing the elements of fiction writing does not mean you will be able to utilize them effectively yourself. Storytelling is a creative writing skill that many marketers lack. If you want to grip your readers throughout your story, it is almost always better to hire a professional writer for the job.

There are many different ways to create content, of which storytelling is just one. Whereas it is unnecessary to turn all your pieces into stories, it can be highly beneficial for your content marketing efforts to use at least some of your posts to tell stories, avoiding boring content that loses your readers’ attention before they have had time to convert.