Ten Things Content Writers can do to Surpass the Competition
The importance of creating winning content on a regular basis simply cannot be overstated. As recent statistics show, content creation is the single most important factor in SEO effectiveness. What is more, nearly three out of four companies have found that content marketing increases both the number of leads that a marketing team receives as well as the quality of the leads.
If you want to create high quality content for your website, you have two options. You can either find good professional content writers who can provide quality content on an ongoing basis or learn how to write your own. The following tips are for those who have chosen the latter course of action.
Learn about Your Field
You can’t write quality content on a particular topic if you don’t know much about the topic in question. Dedicate a bit of time every single day to learning more about your chosen field. At the same time, don’t confine yourself to only learning about your field during a particular time. Be on the lookout for news articles, blog posts, videos and other forms of content that may relate to your business or field of expertise. You may not be able to read everything right away but you can bookmark it for future reference.
Keep Track of what you have Learned
Most of us are very busy people who cannot remember even a fraction of everything we’ve ever read or watched. That is why it is important to keep future reference material organized. Create a folder in your bookmarks bar to store content that you want to use at a later date. Better yet, create several folders so you can sort this content by type. For instance, a person who wants to write regular blog posts on the topic of green living may want to have separate folders for topics such as eco-friendly power sources, green flooring, green appliances, etc. Alternatively, you may opt to sort your material by topic; i.e. case studies, statistical information, blog posts, etc.
Your website browser is not the only tool you can use to save information. You can create a Google + circle with no other members and store your information in this circle. Evernote has a handy Web Clipper feature that enables you to easily store important information. This tool is particularly handy if you want to look through your saved content in an area without an internet connection.
Choose Your Writing Style
Your articles can be formal or informal in style. You can write in the first person, second person or third person. Each style of writing has its own unique advantages and disadvantages and how you write will likely depend on the target audience you want to reach. However, you should also take some time to think about what style of writing is the best fit with your personality. Your goal is not to mimic a particular expert in your field; to the contrary, you will only stand out if you are unique and if your writing reflects your uniqueness.
If you aren’t sure what style of writing you want to use, take a moment to consider your favourite blogs and websites. Look closely at how they are written and think about why you like the style of writing so much. You will soon see which form of writing resonates best with you personality.
Choose a Topic
There are plenty of topics in any given field, so make a list of topics you want to cover for your website and blog and then dedicate one (or more) posts to each topic.
You should never attempt to cover more than one topic in a single sitting. This is especially true if you are creating a short blog post; however, it should also hold true even if you are writing a 2,000+ word article. If your post is short, cover the topic from a single angle or appeal to a single audience (i.e. beginners, professionals in the field, industry peers, etc.) If you are writing a lost post, provide in-depth information on the topic and/or reach out to a diverse audience.
Get the Title Right
As one industry expert has wisely stated, you should spend as much time choosing a title as you do writing the rest of your post. The title is the first thing people will read and it can either make them want to read more or cause them to move on from your page. A poorly written title can actually do your website a lot of harm as it increases your bounce rate and thus decreases your standing on Google and other major search engines.
The title should match the topic covered in your blog post. It should never be misleading or devious in any way. At the same time, feel free to leave your reader hanging. The title should not provide a full overview of your post; instead, it should make the reader want to read more.
Here are some winning title ideas that you may want to consider, as statistics show they tend to consistently perform well:
- Top (5, 10, 20, etc.) Ways to…
- How to…
- Secrets of…
- Interview with (well-known personality in your field) on X topic
Start Off on the Right Foot
Hooking readers with the title is a good start but it’s not enough. You need to create winning content and it is especially important that the first paragraph or two give readers the incentive to keep reading.
Stories can be a great way to start off an article. Everyone loves a good story that is short and to the point. You can also start with a surprising statistic or an outrageous statement that will grab a reader’s interest and make him or her want to see what else you have to say.
Make Sure it’s 100% Accurate
People won’t come back to your website, much less buy what you are selling, unless they know that they can trust you. Never provide important information of your top of your head; research carefully to ensure that any statistics you quote are not only accurate but also up to date.
It is also important to never use hype or stretch the truth. You may think your product is the best for a particular task but don’t say it unless you can back it up with accurate statistics.
If you’ve put a lot of time and effort into your blog post, you may be tempted to hurry up and finish it off. However, there is hardly anything worse than a lousy closing. Once you’ve put in the time, blood, sweat and tears to create a winning article, don’t lose your audience by finishing lamely.
Include a call to action at the end of every single article or blog post you write. This does not mean you need to make a sales pitch at the end of every single post but it does mean you need to give your readers something to do. Ask for comments if nothing else; comments will not only improve your search engine standing but also enable you to get to know your potential customers and see what they need, want and are looking for. Encourage people to share the information via social media channels or ask them to get in touch with you if they have questions about your company or products.
An article with misspelled words and grammar errors will destroy your credibility just as fast as one with misleading data and inaccurate statistics. Never post an article right after completing it; instead, let it sit for a couple of hours and then proofread it or have someone you trust proofread it. Look for spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, inaccurate citations or stats, misleading information and unclear information.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Great content writers don’t become great overnight. It takes years of trial and error. Re-read your earlier articles and critique them to see if you can improve your writing style. If you make mistakes, don’t berate yourself. Simply go back and correct them. As you write regularly, you will discover what types of content your audience is looking for and which style of writing is the most effective for you personally.
While you may need professional help from seasoned content writers from time to time, you can learn to write your own winning content on any given topic. Simply follow the tips outlined above to create content that stands out from the rest and makes your readers want to come back for more. It will take time to research, write and go over your content carefully before posting it but the results will be more than worth it. You will gain new customers, encourage your current ones to want to continue doing business with you and showcase yourself as a leader in your particular field.