Anyone can write, right?
It’s true. If you’ve got a grasp of the language and, for argument’s sake, a pen and paper (yes, I’m old school), you can write. It might not be Shakespeare or the next Booker Prize winner, but it should be readable and make some sort of sense.
But what makes good content?
Well, what’s the purpose of it? Why are you writing it?
Is it to inform the reader? Do you want your content to sell your product? Ultimately, it’s about engaging your audience and making them do whatever it is you want them to.
You can have the most informative piece of content in the world, but if it’s full of jargon and dry as sand on a Ryvita, your audience is likely to switch off.
I’ve written and edited all sorts of content in my time – from very corporate documents to social media posts about International Dog Day (everyone loves a picture of a cute puppy!) and everything in between.
Know your audience
The one thing you need to remember when writing any sort of content is…your audience. If it’s a board paper, you probably want to keep it quite corporate and steer clear of the puns.
I tend to write how I speak. I’m a fan of contractions (words, not labour pains!) but I know that’s not everyone’s style, so I adapt my tone of voice depending on the audience I’m writing for.
Writing content is easier when you’re passionate about the subject, so I find it a doddle when I write about chocolate or cake! But when I have to write about something I have no interest in or know nothing about, I put myself in the audience’s shoes. What do they want or need to know? What will make them want to buy the product or share the content?
With so much competition though, how do you make your content stand out from your competitors for the right reasons?
Top tips for writing good content
Create a catchy headline – your headline should give the audience a taster of what the piece is about without being cryptic. And if you can get a pun in there (without being misleading) or even just some alliteration, then you get 500 bonus points!
Cut the fluff – why use five sentences when two will do? Stick to the point and save yourself and your audience time. And don’t use over-complicated words for the sake of it. Remember the acronym KISS - keep it simple, stupid!
Keep sentences and paragraphs short – big chunks of text put people off. Use sub-headings and bullets to break up text and don’t be scared of punctuation…a comma can be your best friend!
Word perfect – it goes without saying that good content should be error free. Read it back to yourself and, if you can, ask someone else to look over it. You can often get too close to what you write and can’t for the life of you see the typo in paragraph five!
Make sure it’s relevant to the reader – it goes back to knowing your audience and how you want them to react to your content. By all means talk about something topical, like the weather, but make sure you bring it back to your product or service. For instance, if you’re a mechanic, write a social media post about the wet weather we’ve been having and encourage people to come to your garage to get their windscreen wipers replaced.
So, what's my purpose for writing this blog I hear you ask?
To hopefully give you a sense that I have a vague idea what I'm talking about when it comes to content writing.
To show a bit of my personality and get you thinking what a thoroughly awesome person I am; the perfect candidate for your next content project.
To make you want to read to the end in the hope you'll find a quick link to the 'Get in touch' page so you can send me a message to say how much you'd like to work with me.
I look forward to working with you too ;-)