Content marketing is a highly effective way to increase your brand visibility, and to position your business as a leading voice in your industry. Quality content increases engagement, and has a direct impact on your overall conversion efficiency. Content marketing is one of the best initiatives your business can undertake.
Whether you’re already publishing frequently or you’re just getting started, these content writing tips will help you refine your process, increase engagement, and impress your readers.
1. Develop a Persona
The very first question you should be asking is whom you’re writing for. What are the needs and expectations of your particular audience? When we write, or when we start content marketing for a new client, we start by crafting a persona. Put simply, we personify the broader traits of our audience into a particular identity, and then we write the sort of content that he or she would appreciate.
We look at that character’s social identity, age, financial profile, habits, likes and dislikes, favorite music, and so on. We don’t stop with just the factors that might be relevant, but we flesh out a coherent person. When you develop personas like these, it’s important to make them real. Maybe that means drawing a portrait and keeping it on your desk, or reading a favourite book. Make a social media profile, and have chat conversations with your team-mates in character when you’re looking for content inspiration.
What sorts of needs and problems does your character have that your business is poised to fix, and what messaging or branding will your character be most receptive to?
2. Remember the Buyer’s Journey
Once you have developed a persona, or several personas, you will want to consider the buyer’s journey and create a content funnel. At the top of the funnel you will find people who are surfing the net, looking for interesting articles and information. They are not ready to buy.
By forming a relationship with them early on, you will find that people in the awareness phase are now poised to consider you when they are making buying decisions.
It is important to have content that is geared to different stages in the buyer’s journey. If someone is just looking for information, then a general blog post like this one establishes awareness and trust. Once a buyer is aware of your business, they may be able to evaluate your business vs. other businesses. At that point, case studies, webinars, or videos may be the perfect content type. For a buyer at the purchase stage, a better bet is a coupon, a free trial, or a consultation.
Maybe you don’t think of a consultation as content? Consider the fact that everything on your website is a form of content, including calls to action and buttons and their text. It’s important to provide your potential clients with content that is both useful and well-timed.
3. Write with a Consistent Voice
The last section can sometimes seem at odds with another idea that’s very important to us for responsible digital marketing: authenticity. Calibrating your message is one (very important) thing, but that calibration should never obscure or contradict your underlying message.
And no matter whom you’re writing for, it’s important that you always write with a consistent, and authentic voice. Trying to slip into a character, or writing each new piece with a different identity, will often alienate your readership. Remember, visitors to your site will come to expect certain trends, and it can be jarring if your voice suddenly shifts. Details in phrasing, or formality, or implicit information about what sort of values you hold, will all be picked up on, even subliminally, by your readers. Just be real, and you shouldn’t have any trouble.
4. Keep your Focus
When you’re writing a piece, make sure that you’re keeping it on point. It’s entirely natural that your content might interrelate (as ours did, above, with personas and authenticity) but it would have been inconvenient for you, dear reader, and ungainly if we had halted this piece and slipped into a whole treatise on either subject.
As you write, you might find that one bit of content might springboard new ideas for other content, and that’s great! Jot them down in a notebook or open a new file, and come back to them after you’ve fully explored the topic of the day.
5. Branch out Gradually
And while we’re on the subject of springboards for new ideas, the more you write, odds are you’ll discover that you have all the more to say. Much of it will probably find a home on your site, and as your business evolves it’s entirely natural that your site should broaden its focus.
Still, you shouldn’t throw consistency entirely to the wind. If you tend to blog about values based digital marketing, then ethical business practices might be a more natural fit for your site than, say, superfoods to help fight cancer. There might be a middle step, like lifestyle changes to keep you healthy working from home, or your post might find a better home as a guest blog on another site.
This is really just an extension of keeping your focus. If you want to branch out, make sure to keep consistency while you evolve.
6. Do Your Research
This one really should go without saying, but we’ve seen it go wrong too often not to mention it. When you’re writing, write what you know. Make sure your opinions are informed, or your facts are sourced.
95% of all blogs published include facts and statistics with absolutely no sourcing or evidence, you know.
When in doubt, do your research. If the issue is still being researched or debated, present multiple sides with their evidence and make it clear that you aren’t presenting any single unfounded opinion as fact. Your readers will appreciate the clarity of information, and your website will avoid the embarrassment of being associated with a claim that is eventually disproven.
7. Optimize for Search Engine Visibility (SEO)
If no one can find your content, no one can engage with it, right? Even the most consistently amazing content will languish in obscurity if it can’t populate for search queries (in the SERPs, or Search Engine Result Pages). Part of making a good product is being able to sell it, just as a big part of publishing strong content is ensuring it can find an audience.
9. Take Pride in your Content
This is probably the biggest point we can make. If you can’t take pride in the content you’re putting out (maybe you wrote something for the clicks, not the substance, or maybe you spent more time targeting keywords than figuring out what you wanted to say?) then it won’t serve you particularly well. Your audience will tend toward new users, not recurring, and those pieces of content won’t translate into conversions, sales, influence, or a wider audience for your business.
This is bound up with authenticity.
Write with an authentic voice, and do so consistently, and your business will find an audience to help it thrive.
If we can help with that, we’d certainly be glad to talk with you about your business’s content marketing needs or to set up a free digital marketing strategy session with the form below.
As always, we hope to get a conversation going. What do you think of these? Did we leave out your favorite content writing tip? Drop us a line and share your feedback, and, as always, happy writing!
If you are a buyer at the purchase point, take advantage of a complimentary digital strategy session with one of our digital marketing strategists.