A professional and effective digital content writer can be a hard thing to find. But if you can find one that suits your business and your digital marketing strategy, they can add a lot of value.
Content marketing is a powerful way to generate awareness for your business. It can bring people to your website and build your brand as an authoritative, credible voice in your industry.
But there’s a massive void between good and bad content. Writing a blog for the sake of it just doesn’t compare to a professional digital content writer creating an effective piece of content that delivers value for your business.
So what does a content writer do to create brilliant content? Well, here’s few tips.
Take a research first approach
Firstly, as with all content marketing projects, you must take a research first approach. Search engine optimisation is core to successful blog posts that deliver a return on investment. After all, no matter how good the blog, it will only get read if it can be found.
So, to get it visible on a search engine results page, you need to understand what people are searching for. Use Google’s Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool to find a phrase that:
— Is relevant to your business, brand, product or service
— Is getting a decent number of searches per month
— Has relatively low competition
On that final point, the Keyword Planner does give an indication of competitiveness, but this is more for the paid search space rather than the organic listings. Your best bet to figure out the level of competition around a particular phrase is to simply Google it (in incognito mode) and see what results appear. If the top 4 or 5 listings are from websites that are bigger than yours and look like they’re targeting your chosen phrase, steer clear. If the listings look a little light, you’ve found an opportunity.
Understand your topic
The research doesn’t stop there, however. Once you know what you’re going to write about, you need to truly understand what you’re going to write about.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can only write about things that you’re an expert on. It just means you need to do your research and educate yourself to a point where you can confidently write about the chosen topic.
Some sure-fire ways to find the right information are:
— Consult with experts, whether inside your marketing team, within the wider business, or outside your organisation
— Conduct desk-based research — the Internet is full of information
— Find credible sources you can link to as supporting content
Content writers can never do too much research. The more thorough and informative your article, the more credible it is to your readers.
Keep your writing simple
Once you’ve completed your research then you’re ready to start writing.
One of the key things to remember at this stage is to not overcomplicate your content with fancy writing.
In fact, Google values content that’s accessible for a wider audience. That means creating content that can be read and understood not only by academics, but also by those who are less literate.
Avoid complex words and long sentences. Don’t use a passive voice. Avoid repetition and padding. Use transition words, like the ones in the table below:
|Relation||Example of transition words|
|Enumeration||first of all, also, another, furthermore, finally|
|Cause||because, so, due to, for the reason that|
|Comparison/contrast||similarly, likewise, rather, while, in contrast|
|Conclusion||as a result, hence, consequently, therefore|
|Fuzzy signals||seems like, maybe, probably, almost|
|Emphasis||above all, most noteworthy, certainly, even more|
Many SEO plugins (like Yoast or SmartCrawl) will include the tools to measure your readability. One of the key metrics used to measure it is called the Flesch Reading Ease score. As a guide, try to aim for a score of at least 60 on this.
Don’t sell to your reader
Furthermore, don’t turn your blog into a sales pitch. Your readers are looking for an answer to their query, not to buy your product or service.
But don’t think that your business won’t benefit from content marketing. By answering their question in a thorough and comprehensive manner, you’re building your brand as an authority within your industry. And as a result, they’ll come back time and time again for more answers.
By building this relationship with them, they’ll come to you in time when they’re ready to buy.
That’s not to say you can’t drop in the odd hint here and there (we do content marketing, don’t you know!) but do try to keep it relevant to the blog. For example, you could reference a project that you’ve completed that adds weight to your argument.
Make your content thorough
Google values thorough content, and there’s plenty of evidence that long-form content outperforms short-form.
But that doesn’t mean that you should pad your articles out with lots of unnecessary nonsense. It means that you should write something comprehensive that conclusively answers the query.
Sometimes that will end up as a 1,200-word blog, but sometimes that might be a 500-word blog. Either is acceptable, as long as you’ve answered the query.
Spend twice as long promoting it
Finally, if you or your digital content writer has spent 5 hours writing the blog, spend 10 more promoting it.
A blog will take some months to climb the organic listings. During that time, you can help it on its way by getting it seen through other channels. Some of my tips would include:
— Share it across all your social media channels
— Share it again a few days later (and keep sharing it every so often)
— Post it into relevant Facebook groups
— Send it to relevant influencers who might be interested in reading and sharing it
— Encourage your staff to share it with their professional networks
There are several ways to get the word out. In time, however, Google will hopefully give you a decent listing. When this happens, you can benefit from regular organic traffic.
Becoming a digital content writer
Whether you’re looking to write content internally within your content team or reach out to work with a digital content writer, making sure you or they adhere to these simple guidelines will be vital to producing effective content.