10 Elements of Exceptional Content Writing
Want to write awesome content in minutes? This is the article for you. Here are the top 10 elements which we consider central to exceptional content writing. If you’re writing copy for the first time, or a content marketing genius wanting to polish your skills, read on.
10 Elements of Exceptional Content Writing
1. Add value
Seriously, if you’re expecting someone to read it, give them something they don’t already have. When writing copy, always keep your audience in your line of sight and write for them. This means thinking carefully about how you can add value.
Think about what you have that your reader wants.
It may be as straight forward as a product offer. It may be information on how to use that product in different ways. It could be an insightful idea which they won’t have considered. It could be tips to help them out. Perhaps you have freebies to give (a webinar or eBook, for example).
2. Know what keywords to use, and what to do with them
You may think you know which keywords to target. However, chances are those ones are saturated and you’re going to struggle to make headway. Instead, get some keyword research done. Then target some keywords which are more unique to your offering.
Next, read up on how to use keywords when writing copy. Most importantly you need to know how to use them without stuffing or making it sound unnatural. You need good flow where keywords don’t stand out like Rudolph’s nose.
3. Don’t check it yourself
When writing copy, you absolutely cannot be your own final proof-reader. Your mind will nicely paint the picture it created in the first place. It won’t offer any clues as to whether your reader really doesn’t know what you’re on about.
Yes, you can probably do a good enough job of checking spelling and grammar. But when it comes to readability and a final check, get a third party to read it. For this reason, at The Content Ninja, all content is proofread by an independent freelance writer in addition to the author.
4. Set the tone
So much comes in to play when picking your tone of voice and style. Again, think of your audience. Also think of your brand’s personality. Try to keep your tone of voice and style similar throughout all of your content marketing.
Think of how you would speak to customers if you met them in person. Are you ultra-formal and professional? Are you fun and quirky? Are you educational? Take what your customers expect and match that in your writing style.
5. Be consistent
Whilst we’re at it, your content needs to be rock solidly consistent. Your ultimate aim is to build up a loyal readership. They will come to have their own expectations. If one moment your content is incredible, and then in the next, you’ve forgotten how to spell, they aren’t going to be impressed.
Therefore, only take on writing copy when you have the time and ability to do an awesome job of it. Realistically, bad copy can be more harmful than no copy.
6. Use links
Links are like little beacons of light doing you all sorts of favours. First up, external hyperlinks to your sources make you credible. They tell your audience that you fact check and care about giving them good informative stuff. It’s also just polite to the rest of the internet world. What’s more, they can help you get backlinks which are super powerful for SEO.
Secondly, links within your content to other pages of your own content help too. They tell your reader where they can get the exact information they are after.
7. Chop it up
See the first paragraph of point 6? Bit long isn’t it? Perfectly good paragraph if you were writing an English essay for school. You’re not.
Reading on the web requires immense scanning. Make this easier by chopping up your text. Keep sentences and paragraphs short.
If you want a rule of thumb: 3 line paragraphs are top notch.
8. Nail that first line
Let’s back up a minute. Remember your audience is easily bored and fickle. They need to know that this is where their answers lie. This needs to happen definitely in the first paragraph, ideally in the first line.
Consider the first sentence as the hook when you are writing copy. Without it, you cannot hope to reel them in.
9. Avoid selling
Yes, we really are saying that. When writing copy, avoid the hard sell. Your customer isn’t stupid but they are cynical. They don’t want the hard sell; they do want to be informed.
It is possible to write content which sells without straight up selling. In fact, it’s the most powerful form of selling there is. Tell someone what’s good about something and they will want to find out more. They will become a customer out of their own choice.
These readers also then go on to be the best sharers of your content. They do it because you didn’t hit them hard, but did give them what they wanted.
10. Make it exceptional
Ok, so we’re cheating a little here. But really, this is vital: make it exceptional. Don’t start out if you don’t have time to do a fabulous job. It’ll do you no favours.
You need to make sure that your content marketing absolutely zings. Writing rushed copy won’t work. So, take your time, follow the tips above, and make your content ‘wow’.
If you don’t have the time or the skills then don’t despair. Shop for content and writing copy has truly never been so easy.
Image source Flickr
Chris Brown is a talented copywriter who is also owner of The Content Ninja. Chris wants everyone to be able to access the tools needed to make their business shine.