Anyone here at Active Internet Marketing will tell you that coming up with new content is one of the best parts of the job. It does, however, take time and effort to develop ideas into pieces of content that users will actually want to read.
In this article, we’ve put together a checklist of sorts that you can employ to improve your own writing straight away.
Pick A Suitable Title
People who spend a lot of time writing content will probably tell you that coming up with a title is the most difficult and frustrating part of the whole process. They’re not wrong; a title needs to tick a lot of boxes. A good title will:
- Hook the reader, enticing them to click through to your website
- Make your content stand out from the crowd
- Be closely related to the subject of your content
- Be optimised for your chosen keywords
If you aren’t careful, creating a title can swallow up a significant amount of time. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be such a time sink. The best titles all use the same tricks to garner more clicks and views. Take a look at some strong titles below:
- A Guide to Writing Content That People Actually Want to Read
- How To Absorb More Information When Reading Non-Fiction
- 5 Top Tips to Make Yourself Happier This Summer
- Why Do Fossil Fuels Cause Global Warming?
- Which Videogames Are Best To Play At Halloween?
Chances are you’re very familiar with these kinds of titles. The reason you see them so often is because they work. Let’s break some common titles down in more detail:
- Who/What/Why/When/How titles work extremely well because they match the thought process users are having when they type in a query. Beginning your title with one of these words makes your content far more likely to appeal to somebody who needs a specific question answering,
- Numerical titles work exceptionally well for two reasons. Firstly, humans love things to be ordered and categorised; it’s one of the reasons we’ve come as far as we have. Secondly, most users sadly have very short attention spans, so the promise of bite size, digestible sections within a piece of content will appeal to the masses.
- ‘How To’ titles have the same strengths as a ‘Who/What/Why’ title. They promise the user that they’ll be taught a new skill, and that they’ll leave with something tangible and practical.
There are, of course, many other types of titles that work extremely well. We could sit here for hours, digging into the psyche of the human brain. The above, however, are fantastic starting points for whenever you feel stuck.
User First, Google Second
Many of us get caught up with trying to ensure that our content is fully optimised for Google. Yet, by doing this, we actually harm our content by impacting its quality and ranking potential. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
Of course, properly optimising content is important (and we’ve got plenty of articles about it), but the most tried and tested way of encouraging people to engage is by writing with your audience in mind. We should create content for the user first, and Google second.
So how can we ensure we’re putting the user first? Here are some tips you can follow:
- Know and understand your target audience
- Research your content – make it informative, useful, and accurate
- Don’t overpush sales; save it for your CTA
- Respect your reader’s time; get to the point and don’t fill your content with fluff
- Check everything makes sense!
Google constantly tells us that the best way of driving traffic is to create high quality content. Whether that’s true or not, it’s still a good practice to follow.
Make It Current and Unique
It’s important that you don’t simply tread on old ground when you’re creating content. If you’re in a niche industry then it’s fairly easy to come up with original ideas, but in more crowded markets you might find it more difficult to create something fresh.
That being said, it’s possible to tackle the same subject in more ways than one. You can approach a subject from a new angle, or even produce content in a different form. If another writer has already covered the subject you wanted to write about, go through this rival’s work and pick out all the flaws. This process allows you to see what they’ve done wrong and what they could have improved on, and give you plenty of ideas to write a better, fresher piece.
One way to ensure your content is original is to keep up with current news and trends within your industry. By staying up to date, you can immediately get cracking on any new developments and start ranking before your competitors. Additionally, staying actively engaged within your industry will help you develop your knowledge and authority within the field, resulting in some creative ideas that those with less understanding wouldn’t be able to think of.
If you’re truly struggling to come up with something original (it happens to the best of us), check out our article about ways to find content ideas.
Check, Double Check, And Triple Check For Errors
This goes without saying, but it’s imperative that you read through your work numerous times before publishing it online. Any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or misuses of punctuation should be ironed out. If you can, ask a colleague to proofread for you, as two sets of eyes are always better than one.
As well as the obvious reasons for proofreading, you’ll want to ensure that your content is structurally sound, too. A piece with a confusing or incoherent structure can really turn users off, and stop them from reading to the end. It even could prevent them from returning to your website in the future.
When you’re proofreading your content, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are my H2s in an order that makes sense?
- Does each point flow properly on to the next?
- Are any sentences too long?
- Could any longer paragraphs be split into two?
- Does my content have clear opening and closing paragraphs?
If the answer to any of the questions is ‘no’, then take some time to improve. It’ll not only make that piece of content stronger, but make you a better writer, too.
Active Internet Marketing
We’ve written hundreds and hundreds of articles and blog posts for our clients over the years, so we’ve picked up a lot of tips and tricks along the way. Strong, consistent content is often a big part of any SEO strategy. When done right, content marketing can bring your website a tonne of traffic, and ultimately lead to conversions.