There’s no denying it – Content is here to stay, which is music to my ears!
Marketing your business differently through your content is extremely important – how else will you stand out from the crowd, generate leads and boost your business?
Of course, some businesses can rely on referrals and word of mouth for their sales - and this is the best form of marketing because it comes straight from the horse’s mouth (as they say). When you have happy clients who are willing to pass on your details, you are on to a winner. But it’s not the case for all businesses. Content is a simple, effective and relatively inexpensive way to gain the trust of your customers so they fall in love with you and then buy from you.
This should be your priority when creating and promoting your content.
Did you know: 77 per cent of marketers increased content production last year? That’s according to LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community. And more than half of leading business bloggers hired help. (Curata)
Not only that, but 81 per cent of online users trust what bloggers say (Blogher). More than 60 per cent have made a purchase online based on a recommendation from a blog.
We already ready know that people buy from those they know, like and trust, and this is where your content comes into play.
With all of that in mind – here are five steps to wow your readers and have content-writing success.
The best content doesn’t happen by chance – there’s a strategy behind it. You must have a content plan. I know some people wig out when they see the word “strategy” but it really can be as simple as writing down in a spreadsheet what you can manage. For example, a blog, a video and daily Instagram pictures. Under each heading map out your formula for each one.
BLOG: Published on Tuesdays at 2pm and there are four sections (client question, biggest mistake, opinion piece and how to).
VIDEO: You do one video a week/fortnight/month on the hottest tip you have and post to YouTube and your website.
INSTA: You post daily to Instagram covering five areas (hot tip, hot product, selfie/something personal, blog pic and mention reading it on your website and a Friday funny).
I try to work a month in advance with my own content, so I spend a day a month writing all my blog posts, guest posts and social media content and scheduling them.
HOT TIP: Measure everything you’re doing to see what is working and what it not – and obviously, do more of what works!
2. Soul and Substance
Now, what to write about? Gathering ideas is one of the most fun elements to writing content. Just think about what’s happening in your industry. Any news? What about within your company? You can even pull content together about something funny that happened to you today. What’s happening in current affairs you can piggyback off? What’s a hot trend? What tips can you share? What are your clients asking you? Start to look for ideas and write them down so if you come to a roadblock you can just look at your ideas list and choose one to the write about.
Once you have a list of ideas, you need to write them in a way that keeps your readers wanting more, so they move from the headline to your first paragraph, from that paragraph to the next, all the way to your call to action.
Writing is by far my one true love. I have loved it ever since I was a little 4-year-old girl who penned her first book about a runaway $1 coin. It fell out of the owner’s pocket (mine I'd imagine) and rolled down into a drain before having drainpipe adventures with all sorts of underworld creatures before being washed out to the sea and finally ending up on a beach only to be found by a another little girl. It was a present for my Mum, which she kept for many years and I would read often. I asked her recently if she still had it because it could be a best seller, but it has been thrown out long ago. Mums can’t keep everything, right?!
Stories, that’s where it’s at. Story telling should be at the heart of your content because that’s what people remember and that’s what they share. Add stories to your content and watch what happens.
Apart from that, the simple structure to follow when it comes to your content writing is:
- Hot headline – no more than 10 words
- Captivating lead/sentence – use a story, anecdote, tip, trick, fact or inspirational quote.
- Body – expand on your story, add a how-to or a list of tips and keep it all very simple and easy to read with formatting like bullet points, bold, italics and sub-headers. Use your keywords throughout your copy.
- Call to action – the trend is to have several calls to action in your copy not just one at the end – these could be links to other pages that are helpful, a “get in touch with us now” button or a product that can be downloaded.
This is what makes your content sound like you. This is how you stand out. Find your unique writing voice. My best tip is to write how you speak. People want to get to know you and the person behind the business. This is why stories are so important. But using your own voice will help build trust. You must look at your spelling, grammar and punctuation too. A proofreader can help in this instance.
Of course, because we’re online, we can’t forget about Google, or should I say the search engines. Keywords and links are still as important as ever. So make sure you have keyword research done and use those words in your copy. Keep it natural though. Just a sprinkling; 4-5 max unless it is still natural when you read it and doesn’t feel like your stuffing them in for the sake of it.
Content … it’s not going anywhere. It will continue to change and evolve, but without content there is no internet. What a terrible thought!