Putting effort into your content marketing is one of the best things you can do for your business. Over the past few years, the need for good, well-presented content has sky-rocketed, largely due to the advancement of technology (who doesn’t have a smart-phone these days?). It’s become completely normal to use online tools and resources to research the products and services we buy, and so it’s become vital that the online content that we publish shows us in the best light possible.
With so much content out there though, how can you ensure that you’re doing all you can to produce good content that gets you noticed amongst all the noise?
The foundations of good content
It might surprise you to learn that much of the process of content production is planning. Before you even begin to start writing, you need to know who it is you’re writing for, so the best place to begin is researching your audience. Ask any writer how they begin, and I’m willing to bet they’ll tell you that they firstly focus on their ideal reader.
If you can get a clear idea of who you are writing for (there are plenty of online tools to help you with this exercise), then when it comes to the actual writing, your life will be much easier.
At the very least, you’ll want to know:
- Whether they are male or female, if relevant
- Their age
- Their job/status
- Where they live
- Their pain points
These points alone will help you to use the right language, subject, and tone for your customers, which will make your writing much more natural and focussed.
Solve a problem
Something that’s often missed when writing content is whether the piece is helping the reader. When people are searching online, they’re looking for the answer to a question. Your goal should be to answer that question for them. To do that, think about the kind of words and phrases they’re likely to be searching for, and include them in your writing.
If you’ve got your ideal client nailed down, then you’ll have a good idea of what their problems are already – see why that’s so important?
Knowing your platforms
Every platform you write for will have different requirements, and it’s worth spending some time considering each one. By this, I mean the content you write for your website will be very different to the content for your social feeds, and how you write for your blog won’t be the same as it is for your printed media.
While your subject and message might be the same, there are different requirements and rules around writing for each platform that you’ll need to familiarise yourself with.
For example, for your website, and your blog, because of the longer-form of the writing, you’ll want to be specific about the use of keywords and titles in order to rank well for SEO purposes. And before you start to panic, SEO needn’t be scary. In (very) simple terms, it’s just learning to write in a way where search engines can find you. You can research it online or talk to me and I can help you.
This of course, is different to how you will write for social media because you only have a limited number of words in which to get your message across. Don’t forget, social platforms are also searchable, so you can still make use of keywords, as well as hashtags, to get found.
Content for blogs
I think it’s worth going into blogging in a bit more detail because it’s so easy to get it wrong. You need to start with that targeted audience in mind; don’t try to write for everyone, it won’t resonate with your client base. Put that ideal client profile into action, and speak to them, and them alone.
Plan the key points of your blog post before you start writing and include a list of keywords that you need to include for SEO. This will help you to keep on track. Also, have in mind how long you want the piece to be, and what headers you want to include.
If you’re planning on writing a regular blog slot (and you should), try to be consistent in tone and length. Your readers should be able to recognise you by how you write.
Content for Social Media
You should absolutely consider your keywords and SEO when you’re writing for social media. Unlike content on your website, your audience is already there, but the space is much busier. Most people will be using mobile devices in order to read your social content, and this means you have to work pretty hard in order to stop them from scrolling.
Each platform has its own character limit, so writing for social needs you to be able to write concisely. It takes a bit of practice, but there are some tricks that you can employ, like using images and graphics and making good use of hashtags.
Thinking a little bit more about hashtags, they are sometimes misunderstood. In simple terms hashtags get your posts put on a searchable list. For example, if someone is searching for a photographer, they are likely to look up #photographer. If you’ve used that tag, you’ll come up in their search.
Do your research
Writing content can be hard work, but the trick is to look at the platforms you’re writing for as different things and adapt accordingly.
Have a look at how others in your industry are using content, and then do something different to make yourself stand out. Ask yourself ‘How you can I do it better?
And if you still feel a bit overwhelmed by it all, get in touch. I do this stuff every day – I’d be happy to help you.