Growing your business means scaling and figuring out how to manage all of the moving parts. In the midst of refining your product or service, serving customers, and hiring team members for your expanding organization, you might not have had the chance to create a dedicated content marketing team.
Regardless, you understand the value of content, which means you need it and someone has to create it. That responsibility might fall on you—at least some of the time.
Maybe you can’t stand writing or perhaps you don’t mind it but you have zero time to dedicate to content production. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, content marketing takes a lot of time and energy. These content writing tips are here to support your cause.
1. Create an Outline
Before you even put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), it’s best to create an outline so you know exactly where you’re going and what points you need to discuss.
Before I sit down to write for a client, they usually provide me with a brief that outlines all of the important aspects that’ll go into creating a specific blog post. You can do the same. Create a brief outline of everything you want to accomplish with whatever you’re writing, whether it’s a blog post or website content.
2. Keep It Short and Sweet
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make with content creation is thinking they have to go on and on to get their point across. Truth is, you really don’t. In fact, it’s better to get right to the point.
People have shorter attention spans—the average attention span is only 12 seconds. So you’ve got to do more to get and keep their attention when writing. There are countless distractions, which is why it’s your job to entice them to the point that they literally can’t…stop…reading.
And how do you do that?
Write for short attention spans. People respond better to short chunks of information. When writing content for your website or blog, remember to keep it short and sweet, simple but informative.
3. Write Like You Speak
If you really want your content to come across conversationally and connect with your audience, you need to speak their language. Writing the way you speak shows people your humanity and it also humanizes your brand.
So do it.
Kind of like I am here.
But seriously, if you write the way you’d speak to your best friend or family member, you really connect with your audience in authentic ways. Just remember to be true to yourself, always experiment, and have fun with words.
4. Break Up Large Blocks of Text
One thing people hate to see when they click on a blog post they’ve landed on is a page full of huge chunky paragraphs with no sub-headers in sight. It’s a big ugly mess and no one wants to sift through that. Remember, people are busy so less friction is the way to go.
To make it easier on your readers, break up large paragraphs using H2 and H3 sub-headers (and H4 if you need them). Bullet points and numbered lists are another must-have. The goal is to make sure your reader easily scans information and quickly finds what they need.
Also break up large paragraphs into shorter easily digestible paragraphs. No more than three sentences to a paragraph is a good rule to follow. One-line sentences are always encouraged, but use them in moderation to avoid a choppy reading experience.
5. Stick to Your Strengths
Let’s face it. As much as we all want to be great at everything, we can’t be. That’s just not how life works. Even if you’re great at writing social media posts, that doesn’t mean you’ll be equally great at writing email newsletters or website copy.
If you’re not the best at it, it’s not the end of the world. Write what you can, stick to your strengths, and outsource the rest.
6. Find Your Voice
When most people start writing content, it’s hard for them to find and capture their brand voice. You don’t know what to say or how to say it. Over time, you’ll get better at figuring out what to say based on your unique tone and what your brand is trying to convey.
Finding your brand voice means determining who you’re writing for (i.e. millennials, Gen Z) and writing in a way that connects with that audience. But it also means finding a way to express your brand’s message in a unique way that resonates with your target audience.
An important step in capturing your brand voice is developing buyer personas. Create a unique persona for each of your ideal customers. Your number of personas should be 3-5…no more, no less.
7. Write More Often
As a kid, your mother might’ve told you “practice makes perfect.” While your writing might not be perfect, it will certainly improve. The more you write, the better writer you’ll become.
Write as often as you can. Practice writing things you’ve never written before and you’ll be well on your way to crafting better content. Regular practice helps you create content faster too.
8. Stop Trying to Sound Smart
Another mistake rookie content creators make is trying to sound too smart. They might talk down to their audience or use vocabulary that’s a bit over the top.
For instance, they might use sophisticated words when a simpler word would’ve been enough. And avoid jargon at all costs…you know, if you want people to actually know what you’re talking about.
When writing to your audience, just be cool and use the words you use in everyday language.
9. Show Your Personality
Remember how I told you to write the way you speak? This is where that’s really going to come into play. Inject life into your content by letting your personality come out in the content you write.
If you’re not funny in real life, this isn’t the time to write like a comedian. Maybe you’re a natural-born storyteller instead, so bring stories right into the intros of your blog content.
Find ways to connect with your audience and really fine-tune your brand personality. Learn the art of brand storytelling and you’ll have customers taking notice of your product or service, trusting your brand, and engaging more with your content.
10. Create a Clear Call to Action
Every piece of content you create should have a clear call to action (CTA). The call to action should either create scarcity, create excitement or anticipation, or set a deadline.
Writing this way makes it much more likely that you’ll get people to click on your CTA button. If you want this prospect to schedule a product demo or contact your team, make it enticing.
Content creation isn’t impossible to do once you’ve got a few tricks up your sleeve. Keep practicing to improve your skills. And remember, you can always outsource whatever you can’t write yourself.
Superneat Marketing is here to support your content marketing efforts all the way.