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There are no hard and fast rules for quality content but there are many tips to write effective content. ‘Content’ is a blanket word for many types of writing. Being one of the most upcoming skills, and career choices, content writing has its own requirements which when fulfilled can lead to a promising career with loads of benefits.
What Are The different forms of Content Writing?
There are many types of content. From ebooks to blogs, newsletters to Instagram/Facebook posts, content writing is diverse and is marketed too. Let us see the various facets of content writing and learn how to improve these skills.
Creating blog posts is the most common category of content writing. Search engines are constantly putting out fresh content and focus on SEO ranking to boost views to stay visible. The right choice of keywords and a good title are important for any blog. Many blogs focus on a niche product, service or information. The need to be well researched and answer questions with a wide variety of topics such as education, online services, creative skills and have a good writing style. Blogs are informal and aim to educate, inform and entertain.
The blog is short for “Weblog”. It is run b either an individual or any small group with a conversational writing style. There are four types of common blogs: Personal blogs, Business blogs, Affiliate blogs and Niche blogs
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The term “Copywriting” involves writing that used to influence. Website copy, advertisements, product descriptions, sales pitches, media as in print ads, and also infographics. It calls for a great deal of creativity as it has to be designed strategically and understand the target audience well enough to make the right pitch to call to action.
This type of writing creates the brand and is what can influence future customers. With social media, digital print, taking over different copies can be targeted at different audiences. It is said that even a boring product can sell like hotcakes if the copy is interesting.
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Any technical information is shared in a written form it can be called Technical writing.
Technical writing though seems challenging, it is effectively written if you are well versed with your business and products. This includes all documentation of technical processes, ebooks, white papers, user manuals and is not limited to it. Technical briefs, press releases, emails also are a form of it.
Since its to do with writing some technical jargon, a simple comprehensible style of writing will have a better understanding by the audience. The demand for technical writing is on the rise and is one of the most coveted skills of the century.
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Social Media Posts
Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter, the tech-savvy generation is on them all. Internet web-based apps, content by users, digital videos, photos, posts comments and all data brought up in online interactions can be termed as Social Media. There is hardly any business or individual who is not on social media.
Social media content demands crisp and relevant writing for a busy audience. Understanding the audience is very important. Consistent and useful posts create a loyal following. The more the following, the more the popularity.
Each of these apps have their own content – Twitter has a word limit of a few characters, Linkedin is more of a professional space. Nowadays posts are exchanged among all these apps, so planning content keeping this in view, helps.
Competitions, Polls and Surveys, videos, infographics, live streams are used to keep the audience engaged on social media.
Though emails are a type of copywriting they are focused on an audience that knows your brand. Long time customers, loyal fans can be approached with offers for newly launched products. Latest updates can be sent through regular newsletters or can be given subscription offers. The focus is to retain and engage your customers.
Videos are great for easy understanding, effective marketing as they can demonstrate the products or services through ads. Video content has a huge following as it caters to the less literate audience. Moreover, the visual impact is higher as compared to written content. If they are blended it has a powerful outreach. Videos can be on many topics – event pre-promotion, entertainment, education, enlightenment, interviews, case studies, reviews and much more.
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Skills a Content Writer Needs
Understanding the subject matter is of utmost importance. You need to know the products, company, services well. If you lack conviction, it shows in the writing. Consistent efforts are needed to improve writing as well as research skills. For selecting the right headers check how the topic is commented upon on Twitter or Instagram.
Handle criticism and feedback positively. Keep improving. Sometimes you will need to take the opinion of subject experts. Focus on how useful the content would be to the readers and not just fill it with unnecessary jargon.
Guidelines to generate effective content
A Catchy Headline.
An interesting headline will take the reader to the rest of the content. The headline should inspire an idea or stir an emotion. It may be an answer to a query someone is searching for, which drives them to read the entire topic. Effective headlines are traffic-driving machines. It should not be something vague but focused and able to create a hook to grab the readers’ attention.
Short and crispy headlines are a hit.
Some tips for attention-grabbing headlines are:
Avoid passive voice
Avoid long sentences
Make it specific
Use a unique headline and a simple one, not the ones used already
Use the Headline Analyser tool to check how your headline scores on the web.
Content research is finding relevant data to be added in your writing that helps enhance the effect of the content written. You should have good knowledge about the topic, more so in the B2B market. A well-researched topic has a greater audience response. Statistics, infographics, data and surveys are done are added into writing upon research. This increases your trustworthiness and backs your writing.
Research is needed to know the type of audience you are creating content for. You get to know your competitors and can plan to be unique. Proper research help create a brand image for the company and promotes visibility on social media. Research for keywords and frequently asked questions.
The best places for research online are Buzzsomo, Google search, DuckDuckGo, Bing and Quora.
Study your audience
The audience is anyone who reads our content, for whom it is designed. Knowing your audience helps optimize your content for them – what they are exactly looking for? Is your content answering their queries?
Understand the demographics of the audience, their age, location, income, gender, learning, family, engagements on media. This helps to know the needs and challenges of the consumer.
Research helps understand your audience better – what they share and like on social media and how they engage Avoid profanity and tread carefully with humour. Link to blogs, websites to help the reader find more information on what they are looking for.
Write For Easy Reading – on digital media too
Conversational English helps a wide audience understand your content. Use the right words without compromising on the technicality of a topic. Writing in the first person or the second person helps create a better connection.
In this fast-paced world, people do not have time to read and find the point you are trying to put across. So state your point quickly as readers tend to skip words.
Using short paragraphs, bulleted lists, coloured letters, bolded text and links enhances readability. Long words can be replaced with shorter words such as using ‘copy’ instate of ‘replicate’.
Check the sentence structure
The written sentence readability can be analysed as it has a huge effect on the audience. The Hemingway App gives elaborate feedback on sentence formatting and structure with many suggestions. The Readability Test Tool checks for the complexity of text and grades it too.
Use Links Effectively
Always and always link to relevant information. If you mention a website do not make the reader go and look for it. Ensure you li it so that there is easy navigation of the topic and relevant, related information.
A visitor on average spends 30 seconds on any one page. If it does not grab attention or lead to relevant links you will lose traffic. You can add part of your sentence as a link to make it more contextual instead of using “click here”
Know and Follow Fair Usage
Content writers frequently use other’s content. Using quotation marks and citing the source is not enough. The content may have restrictions of being used for commercial purpose. Especially if the work is copyrighted. It may cause legal troubles.
Keeping a limit on the length of the original source is advised. Quoting from books are a bit easier. If you quote 300 words from a 150-page book, it should be fine. Lyrics, poems are short and have more restrictions for usage. Reading the usage rights is very important before publishing the final content. Some usage may need legal counsel.
If you credit the source as per their instruction there would be no hassles. There are many online websites that offer free to use images such as Unsplash, Pexels and have no tags attached. At the most, you are asked and not compelled to cite the source.
FOCUS On The Topic
Identify the goal of writing before you begin and the core message, you want to convey. Then you create the hooks around this message so that it focuses on the topic and its goal throughout the content.
Clarity and focus on the key points in the writing helps readers find what they want rather than drop your content and look elsewhere. If there are related but irrelevant-at-the-point topics, they can be shared as links and the reader can decide if he wants to detour on continue browsing your topic.
Own your voice
The content you present in writing reflects the tone/voice of your company and must be uncommon. This voice can be aligned to the target audience, the existing and potential customers. It is also important for the business brand values and persona. The voice can be authoritative, intellectual or friendly and personify the mission statement.
It is healthy to take a stock of where you stand as an individual or a business. The best way to do this is to analyse your competition especially the main ones. Check out what’s working for them and what is not and should be avoided. Browse their blogs, online presence, product descriptions, social media reach and email newsletters. How are they treating their target audience?
Buzzsumo or ahrefs are sites where you can type any URL to examine what content is working best for your competitors. SEM Rush is another useful tool for checking competitor performance online. It displays the organic keywords they’re currently listing for, traffic volume with landing pages.
Compare this with your own site to come to a knowledgeable decision about how to improve your level of competition online, based purely on content.
Make sure you optimize Digital Content.
The more easily readable/scannable your website is, the better the traffic. Short paragraphs, short sentences and bulleted lists make content reader-friendly. This content should digitally be optimized for search engines by using some SEO tools.
Use the latest SEO content strategies such as enhancing page loading speed, creating high-quality content, using outbound links, influencer marketing and optimizing your images.
Edit re-edit Your Work.
After the first draft, check how you can make the content more effective. Many a time, with multiple edits content, shows great improvements. Analyse the use of keywords, SEO strategy and links whether they have been used widely across the content. Spelling and grammar errors can be reviewed with the Grammarly app. Also, check if you are using the same voice throughout as using different voices may confuse the readers.
To get better at Content Writing and crack its secrets these books on content writing are rated as among the best.
The best way to know what to write is write what you know. Comb through the niche of subjects you are familiar and comfortable with or feel strongly about.
Research for keywords on topics most searched for and there you can find something to write about. Some tips may be useful to figure this: Brainstorm for ideas, read randomly, listing useful keywords and looking for questions on search engines.
Analytics tools such as Google Analytics analyses the traffic flow, demographics reached page views and bounces. Sometimes when ads are targeted or posts boosted you can see the impact and revenue generated.
You can find out what content is striving—and what is not—so you can constantly improve and develop your content writing skills. Content Writing courses help you to understand the workings of the digital arena and how to increase the content’s effect.
What Does the Hiring Team Look for in a Content Writer Applicant?
Preferred is a Bachelor’s degree in communications, English, Journalism or Marketing.
Experiencein content writing or copywriting.
Proficiency in all Documentation software such as MS Word, Google Docs.
A portfolio with published articles.
The customer is more interested in solving the problem or a challenge than your product, whether personal or organisational. Content answers how they can find a solution in their product or services by presenting evidences, genuinity and experience in doing so.
Users dont just read through every letter. They scroll or scan through and only consume catchy or colourful content. Dull and heavy text is skipped by due to time constraints. Nueroroscience suggests interactive text stimulates the brain. It is like the are hooked to a story. Users will come back for more and share/like the content that triggers more interaction.
Content strategy is creating a road map that will allow you to set realistic goals for your content so that it reaches the right audience and generates views or revenue.
Your strategic roadmap may have these:
Funds/hours allotted to content creation & delivery; content goals or types; overall timeline and content review & audit time.
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