With the billions of articles available on the Internet, it takes real effort to bring readers to your content. I’d like you to pause for a minute. Try to think back to the last time you saw an effective ad or article online. Now, think about all the terrible ads and articles that...
With the billions of articles available on the Internet, it takes real effort to bring readers to your content.
I’d like you to pause for a minute. Try to think back to the last time you saw an effective ad or article online. Now, think about all the terrible ads and articles that you’ve seen since.
The Internet is saturated with pages of content written in the hope of being noticed. If you look hard enough, you’ll find that there are forums, articles, and products for every hobby and interest under the sun.
With all of this content jostling for position, it’s safe to say it’s tough getting to the top. There’s a lot of theories on how to get ahead of the competition in search rankings and traffic. In all of these theories, there are a few common themes.
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In general, the best content is well written, informative, original, and regularly updated or revised. These are the bare bones of successful online content writing and just these alone will get you pretty far.
However, there’s still much more to be done. To get your content to the very peak of its potential, there are a few more things you need to focus on. Naturally, this will be different for every niche and market, but there are a few aspects of content creation that are universal.
Here are ten tips to help you make the most of your content and push yourself to the top of your field.
1. Don’t be More of the Same
This is one of the biggest issues that many blogs and articles suffer from. It’s easy to just skim a few sites and create an amalgamation of all of their ideas. However, there’s nothing original in this process, and your audience will notice.
Do some original research. Go deeper. Ask experts for their opinions and ideas. Above all, make sure what you’re writing is your own idea and not just a repetition of someone else’s.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend weeks looking for the next big thing in your field. Just take a new approach to something that’s been done before. Ingenuity and originality will get you much further in the long run.
2. Don’t Oversell
It’s a given that you want to write content that promotes a particular product or service. You want your brand to stand out, and that means making each of your offerings stand out, too. However, doing this in a dull or repetitive way will estrange your potential customers.
People are constantly inundated with ads and commercials. Most users will know when you’re trying to force a product on them and they’ll resist.
Instead, be subtle. Mention you used your product, but don’t offer praise or be biased towards it. Compare it honestly to competitors. At the core of this idea is one simple idea: show, not tell. People want to decide for themselves what’s best for them. Give them all the tools they need to make this decision on their own.
If you have some time, here’s a 15-minute lecture by Ben Steele on how to move and convince people by showing them instead of telling them.
Most people search Google because they need a solution to a problem they have. Instead of saying that your company will solve all their issues, show them that your product is the solution.
The best way to do this is through customer reviews, succinct and sincere posts, and honesty.
A customer or user will be far more easily influenced by an example of how a product works rather than just blatant promotion with nothing to back it up.
Have faith in your users and your product. Pandering or bias is something that many users will not take lightly. This behavior never benefits your content or site to include it.
After all, your audience is there to find a solution to their problem. Provide them with real answers to stand out from the crowd.
3. Update and Recycle Posts
In the modern world, particularly on the Internet, things get outdated fast. Even just a year can lead to an industry or product being changed or updated entirely.
Take cryptocurrency for example. Cryptocurrency is a highly popular yet dynamic field where you have to be on the cutting edge to be successful.
Even just a day or a week can make a world of a difference in the relevance of your site and posts.
That may seem like a niche example, but if you look at social media, video content, or even food trends you can see that many subjects are going in the same rapidly changing direction.
It can be pretty exhausting writing new posts to cover every new development. Instead, it’s often better to update older material. Maybe revisit an old article or post of yours and discuss what’s changed or developed since then.
If you’re stretched for time, you can often just recycle older posts into different formats to increase its value. A good way of doing this is by posting it on a different social media platform or discussing it through a different medium like a podcast or vlog.
Read More: How to Turn Your Blog Content Into Video
By recycling older ideas, you expose your article to more readers that weren’t there in the past. What’s more, you learn more about the topic and how you typically convey ideas. This self-reflection enables you to drastically improve your methodologies.
Never think that as soon as you’ve posted an article that it is set in stone. You can always reuse or rewrite past article to increase your site’s ability to stand out. However, make sure you keep this next point in mind.
4. Don’t State the Obvious
Repeating yourself or repeating other articles is the fastest way to make your content and site look old, irrelevant, and out of its depth.
Don’t insult your audience’s intelligence. This goes back to showing and not telling as well. Assume that if they’ve found your page then they’re at least going to know the basics of what you’re writing about.
For example, if you’re writing a post about baseball, don’t start explaining the rules of the game. Anyone who reads the article will just find this demeaning. Also, it will probably make you look like you’re not sure of what you’re talking about.
It’s important to remember that one of the most important commodities online is attention span. You want to keep your readers and users focused on your content for as long as possible. The easiest way for them to lose their attention or interest is for you to start discussing something they already know.
If you do feel like you need to clear up some points or basic information, make sure you have your facts right and make sure that your tone shows your knowledge of the subject.
This brings us to a key question: how do you attract attention to your site in the first place?
5. Create Attention-Grabbing Headlines
Headlines can make or break your content’s success. A lot of the time, people will only ever read your headline and then move on to the next topic or page.
On average, around 80% of people will read a page’s headline and then move on. According to Copyblogger, only about 20% of people actually read the rest of the content.
You have two options when it comes to creating headlines. The first method you can use is to make your title as succinct and informative as possible.
This method gives your reader as much information as possible and also gives them the impression that you’re an authority on the subject of the article.
The second method is to try and make the title as eye-catching and interesting as possible. A lot of sites approach this by making clickbait titles–which have worn out their welcome lately.
It may take a little more time, but a great headline is one of the best ways to boost your site’s traffic and authority.
For example, the other day I saw an article titled: “We’re All Going to Die“. Naturally, I clicked on the link immediately.
In the end, the article was about the possible effects of climate change on Earth in the next few decades. This alone is an interesting subject. Yet, it was the title that got me to first click on the link–not necessarily the subject itself.
This title was extraordinarily simple yet still encouraged me to figure out what the article was about. This should be the aim of any writer or content producer in order to improve and develop their site and product.
It helps to start writing with a title in place, but you can adjust or improve it as you write the piece.
Although the headline is the most important factor in getting people onto your site, an even bigger challenge is keeping them there.
6. Optimize Your Content Structure
Poor content design is the quickest way to lose readers, users, and potential customers.
Every site is different, and every site will have different needs when it comes to content placement. However, there are a few basic rules that you can follow to help improve your content structure.
The first way is to break up your content into paragraphs or line breaks so that it’s easier to read and digest for the reader. Also, make sure your sentences don’t run on too long.
Correctly used fonts and font sizes can also make a huge difference to your content structure. One of the most irritating things for many users is small font or content that is placed on a colorful background, making it illegible.
For more insight into content structure and design, here a few of our own guides on how to get started or improve your approach:
Your content is the heart of your work. Your website structure should be the backbone. To stretch this body metaphor even further, next we’ll talk about your site’s fluttering eyelashes.
7. Use Amazing Photographs
Great pictures are one of the easiest ways to improve the look and feel of your website. A bad photo with poor resolution is an easy way to make your site look like old garbage.
Images are powerful. Use them to create a welcoming and engaging site that customers will enjoy using and interacting with.
According to Seyens, half of the human brain is devoted to processing visual information. This is not surprising as writing has only been around for a fraction of humanity’s existence (around 7,000 years).
To add to this, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that photo advertisements can be 43% more persuasive than text-only content.
However, make sure that your images do not clash or obfuscate one another. The best way to learn how to do this is easy. Just scroll through popular Instagram feeds.
The most popular Instagram users spend hours organizing their profile to make it as appealing and attractive as possible. Learn from their addiction.
8. Be Personal
If you’re not enthusiastic about your writing, your readers won’t be enthusiastic about reading it. Audiences want to read a relatable story that excites them.
Integrate your personality into your writing, create a voice, tell a story, and be human. You get more conversions when you resonate with your audience.
Although keeping your voice and personality within your content is important, make sure it doesn’t take over the whole piece. Ensure that your own opinions and ideas don’t overshadow the work itself. This is one of the quickest ways to make your content seem self-indulgent, biased, or even lazy. Afterall, writing things in our natural, conversational tone is often a product of just the first draft.
In general, when writing, plan on writing at least three drafts.
Write the first draft and leave it alone for a day. Then, take another crack at it. Again, allow a little time and space to grow between you and your writing. Then, when it’s final draft time, sit down to write confidently. Now, you’ll have plenty of material, time, and familiarity to work with.
One of the best methods for enhancing your voice in your work is by writing about what you love. Articles written by someone with an interest in a subject are almost always better than one written by someone who doesn’t care in the slightest what they’re writing about.
This brings us to a topic which has the potential to ruin your site’s reputation.
9. Check Your Facts
In the modern world of Google, there is no excuse for being wrong or incorrect in an article. Even Wikipedia is no longer as dubious as it was five years ago.
Take some time to fully research your work and make sure that all the statements and facts you made are correct.
Check and double check your content to make sure you’ve got your facts right. After this, check your content once more just to make sure.
Nothing kills your content faster than wrong information.
If you’re having an issue finding the right information or a source online, ask someone. There are thousands of dedicated sites and forums out there with people willing to answer questions about anything under the sun.
One takeaway from every point so far: give yourself plenty of time.
You want time for multiple drafts and time for outside sources to return your queries.
As an example, I once needed to find out the difference between laminar and lamellar, which I didn’t know the first thing about. I had some issues finding some trustworthy sites to use so I asked the question on a dedicated forum.
Within minutes I had multiple responses. Some even came from professors and Ph.D. students–all overwhelming me with information about the subject.
For those of you are curious as to what the difference is between laminar and lamellar, there isn’t any. For those of you who are curious as to what these things are, don’t be–it’s a method of armor crafting.
The best and most reliable way of earning your audience’s trust is with compelling facts. If you’re seen as an authority in your field you will be guaranteed a stable level of traffic for as long as you remain informed and relevant.
10. Don’t Focus on Length Only
It’s true that content length can help considerably with your site’s visibility and ranking online. Typically, for complex topics whose prime keywords you want to rank for, write at least 1,500 words.
However, don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Although you might get a better ranking at first, people will see pretty quickly that your site is inundated with filler and irrelevant content.
The best way to achieve gradual and reliable growth for your site is to create high-quality content that’s of a good length and doesn’t try to fluff itself up.
Think of yourself reading a content piece. You’re far more likely to read a short, succinct, and informative article than an excessively long post that never really gets to the core of the issue.
Tying it All Together
These are ten tips which will consistently help you improve your content writing skills and your site’s authority and ranking. Remember, don’t pander to your audience or insult their intelligence.
Get your facts straight and put a personal, original spin on ideas. Do this and you’re guaranteed to see a noticeable difference in your site’s engagement.
Above all, be patient with your content. Growth rarely happens overnight, but it will happen if you’re consistent, persistent, and dedicated to producing high-quality and well-researched content.
What are your content-writing fundamentals? Are there any practices that you’ve had success with?
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