Content marketing. Write and they will come, Kevin Costner never said while he was making a big baseball field. And with good reason.
If only it were as simple as this. Unfortunately it’s not. Content marketing takes effort and strategy. But the good news is that with these 7 easy writing tips, you will instantly give your content marketing strategy a quick boost.
1. Speak directly to the reader.
No me. Not so much we. It’s all about “you.” Make the reader feel like you’re only talking to them and no one else. Oh and please avoid the horrible “you guys.” People don’t tend to read in a group. How about you guys?
2. Use lots of white space.
easier. Don’t you think?
Online writing and print are two very different beasts. A big block of text works in a newspaper. Not so much on a screen. Help your reader out and make your article more approachable with shorter paragraphs.
Don’t worry about the “right” rules of grammar (Cue grammar nerds everywhere losing their minds). If you know the rules, you can break them, and you can certainly break them online. Those rules are made for print.
3. Use one word and one line paragraphs.
If you want to make a word or sentence particularly impactful with the reader make it a lone wolf. It underlines importance. Just don’t go overboard with one or two-word paragraphs all over the place.
Less is more.
Plus it helps break up the page and invites the reader to read on. When you come to a huge paragraph of say, 10 to 15 lines on screen, you are statistically proven to be much less likely to read it compared with one of say, three to five lines.
4. Build trust before “selling” with reciprocity.
Nearly every company I’ve ever worked with on their content marketing strategy wants to promote their product from the get-go throughout their posts. Of course they do. They hire me and expect a return on investment. Promoting yourself seems like the logical thing to do, and to avoid doing so doesn’t just seem illogical, it seems expensive and pointless. But the thing is, content marketing is a long game. It requires a patient approach.
Why do people come to your blog? Is it to hear your sales pitch? Mmmm, unlikely. Is it because you provide entertaining, educational, informative content? Is it because you address and solve their pain points? More likely!
Help your reader first. Establish trust and rapport. Trust takes much longer than from the start of a single blog post to the end before your sales pitch and it’s proven that readers are by and large turned off immediately once they know they are being sold to.
This is difficult to do. It’s human nature to want instant returns. It goes back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ days of running around in a jungle trying to stick a big spear into a wild boar. But we don’t need to do that anymore. Our brains however, are still hardwired to want instant results. When you get the urge to “sell” your product or company, ask yourself, have I built a relationship with the reader yet? Am I confident that my call-to-action (CTA) will work?
One of Robert Ciadini’s principles for influence is reciprocity. This is the idea that if you give to someone, they feel compelled to return the favour. You feel bad if you don’t, right? Unless you’re Frank Underwood, who’s a big meanie.
If someone says “Bless you” when you sneeze, you reciprocate by saying thanks, right?
With content marketing, an example is education via your blog. You help out your reader. They reciprocate by sharing your piece and they give you their email by signing up to your blog feed.
You help them over time with say, an awesome email series (otherwise known as an autoresponder) and they are much more likely to buy from you once your sales team get in touch with them. Make sense?
5. Repeat for emphasis.
Repeat for emphasis.
Repeat for emphasis.
Repetition of an important point reinforcing it to the reader. But it comes with a warning. The key is to repeat in order to emphasise in a natural, flowing manner. The danger in repeating is, yep, you guessed it – sounding repetitive! Sounding repetitive will bore your reader and they will go to another website.
6. Use power action verbs.
Go, discover, grow, achieve, enhance, boost. These are all power action words that compel the reader to take action.
Compare “Achieve double-digit growth” as your blog signup CTA with “Blog signup.” Which do you think will get more signer uppers?
7. Sort out your funnel
OK, so this one is not specifically about writing, BUT it is so important to your content marketing process. Companies have been so eager to get a content marketing strategy going in recent years that they fail to properly define the entire process.
Usually they have an idea on the actual content production process but neglect the conversion step, which is up there with failing to have a PR strategy to accompany your content strategy.
Sales need to be fully on board. Marketing and Sales need to communicate well (the perpetual issue, right?). Because if not and if it isn’t seamless, your content marketing efforts will be in vain.
The final word
With these 7 easy writing tips, your content marketing results will improve. Stay tuned for more such posts with many more tips on good content writing and copywriting. Good luck!