Content writing has exploded as a market thanks to the invention of inbound marketing. It's a great way for businesses to reach out and connect to their customers, and a great way for new copywriters to get experience in Internet advertising. Whether you're looking to write your own blog for your business, or looking to do write content professionally, you have to start somewhere.
So, here is a simple guide to the basics of how to write content – what the purpose is, what goes into it, and how to connect with future customers.
Why You Write Content
Content marketing was invented when it became clear that the old, “pushy” style of advertising really didn't work well on the Internet. People didn't want pop-ups and banner ads flashing at them like billboards on the old information superhighway. They wanted to have more control over how they received advertisements, and how they learned about new companies.
What worked instead was to harness the power of search engines to guide people to you. The most common use for a search engine is to look for information on a certain topic. In fact, according to Pew Research, over 40% of all Americans use a search engine every day. So, if you can position your website so it's a top result when people run searches related to your company, you'll catch their eye. If your information is good\interesting\informative, they'll stick around, read more of what you have to say, and hopefully buy something.
The Elements of Content Writing
While content writing is very similar to copywriting in many ways, there are a couple important differences.
Keywords: Keywords are at the heart of writing content. Keywords are important words and phrases that relate to your business, which you try to work into the article several times. A pet store, for example, would want to try to rank well for “dog food” and would write articles on topics like “What is the best dog food for a healthy coat?” Then they'd get seen by people searching for something like that phrase. Google has a good free keyword tool if you need help finding keywords.
Links: Links to both your own pages and to external websites are highly important when writing content. You want to include internal links within your articles to other places on your website, and other related pieces of content, to encourage people to keep reading your material. You also want to try link building from quality websites by writing the best articles possible.
Interaction: One good way to get people to return to a blog is to get good conversations going. Your content should aim to provoke a response from readers, such as talking back your website's forum. Consider including direct questions to the reader to try to get them to engage with you.
Tips On How To Write Content Well
Write to the reader. Fundamentally, as they say, content is king. Your content needs to be something that people honestly want to read. If you don't have that, no one's going to buy.
Write to solve a problem. You might be describing how to operate the products you make, or talking about issues in the industry that need to be addressed. Either way, most of the best content writing aims to solve a problem that someone has.
Use keywords and variations. If you're writing about lawyers in Nebraska, don't just write “lawyers in Nebraska” a dozen times. Try to vary it up with “Nebraska lawyers,” “attorneys in Nebraska,” and soforth.
Be relatively informal. You'll need to match your writing voice to the image you want for your branding, but avoid being stuffy. Write to a layman audience and try to be inviting.
What other tips helped you when you were first starting to get into content writing? Share your stories!