Content writing is the process of researching, planning, outlining, writing, editing, and publishing content.
Content writing is a broad term that encompasses writing various types of content, primarily for online publication.
Types of content include:
Content writing is different from “copywriting,” which focuses on selling people on benefits of products and services and converting them through persuasive language. Copywriting is often used on landing pages and ad copy.
Content writing is more focused on providing content that tends to be more educational.
Though the line is often blurred, and many people use copywriting and content writing interchangeably.
Content writing is essential as it helps form a connection between a business and its customers.
There are many purposes for content writing, but fundamentally it comes down to providing value to a specific audience, answering their questions, and educating them on various topics.
Content writing matters because it helps deliver valuable information to an audience and encourages them to spend more time on your website. Written content also helps develops a relationship with an audience, increasing brand awareness.
What differentiates lousy content from good content?
It helps to start by defining the purpose of content, which is to engage an audience.
We can measure whether a piece of content engages an audience through key performance indicators (KPIs).
Content KPIs include:
These metrics are strongly correlated with the “success” of content.
If people are spending more time reading your content, linking to it, sharing it on social media, and engaging with it and its call-to-actions (CTAs), then this is a clear sign that your content is good.
If your content is “bad,” the opposite would be true — no social shares, no backlinks, high bounce rates, low session duration times, and no conversions.
Again, “good content” is subjective in terms of the message itself.
But from a business perspective, KPIs give a clear indication of whether your content is performing.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
– Albert Einstein
Keep your writing simple.
If you can say the same thing using a smaller and more simple word, then do so.
Today, people struggle to stay engaged. Using overly complex language without reason is not helpful, neither for your reader nor for your content’s performance.
That said context matters. Write to your target audience.
If your target audience is medical doctors, then you will naturally write more technical content, as this is more appropriate. But regardless of who you’re writing to, aim to simplify what you’re saying.
Less is more. Try to get your point across with fewer words.
Make your content more actionable. To do this, use examples often, focus on how “how” more, and include clear call-to-actions.
The headline is a crucial part of your content because it largely determines whether someone will click on your content.
If your headline is dull, dry, and doesn’t accurately represent the content itself, then you won’t achieve get as many social shares, backlinks, and general engagement as you could.
Here are some tips to write great headlines:
Don’t obsess over the length of your headlines. 50 to 60 characters will do just fine.
Instead, focus on communicating what’s “to come” after they click on your content.
Make it clear this is the content they’re looking for. But don’t reveal too much so that they aren’t enticed to click and find out more.
You must write original content.
Yes, you can include studies and statistics that have been mentioned in other places (be sure to properly cite them!).
But when it comes to writing the content itself, don’t be afraid to write in your unique voice and style. You’re not a robot, after all, and neither are your readers (for now).
People resonate with original content and can quickly tell when what they’re reading is “re-spun.”
Writing a content outline helps you understand, from the very beginning, what the purpose of your content is, what you’re going to cover, and the structure your content will follow.
You can always change your outline later, but it’s a great idea to start with one so you go in with some sort of plan.
First, come up with a title, and then create subheadings that take your future readers through a journey of the information they want to read.
Try to make your content “digestible.”
Someone shouldn’t necessarily have to read all of your content to get what they want.
Most people “skim read” to find the most relevant piece of information they’re looking for.
Make life easier for your readers and make your content accessible.
To do this:
Millions of posts are published daily. To stand out, you should be doing everything you can to add credibility to your content.
The easiest way to do this is to have your content written by experts. Having experts write your content is especially important for “YMYL” (Your Money or Your Life) topics, such as personal finance and health.
If you’re writing content that discusses CBD and cancer, be sure to have a qualified individual write this content, such as a Ph.D. biomedical scientist who has expertise in cancer research.
Expert content is more important than ever, for search engines and for the trust of your audience.
Try to use less “Is” and more “Yous.”
Make sure every single sentence you write is focused on the reader.
When you write a sentence, re-read it, and ask yourself, would this be compelling if I was the person reading this? Would I find it engaging if I was them? Is it focused on their true needs?
If you’re not focusing on the reader, solving their problems, and adding value to their lives, and instead, you’re endlessly talking about your services and products, they will get bored, and leave.
Center the content you write on providing people with the information they genuinely care about, not what you think they care about.
Using a keyword research tool is helpful to get an insight into what people are searching.
Content full of spelling and grammatical mistakes is clearly not a good look. These mistakes reflect poorly on your brand and it’s bad for user experience.
If you’re planning on publishing hundreds of blog posts, then yes, there will be a few spelling mistakes. It’s hard to be 100% perfect.
But try your best to be 99% perfect. Hiring a professional editor is a great start.
A good editor can help you ensure your content is free of spelling and grammatical mistakes. While a great editor will also improve the flow of your writing, double-check for factual inaccuracies and logical inconsistencies.
Content writing is a fantastic way to engage your audience, grow your online presence, and increase your traffic.
There are many forms of content, all with various purposes, pros, and cons.
But the following the 10 content writing tips above will help ensure you write great content, regardless of the type you are creating.
If you’re considering writing content for your website, then do it! It takes time to get results, but it’s a great long-term investment.