Content writing has to perform, and perform well, if it is going to work for you. Words must cut through millions of pages, push past the competition and leap onto the podium, basking in glory for all to survey. It’s a tricky business. There’s a lot to consider and whilst writing well may come naturally, the ever-changing dark art of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), must be learned, and practised continuously. The best words in the world are no good at all if they are sat at the back of the crowd.
1. What’s your purpose?
As with any writing, keep the purpose at the forefront of your mind, in fact, keep it on a post it note stuck to the top of your screen. If you aren’t clear, how will your reader be. Why are you writing? What is your point? Get to the point quickly, and stay there.
2. Who are you writing for?
Know your audience, I mean, really know them. How old are they? What do they like? What do they not like? Where do they shop? What do they buy? How much time do they have? What are their interests? What do they need? As in any conversation, your tone and style will change according to whom you are speaking with.
3. What are you writing about?
Know your products/services ‘like the back of your hand’, your audience needs to trust you and trust that you know what you are talking about. Bring it to life, make it shine.
4. Speak with your audience
Make your writing about them, about the benefits they will gain by choosing what you are offering. Speak with them as individuals, make them feel you are talking only to them. Ask questions, attract them to your words and make them want to stay (I told you it was tricky). They need to feel engaged, entertained, informed, wanted and at least a little bit loved.
5. Address the need
Illustrate through words and beautiful images exactly how your offering addresses their need. How does it provide the solution they are looking for. This isn’t just a case of listing a pile of benefits, this is about using words to place a product firmly into the reader’s hands and letting them FEEL the reasons why they MUST have it.
6. Close the deal
Remembering the purpose, make it easy for your reader to take the next step, ‘walk with them’ to the ‘buy now’ button (which could be called so many other things) or give them every chance to pick up the phone, you are there for them. Their life would be improved if they do (assuming you are indeed, speaking to the right audience!).
7. Check it, re-check it, check it again
Poor spelling and grammar will make you look more than a bit silly. The trust you have built up with your audience will come crashing down with the furst silly speeling misteak. Rightly or wrongly, errors like this look unprofessional and give the impression you don’t know what you are doing. You might be brilliant at what you do, it’s a shame to lose customers for such a silly reason as looking amateur.
Running a business is tough; new challenges arise everyday and it is an increasingly competitive market place. Play to your strengths and spend your valuable time wisely. If writing content is ‘not your thing’, give that job to a specialist, it’s an investment in your future.