Do you want to create great website content that engages people? Content that encourages them to take a desired action?
But you’re not really sure how to get started?
This post has been written to give some basic but very necessary guidelines around creating content and will hopefully help you avoid content mistakes.
It has been created to help you to understand what is important about crafting quality content and to inspire and give you the confidence to go forth and write. While these processes are necessary for your content to be found in search, the most important thing is to just get started.
The shape, visual appearance and tone of your content requires a certain amount of attention from you.
If you give consideration to the quality and structure of your content, the finished result will have the desired impact. If not, you run the risk of disengagement with your audience and you will have lost an opportunity.
If you have taken the time to create and produce attractive content by carefully crafting your words don’t let the structure and appearance of your work let you down.
View your content as a representation of how you feel about your work and make sure the overall structure and headings are congruent with the topic you are writing about.
Keep your paragraphs short – your audience doesn’t want to read a big block of text… no matter how good it is.
Create headings, sub-heading, graphs, diagrams, use bullet points, lists, numbers, italics, different fonts and formats and make good use of images. Link out to other high quality sites where appropriate.
If your content looks good on opening, chances are your readers will stay with you throughout the post and share it with others.
It doesn’t matter how good your content is, it will only attract attention if the tone of voice is right for the audience you want to capture.
Tone is how you speak to your visitors, how you convey your thoughts and how you get your message across through your choice of words. The intonation of your content is how others perceive you and whether or not your content will resonate with them.
Develop your own personal style of writing
Don’t copy someone else as you have our own unique voice and when you speak with honesty and experience, your own voice will be obvious and convincing.
Google with it’s sophisticated algorithm is able to detect whether content is unique or has been copied… and republishing content from elsewhere offers very little value and stealing other people’s content… is illegal!
Approach your content with this in mind and you will be off to a good start:
Write as if you are having a conversation over a drink, a friendly chat between two friends
It’s that simple.
You don’t have to have to use gimmicks if that doesn’t reflect your personality.
You can use stories from your own experience which are more engaging, persuasive and likely to be remembered and retold over and over.
Your tone should always come across as warm and friendly.
Every time you sit down to write think about how you can educate and create value with your copy.
“Why waste a sentence saying nothing?” Seth Godin
Always be honest – it shows through when you are not.
Don’t be scared to have a voice!
Your business has people in it…not robots… let your personality shine through!
Remember… you know your specific niche more than anyone else does. You ARE the expert!
Your audience will see you not as someone who makes mistakes and is waiting to be criticized, but someone who is honest enough to share their learnings with others – this creates trust!
If you want to be outlandish with your copy and invite controversy, you need to have the confidence to pull this off and document the proof to back up your claims.
Whatever form or voice your copy has, make it your own and let it represent how you think.
When you create content you want to influence people and get them to take notice by affecting their emotions in some way.
We can all relate to success, failure, happiness, insecurities, achievement, etc. and if you can invoke an emotion with your audience, they will identify more with you and your story. And you will engage them…
This is one sure way to get your content shared.
There is a tried and true formula if you are unsure how to write a great title and it also helps with the structure of your post.
As an example a title might look like this:
‘6 important lessons learned in 30 years of business’
The formula for this title is:
1. Numbered list
Here’s how it works:
Numbered list = 6
Topic = important lessons learned
Qualifying = in 30 years of business
If you are ever unsure of how to create an effective title, use this formula.
50% of your time should go into writing content and the remaining 50% in creating the headline
Great titles do three things:
- they make a promise
- they provide intrigue
- they identify a need or introduce the content
This is the key to good content as you have to lure your readers in very quickly.
You know yourself what makes you take notice and how a great headline will make you stop, click and read.
If you can’t win them with a compelling title, they will never get to read the post you have laboured over!
Don’t skimp on this as it’s worth getting it right
Gripping headlines attract readers and search engines love them.
If you have captured your audience attention with your amazing headline, your introduction had better deliver as well. Here is where you establish quickly what the post is about and why they should read it – give them something to keep them engrossed and motivated enough to keep reading.
Create sub headings
As well as helping to break up blocks of text, sub headings are also directly related to effective SEO.
Headings and sub headings add interest to the post and enable your audience to quickly scan through and decide whether it has enough value for them to read more.
Make sure the paragraph that follows the heading delivers on what the sub heading suggests. If headings are structured well and clearly identify what’s going to follow you will pull your readers in.
Body of post
Here is where you start to tell your story, giving detail and value… all the time remembering to stay on track.
Don’t waffle on about nothing and labour the point. No-one’s got time for wafflers!
“Make it simple, make it memorable, make it inviting to look at and make it fun to read.” Leo Burnett
And think about what will attract your readers. Find out what their pain points are, how your services can help, provide them with solutions, always giving value.
Write a minimum of 500 words and know that more is better and is much more likely to be shared.
If someone in your industry has written an insightful piece, you can reference it and use a quote from their post.
This is where you can have some fun.
Include an image early on in the post if it works and try to make it stand out.
Try to be imaginative and stimulate the reader with relevant, interesting images.
They don’t have to be expensive, look for images that are around 2-3 credits which is only a couple of dollars. You can also use screenshots in your post to break it up and a video or SlideShare. The more visual content you have in your post the more appeal it has to a varied audience.
So many brands create content and try to cover everything, instead of focusing on the core niche that they can position themselves as an expert around. No one cares about your special recipe. No one cares about your iPad review, that has nothing to do with marketing … Find your niche, and then go even more niche. Joe Pulizzi
Your customers are searching online every minute of the day, looking for solutions to their problems…
They are reading blogs, checking social platforms, asking friends and family for recommendations and comparing prices with different vendors…
Provide them with helpful resources and don’t miss out on opportunities to gain new customers. Make it easy for them!
Double check your headline
Last of all, go back and make doubly sure you are happy with your headline.
Does it work with your post?
Is it enticing?
Has it evoked an emotion?
Would YOU be stimulated enough to find out more from this headline?
If not, keep going until you get it.
This is the coup d’état, the raison d’être or however else you want to say it… the beauty of content.
Content marketing is a significant part of your marketing strategy or as it is now called – inbound marketing.
Here are just a few of the benefits of content marketing:
- introduces your business to a new audience
- establishes you as an authority in your industry
- provides potential clients with insights and information that help them understand complex problems in their industry
- builds long term relationships
- builds a valuable audience who have trust and confidence in you
- makes a personal connection with your potential clients
- will be shared through multiple channels if you have done your job correctly
- builds an online presence and brand visibility
- gives you an advantage over your competitors
- establishes the author as a thought leader in their specialist area
- boosts the visibility of an author’s personal brand
Every piece of content you write will help to establish and build loyalty to your brand and gain the respect of your audience
Midge Hand is a Co-founder and Director of High Profile Enterprises. Midge is one of only around 50 Copyblogger Media Certified Content Marketers and is the only one in New Zealand. When away from the demands of running High Profile Enterprises, Midge enjoys time with family, cooking for friends, Pilates and paddle boarding. This year her new challenge is to learn to play the melodica.