“Content is king”, goes a famous saying. As someone associated with content in any capacity, e.g. as a blog writer, copywriter, content writer, content marketer or a web development firm managing a company website, this oft-cited quote will not be unknown to you. Now, this post is not about validating the assertion of content being king. That is arguably established. Rather, the post is about taking a step back and delving into what all it takes to create a compelling copy that sparks the interest of your readers, drives them into action and positively influences their perception of your brand. Here are 7 writing tips that can help you craft an engaging piece that not only converts your prospects but also builds trust in your readership.
1. Lay the groundwork for a compelling copy – know your audience
Writing content that can keep your audience hooked is easier said than done because it’s not just about putting pen to paper. There’s a lot of preparation that needs to go into the writing process before your content can arrest the attention of its readers. First and foremost, you need to identify who you are trying to reach out to through your content i.e. your target audience. Invest time and effort in knowing more about your audience – who are they, what interests them, what their pain points are and what information or solutions they may be looking for when they land up your site. By gathering insights into the demographics, preferences and needs of your visitors early on, you will be in a better position to customise your content in a way that comes across as relatable, relevant and useful to your target audience.
2. Define the concept, gist and layout of your content up front
Another vital point to consider in the context of content preparation is content architecture. Before you start writing enthusiastically, set aside some time to ideate the concept and then jot down what you intend to convey in simple bullet points. This will help you stay on track with your writing and ensure your post does not lose out on its continuity or logical flow by way of sporadic jumps from one thought to another. It is also important that you define the layout of your content up front so that your blog or article does not end up with a cluttered look and feel.
3. Conduct research where necessary to create content that adds value to the readers
Limiting your writing to a specific domain or genre can lead to boredom, which will invariably reflect in your content at some point. Don’t let monotony creep into your posts. Aim for versatility in your writing by trying your hand at diverse topics across domains and industries. Even if you are not well versed in a specific subject, you can more than make up your lack of knowledge or awareness by conducting some solid research on your chosen topic. Go online and look up similar topics penned by other writers to garner their perspectives. By doing so, you can amass invaluable insights that you may have missed out. Incorporate these new findings into your article while giving the write-up your own spin. When you back up your content with quality research, you are more likely to come up with a read that is informative and shareable.
4. Tailor your content and writing style according to the subject and platform
When it comes to content, a one-size-fits-all approach will fail to get you the desired results. Different subjects and platforms necessitate the adoption of specific types of content and writing styles. For example, guest blogs and research-based posts tend to be exhaustive. Hence, long-form blog posts are apt for them. On the contrary, listicles are more suited to a light-hearted, fun read. The Associated Press (AP) style, while perfect for news writing, may not ideal for a fashion or beauty blog that demands a more conversational tone.
If you are into technical or business writing, an expository style will work for you. However, the same style will fall short for copywriting that requires a blend of story-telling and persuasive writing. When maintaining a personal blog, an emotion-based writing style can make you come across as relatable to your readers. Plus, it can help your audience develop a personal connection with your brand and gradually transform your followers into brand evangelists.
Creating captivating content also requires you to alter your content based on the platform where you will be publishing your posts. If your target audience is active on Instagram or Facebook, high-resolution visuals are recommended to engage them. A podcast will be your go-to option when attempting to reach out to your audience via audio. If you are writing a product review, a persuasive writing style and the use of images can help you drive the point home effectively. Remember that no matter what type of content you create, it is important to stamp your individuality on it by retaining your unique voice and distinctive style of writing throughout your write-up.
5. Brevity and clarity can win the day for you
Even before your content can achieve the aspirational goal of converting your prospects, it must fulfil its basic purpose of successfully conveying your message to your readers. For that, your content must be easily understood by your readers and should be concise enough to hold their short attention spans. Clarity, with respect to thoughts, words and content structuring, is also of utmost importance. Your readers should not have a hard time trying to decode the underlying meaning of your content. And they should not find themselves confused or lost amidst a complicated and messy layout.
Opting for a layout with subheadings, writing short paragraphs and smaller sentences, mentioning key takeaways in bullets and sharing information in a list form (listicle) are a few of the tactics you can employ to convey your message without taxing your readers. At the end of the day, the objective of your content is to connect with your audience by giving them something insightful and refreshing to read. Hence, it pays to ensure your posts are easy to digest and cognitively less demanding.
6. Utilise visual content and visual aesthetics to enhance your content
This is a no-brainer really. Have you ever noticed how your attention is immediately drawn to static and moving images when browsing a blog or article featuring graphics and videos? Or how the use of white spaces makes your read less of a cognitive burden? It is a human tendency to gravitate towards things that are easy on the eyes and that can be consumed and assimilated without much effort. So, enhance the readability and comprehensibility of your content by looking beyond plain text. Make the most of videos, custom photography, infographics, illustrations, reaction GIFs etc. to explain complex concepts and drive important messages in a catchy and easily absorbable format.
7. Build trust in your readers by giving hyperbole and weasel words a miss
An objective and authoritative writing style is critical to compelling content. Lend authenticity to your write-ups by steering clear of hyperbole as much as possible. This is especially true of copywriting and review writing that demand a persuasive writing style, which many a writer tend to equate with exaggerations and tall claims. Avoid using modifiers such as “fantastic”, “excellent”, “best” and “extraordinary” on the fly. Remember that if something seems to be “too good to be true” to your readers, then that’s what it is in all likelihood. So, it will be wise of you to refrain from using an overly salesy tone and boastful language for substantiating or emphasising opinions and the correctness of your stance. By embracing a neutral tone in your posts, you can ensure your content is seen as less promotional and more factual by your readers.
Another technique that can earn you the trust of your readership is the citation of credible sources and avoidance of weasel words and phrases that inject an element of ambiguity into your content. Don’t try to project specificity through inconclusive statements. Your prospects are not on the lookout for vague information. They expect trustworthy content with a degree of authority to it. While words and phrases like “probably”, “somewhat”, “more likely”, “research shows”, “most people believe” etc. can leave room for deniability in your posts, they can also make your copy look weak and listless. Arguably, you cannot do away with such expressions completely. But you surely can try to use them in moderation so that you have the right balance of directness and politeness in your posts.
8. Optimise your content with the best possible keywords
Now that you know how to create a compelling copy, you need to focus on improving your copy’s online visibility i.e. making it search engine-friendly. With regards to content, keyword optimisation is like a cherry on top. It will help boost your blog’s or website’s ranking on search engines and aid in driving organic and qualified traffic to your posts. If you are not sure of how to research, analyse and choose the best keywords for your selected domain or business, entail the services of a professional company with expertise in SEO strategies. By collaborating with an experienced company, you can assure yourself of the desired results while concentrating on what you set out to do in the first place i.e. create a captivating and meaningful post that your readers will find worthy enough to share with others.