“Content is king.” This is an old expression dating back to 1996 (ancient history where the Internet is concerned). This point was repeated in an article by Bill Gates. Gates tells us where he believes the Internet is heading, and stressed the importance of using quality content in posts. He predicted that content creation would be what drives profit on the Internet. While we now know that the most successful Internet businesses turned out to be retailers and social media platforms, Bill was mostly correct. Content is still pretty darn important.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of information to attract reader interest and drive potential customers to a website. It’s one of my favorite ways to convert new clients online, and I always encourage my clients to try content marketing themselves.
Creating compelling content is critical for every online business. It doesn’t matter if you sell bird seed or repair classic cars. Without great content, you won’t be able to drive customers to your website.
Seven Tips for Creating Killer Content
- Speak it before writing it. Many people are intimidated when it comes to writing, yet they have no problem speaking their ideas. That’s why one of the best ways to prepare when writing any article is to first explain to someone what you plan to write. Not only will this help you plan out logical flow, but discover if more research is required. It also helps to prevent “writers’ block.”
- It all starts with the headline. You’ve certainly spent time reading terrible articles because of their great headlines. However, no one has ever read a great article because of a bad headline. A good headline will make readers stop browsing and click on your article. Write the shortest headline possible with the strongest language you can think of to accurately summarize the content.
- Create something special. If you want people to finish reading your article, the content must be important to them. Just what makes an article special is up for debate, but I’ve found my best-performing articles are the ones that:
- Explore a relevant, but not overdone topic. Try to stay away from topics that cover popular issues.
- Present a unique viewpoint and personality. Readers will respond to articles that take a clear stance on a subject, even if it differs from their own. This is especially true if the article is written in a way that reveals the writer’s personality.
- Stick to your topic. It’s easy to get off track when writing. That’s why it’s important to first develop an outline of the points you want to cover. I know that some hate to do this. If so, try writing the final paragraph first. This way you know the direction you’re heading before you start to write.
- It’s a blog, not a book. Many new writers make the mistake of trying to share all the information they know about a subject in a single post. This is a mistake. No one has time to read extremely long posts. It’s a good idea to limit your article to 1,000 words or less. If you have any more to say about the same subject, create a blog series.
- Use guideposts. Make it as easy as possible for your reader to follow your ideas. You can do this by using subheadings and bullet points to stress the most important points. Long blocks of text are hard to read, especially online. You should use short paragraphs and include plenty of white space.
- Start strong and finish strong. Two paragraphs in your article matter more than all the others — The first and the last. A strong introductory paragraph sets the mood for the entire article, and convinces the reader to stick around. The conclusion better be strong because it’s your last chance to ensure your reader doesn’t walk away feeling like he wasted his time.
Writing is like any other skill. It takes time to learn how to write well. However, you can master it with practice. If you follow these seven tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a good content writer.