Let’s face it, most of the time when we sit down to create content for our businesses, we’re not really doing everything we need to do to drive the all-important clicks and shares. We spew words out quickly just to finish, so we have something, ANYTHING to post, no matter how bland the end result. Every once and a while we might put in a little extra effort if it’s a topic we’re really passionate about. But the truth is, good content can be written just as fast as bad content by simply improving headlines and writing skills. Here are 5 secrets I use when I need to take my content from blah to share-worthy.
5 Content Writing Tips You Need To Be Using:
1. Write actively.
One of the best ways to improve content writing skills is to hone in on the verbs. Erase all those boring “is”, “be”, “make” verbs that make content a yawnfest, and replace them with active verbs. It’s not about using big words no one will understand; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. Instead of using lengthy or obscure words, use common ones in a casual tone, but make sure they’re the type of verbs that ooze excitement and encourage ACTION. Action words move stories and articles forward so don’t skimp when it comes to editing. Replace your humdrum verbs with movers and shakers. Think of the thesaurus as your best friend. Avoid passive sentences as much as possible (where the subject receives the verb.) Most of this comes with practice, but a good way to implement this immediately is to go through your written content, circle the verbs, and replace them with stronger, more actionable ones.
2. Write to evoke curiosity.
Curiosity is what drives clicks and shares. Spend time coming up with a headline that tugs on your curiosity. To do this, you need to be curious about things yourself. Dive deeper into causes, how’s, and why’s about knowledge you’ve taken for granted in your industry. For example, if I’m a dog trainer, instead of writing about routines, I might write about WHY a dog reacts to a very specific thing. It might take some research, but by niching down information, and asking why’s, it’s likely you’ll be able to twist your headlines into one that creates curiosity. If YOU wonder why, somebody else might too.
3. Write informatively but not scholarly.
There’s a time and place to sound scholarly, but generally when it comes to sharing internet content, people just want easy reading. Sharing your wisdom with others is great in so many ways. You’re helping others out while creating content that’ll help you grow your brand. But here’s the thing, write content to help others, instead of to show them how much you know. In other words…
4. Write for your audience.
While you want to infuse your personality into your writing (please do!), when it comes to content, focus on your intended audience. What are your target audience’s wants/needs/ambitions? Use their struggles and goals to figure out what types of content they’ll find most appealing, and then write directly to them. Don’t be afraid to bring in emotion. People connect to emotion and if you’re lucky, that emotion will help them connect to your brand. Two ways to create sharable content: write about something the audience identifies with, and something that makes them laugh/cry/feel.
5. Write with SEO in mind.
Writing content that’ll get clicks isn’t just about social sharing. Make sure to research keyword phrases your audience searches for with tools like Google Trends, and format your blog with easy readability in mind. Break up large paragraphs and be sure to use headers and links. You can download my blog SEO checklist here.
When it comes to creating great content, ideas reign supreme. Research industry articles and see what other people are writing about to generate new ideas. Just be sure not to plagiarize.
Jamie Barber is a content marketing consultant, teaching content marketing strategies to business owners. For more content marketing tips, follow Matt and Jamie on Facebook.