Become a Successful Content Writer
Content marketing is about information, not about forcing a sales pitch at people but helping them decide the best course of action. Content marketing uses podcasts, video, social media sites, infographics, and blogs as a vehicle to move creative and valuable information from your business to potential customers/consumers.
Remember when we discussed the importance of keyword research? While that still applies to content writing, we want to focus our content on being audience-centric instead keyword-centric. Think about it like this: If you were to ask your customer service representatives for a list of the most frequently asked questions, it is likely that none of them will be keyword-centric. This proves that you want to write content that answers questions about your products and not just search-driven mush that they can find anywhere on the web. You’re the expert. Prove it through your content strategy. Content is the heart of what we do as marketers: we communicate with our clients and what we say to them, regardless of form or forum, is our content.
Creating newsworthy and readable content can help your business in both tangible and intangible ways. For example, solid content can increase your site traffic, improve your SEO efforts, and help direct conversions to your product or services. These types of results are tangible and you can actually see the fruits of your labor; however, intangible outcomes can include respect as an authority on your subject matter, team coordination to create content, and even indirect customer conversions.
Creating content is not easy. We recommend answering the following questions before generating new content:
- Who is my audience?
- What are their needs?
- What types of content do they want to read?
- What unique expertise can we offer them?
The key to content writing is connecting to your audience and the best way to do this is to create intersections between what the readers need and your expertise.
The Writing Process
The writing process is different for everyone. Some people (okay, me…) sit down without a plan and just write and wish for the best while others must have an exact plan before they even begin. There isn’t a right or wrong way, but if I were to teach others how to write, I would suggest that they follow the following structure. First, remember that writing is a process. Second, break down the writing process into these steps:
- Fill in the outline (first draft)
- Rewrite and finish
- Development (meaning to develop/format the page and how you would like to present the content)
- Peer Review
- Write a catchy and informative headline
- Plug in your SEO
- Final Edit
Getting the first draft out on paper is the hardest part because that is where the real creating must happen. Once your first draft is nailed down, the rest of the steps are pretty easy especially since you’ve been completely immersed in your topic/research for a few days. Finding the time to sit down and write your content (if you don’t have a content writer at your company, consider hiring Momentum3 Growth for your content writing services!) can be a challenge. Try to set aside 15-30 one day to write a great outline then find another hour to fill the outline in. By day 3 or so, you should have a rough draft ready.
Best Practices for Content Marketing
Now that we understand the basics of content marketing and why we should do it, let’s discuss a few best practices that you can apply to your content marketing strategy.
- Give the reader what they want: Base your content off concrete evidence of what your website visitors are looking for when they stumbled upon your website. You can gather this information through Google AdWords or Google Search Console.
- Break the 4th Wall into your company: Providing a show and tell for your audience through storytelling, humor, or even photographs. Momentum3 has done this a few times with custom content like our Laverne and Shirley parody and our “Satisfy Your Customers” commercial.
- Interview: Interviewing important people within your company is a great way to build additional content.
- Q&A: Every company receives a variety of questions from their clients. Use these FAQs to help you build marketable content.
Writers Block: Ways to Conquer It
Ironically enough, I have been working on this blog for 2 weeks because writers block is a real struggle as a content writer. I recognize this struggle and thought I would offer you a few ways to either avoid the dreaded block or get through it to create great content:
Writer’s block often stems from timing issues, fear, and perfectionism. I know I struggle with the latter. I want to only publish perfect content and when trying to pre-plan and draft in my head, I often give up before I even begin. A great way to avoid falling into my cycle of doing things is to put pen to paper or hands to keyboard instead of just trying to perfect everything in your mind before you start. Fear is an issue for those who are concerned about what people may think or have to say about their work and timing can come down to it not being the time for you to draft the content you have in mind.
A few things you can do as a content writer to avoid writer’s block or Hulk-smash it to pieces are
- Do something other than write. Content writers typically wear many hats including their writing duties so take a break from writing and work on something else.
- Research your topic. Sometimes reading what other experts have to say on a certain topic will light a spark and give you the voice you were looking for.
- Stick to a routine. Plan to write for 30 minutes a day right after lunch or when you finish your morning coffee.
Content Writing Wrap-Up
A few final tips for creating marketable content and things that people want to read before we go:
- Know your audience well
- Know the goals of each piece of content you push out
- Be original and authentic
- Include calls to actions
- Make your content shareable
Finally, remember that your content represents your business and it is just another product that your potential customers consume before deciding about your company. Think about your customers’ problems, needs, and desires and aim your marketing goals in resolving their issues.
As always, Momentum3 Growth is the premier Tulsa Marketing Company and are here to help you with all your marketing needs including SEO and content creation. Our professionals will work with you or for you to build brand awareness and reach your business goals.