How To Write Good Articles on SavvySME
As a business owner, you've probably heard or been told that you need to jump on the content marketing bandwagon. Sure, it’s easy. You just need to write a few articles, send some cool emails and make posters that can go viral, preferably with cute puppies and babies.
Unfortunately, content marketing is a long-term game. But you shouldn’t give up before trying because all it takes is setting aside a few hours a week to learn, plan and produce your content.
As a SavvySME member, you already have a head start in the game. Your articles are accessible to over 20,000 business owners and entrepreneurs in Australia.
How do you write good content?
In this blog post, we’ll get down to the basics of a good article. Before that, I need to remind you of this cardinal rule:
This is not an avenue for you to advertise your product or service.
Remember those blinking neon coloured online ads in the 90s that took up your whole screen? No, we’re not about that.
You’re here to produce content to educate, entertain and inspire your readers. Now, let’s get started.
Rule #1: Know your target reader
Who are you writing for?
If you answered, “someone interested in what I have to say”, then you need to step away from your laptop and take a deep breath. Although your content is available online for anyone, it should speak to your target reader personally.
And when I say you must know your target reader, I don’t mean a generic label either. Start with your market research or buyer persona. If you’re a B2B company, your target reader shouldn’t just be “small business owners”.
It could be:
- Business owners, aged 25 to 50 years old, that have started a business in the last 1-5 years.
- They hardly have time to shave or cook dinner because they work alone or have a small team.
- Their bottom line may be causing them to seriously question their existence or cancel their Christmas getaway.
- You may find them at cafes or social gatherings, working intermittently on their phones.
- They consume general and business news, mostly through social media feeds, on top of viral puppy videos.
Rule #2: Create original and niche topics
This is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t fully outsource your content. Your thoughts and experience are what make your content original. That freelance writer from Vietnam may not fully understand about how to network in a room full of big wigs, or tell the difference between rugby, footy or soccer – actually, who does?
Use your wisdom and experience to ask:
“What do you want your target readers to learn from this?”
If you’ve figured out who your target reader or buyer persona is, this job becomes a lot easier. You could easily end up with 3 months’ worth of niche content in your plan. If you’re busy, you can outsource the job to good writers.
Say it with me, “Good writers.”
There are several types of tools to help you generate ideas when you’ve hit a writer’s block:
BuzzSumo Content Research
1. Tools for finding hot topics:
2. Tools for ideas based on keywords:
3. Search engines: Type away and find suggested or popular searches
4. Jump on online communities such as Quora, our Q&A section or any forums to find out what people are asking
Rule #3: Craft a punchy title
Your title is almost like your pricing. If you’ve ever spent time drumming about your product and then have your prospects bolt for the door after you told them the price, then you know what I’m talking about.
Your headline helps a reader decide whether what you are trying to say is of value to them. This rule applies to every single content you put out there: ads, emails, posters, infographic, videos.
If your content is original, writing a title comes naturally. Your title should strike an emotional chord with readers.
Free tools that rate your title’s pull factor:
Rule #4: Make it easy to read…
You don’t have to be a Hemingway or a Dickens to write compelling content. The ubiquity of social media and online content have produced a side effect in society: an immunisation against long-winded fluff.
- Get straight to the point. Cut the bull. Hit the nail on the head as early as possible in the article. You get what I mean.
- Use simple words and even shorter sentences.
- Use an active voice as they are easier to read.
- Keep your paragraphs short with just 2-3 sentences.
- Your article should be easy to read even for a school kid. There are two rating systems called the Flesch-Kincaid readability score and the Flesch Reading Ease that tell you how readable your text is. You can enable this feature in Microsoft Word.
Rule #5: And easier to scan
There’s another side effect to this out-of-control World Wide Web. People don’t read as much as scan an article nowadays.
- Highlight your main points. Change the font size, italicise, underline or bold them
- Use bullet points, lists and tables when necessary.
- Break up your block of text with rich content: images, videos, infographics, quotes, etc.
Tip: If you can convey your message without using text, do that instead.
Rule #6: Back it up
Links are good in your article, especially if you are referencing a study, research or survey. It helps build your credibility and the trustworthiness of your content.
It’s also highly useful for readers who want to learn more about a new idea, system, term or noun you’ve just introduced. Instead of leaving your article to google something, they have everything they need in your article.
This article by MOZ, the leading authority in SEO, explains how linking adds value to your article for readers and search engines.
Rule #7: Make it personal
If it suits your target reader, it’s okay to write with a different tone. You can slip in a little humour, or share a personal experience if it will help get your point across. Personal stories help us connect to each other and they make you stand out among a sea of content.
Rule #8: Edit, edit, edit
Most people put off writing because they think they don’t have what it takes. But your first draft is supposed to be bad. If you don’t believe me, ask Hemingway.
All you need to start is to type away. Revise your first draft to get the second draft. Rinse and repeat until you are satisfied.
Get a second opinion in your company if it helps. Lastly, always proofread for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Rule #9: Sharing is caring
You need to give your content some legs. Share it in your online network or among your clients. If you’ve followed rule 1 to 8, then someone will find your content of excellent value and share it.
Rinse and repeat until you achieve world domination.
Tip: Repurpose your content. Slice and dice the important bits into bite-sized social media posts, or compile all the good ones into a slide or a video.