Content marketing involves creating and publishing content as part of a strategy to gain and retain customers. This requires a huge amount of writing, which must all be of the highest standard if marketers are to compete with other businesses. As online marketers often lack sufficient writing skills to create such content they often turn to professional writers.
Unfortunately, it can be a struggle for even the most experienced writer to keep up with the quality demands set by marketers. This guide will teach you how to create content that demonstrates just how valuable you are.
1. Start Strong
The introduction is your opportunity to capture users’ attention and ensure that they keep reading. A weak opening sentence will lose readers, no matter how good the rest of your content is.
Writers often make the mistake of beginning with a paragraph of bland, generic information. Quick Sprout has some better ideas to use:
- Anecdotes — tell a short story that fascinates or to which readers can relate.
- Surprising facts — dispelling commonly held beliefs can be particularly effective.
- New viewpoints — come up with a fresh idea for a frequently discussed issue.
- Breaking news.
- The promise of unique information.
2. Think About Structure
Plenty of white space is essential when writing for the Internet. When visitors to a website or blog see an article consisting of long paragraphs and few features to break up the content, they feel fatigued and will most likely close the page.
Far better is to follow one of the following structures, named by Content Marketing Institute:
- A how-to guide
- A Q and A list
- A debate (such as advantages and disadvantages of a certain course of action)
- A comparison or metaphor
You can then divide your content up using subtitles, numbered lists, bullet points, or a combination of the three.
3. Focus on a Single Idea
Trying to express too many ideas in one piece quickly becomes confusing for readers. This is particularly important in content marketing where your audience need to finish reading with a clear idea as to what action they should take next.
4. Be Unique
Rehashing content that is already available online is useless. If readers can already find the information elsewhere, why should they choose to read yours? Incorporate some of your own ideas or conclusions into your content to form ideas that readers may never otherwise have considered.
5. Cut the Jargon, Cut the Fluff
Users are looking for an enjoyable reading experience, where they do not have to work hard to understand. Avoid repetitions, unnecessary words or phrases, and industry specific terms that some readers may not understand.
6. Only Edit After Writing
During the writing stage, you may slip up with some of the above rules. Still, it is best to just continue writing and only edit once you have finished. If you keep stopping to make changes, you may lose your train of thought.
When you do reach the editing stage, do not be afraid to delete whole chunks of writing. It does not matter how much you like the writing — if it adds nothing of value, it must go.
Writing for content marketing is not very different than other types of writing: you aim to engage your audience using information that they cannot find elsewhere. Stick to the above rules and your content marketing team will recognize you for the asset that you truly are.