Have you ever considered how to write content that brings sales and builds people’s interest in your product? Well, welcome. This post will explain everything you need to know. No, I haven’t said it will be easy or straightforward. However, if you bookmark this post and apply the ideas, you will start seeing results in a few months.
So, let’s start with why?
How to Write Better Content: Introduction to Content Writing
Below are a few things beginners need to know before they can write better content:
1. The purpose of your content is to create interest in your products
Content directly or indirectly educates, entertains, or informs your readers about your brand or product.
Every form of writing you do to achieve this purpose is content writing.
It’s consistent, defined, or specific in every aspect so that the right people can connect with it and take conscious action that helps you as a business person.
Anything other than making a selected group of people fall in love with the brand you represent isn’t only a waste of time. It’s a waste of resources, too.
Before you start writing a topic, think about your product. Then, write about topics that will benefit the readers and your business.
People don’t care about what you sell. So, the first thing you need to do is write something they find helpful to them.
Let’s say you design an app that helps people to be ten times more productive. The purpose of your content is to help people who need the app — developers, freelancers, and business executives. You can write about goal setting and how to work faster. Ensure that when you introduce your app at the end of the content, people will want to try it out.
Number 2 is how you get paid.
2. Know your audience
It’s the most important thing you can do before creating content.
You are not to impress yourself. You are meant to make an impression on the right people.
You can start by using tools (more about this below). You can join communities and social media groups where your ideal customers spend their time. Listen to the conversations. Carry out surveys to learn more about their problems.
When I was starting out as a content writer, a client gave me a content brief and a file that explained the type of audience they wanted to attract. I recommend this process to every business owner.
You can join the same communities where your audience hangs out online and offline. Contribute to the community. You will understand them better. This will not only help to write better content, but it will help in creating better products.
3. Know your competitors, too
Depending on your product or services, you need to know those killing it. So find them and find answers to these questions:
- What types of content are they creating?
- What content brings them the most traffic?
- What are they writing about, and for who?
You can find all these using tools like Ahref, Ubersuggest, Moz, Semrush, etc., or by performing keyword research.
After that, you need to be different. The competition is tough and will only get tougher with Artificial intelligence.
Can I either identify a new problem or be better at solving an existing one?Steph Smith
Spend time planning or identifying what’s unique about your content. How can you write what your buyers want to read in a unique way?
You usually can’t go wrong if you:
- Find a small circle of an audience out of the big one. (Example: instead of writing for “mothers,” you can focus on “stay-at-home mums,” “black single mums,” or “white single mums in a specific location.”)
- Become the smarter, funnier, more detailed (or any edge you have in the market) content writer.
- Use personal stories. People fall in love with other people more easily.
4. Write from the place of knowledge
The worst feeling a reader can experience about your content is, “man, I don’t think this guy knows what he’s writing about.”
So spend days on research if you have to.
I know you don’t have much time, but I’m writing for people who want to write better content. You can ignore this advice if you’ll rather reword another person’s blog post.
When readers visit your blog or click on your article, they should feel like they are getting an experience. Mostly, it’s enlightenment about a struggle they have. Then, they should feel empowered when they go back to their daily business. So, include actions, talk about ideas, and things they can do. Don’t just rant.
5. Be original/creative
I once bookmarked a blog post. Years later, I couldn’t find it when I searched for it. I didn’t cry, but right then, the tear was close. I wish I’d saved it in pdf format before the website went down.
Aim to become that kind of content writer—the best place to learn about a topic.
Otherwise, you can spin someone else’s article. I love this: I won’t need to bookmark or return to yours. Or when I lose your posts, I can find the one you spun.
Before you write something, ask yourself three critical questions:
- Has someone written about it before?
- How can I write something better?
- What will make mine special?
Of course, you can ask these critical questions after knowing your audience, aka, who needs this the most?
6. Find your audience
Remember, content writing is about writing content that helps a specific audience. But the audience needs to see what you have written, or else they won’t even know you exist. So, you need to find those who need you.
You need other skills such as:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content distribution
- Everything and everything that gets you in front of the right people. If you have to knock on their doors and hand them a pamphlet with your website link, do it. But learn SEO first. It’s important.
According to Paul Graham, every business needs to do things that don’t scale at the start. When it comes to content creation, content distribution is your version of “things that don’t scale.” You have to share your content before people begin to help you share them, too.
7. There are three categories of websites that make money with content.
- Websites that create what search engines — especially Google — want
- Or Websites that create what humans want.
- Websites that do the two
You want to be the third website.
So, this is tricky. Search engines say they want what humans want. But it’s hard to do that. The search engine doesn’t know much about empathy or things that can’t be measured, like feelings. So, give your readers pleasure and the solution to their problems through your writing. Then, that guy called Google will catch up.
“Start with empathy. Continue with utility. Improve with analysis. Optimize with love.”Ann Hadley, Everybody Writes
SEO will teach you what Google and other search engines want. Likewise, consistency in learning, publishing, and improving content writing will teach you what humans want, especially if you start by learning how to tell stories.
8. Tools are great for content creation
You can’t be doing content without investing in tools. It’s like climbing a rock barehanded.
The right tools can help you understand your audience, give ideas, and increase productivity.
You won’t become a professional if you always rely on tools. For instance, when writing the draft for a copywriting project, no tools will help as much as your creative and marketing skills. Show people you are human, not a robot. Understood?
See, I have to leave the ‘understood’ like that even though my editing is asking why I am putting a question mark on a word that’s not supposed to stand as a complete sentence.
Trust your guts sometimes, but use tools MOST of the time.
9. Some tools hinder your authenticity
Sometimes, when a client recommends tools to me, I’m shocked.
Some of these tools will help you publish many articles with predictable sentences. If you keep using those tools, if another website in the same niche uses the same tool and topic, they are probably creating similar content.
Here’s an exercise:
Type “why do dogs pee on their beds?” into Google search and press enter.
Click on the first three links and see what they say.
They are saying the same thing but rewriting each other’s posts. For example, one writes: Your dog is sick. The other writes: The dog is suffering from illness.
It’s hard writing in this niche because “the reasons why dogs pee on their bed” are practically the same. So instead, I will rather start a documentary or raise a puppy and then teach the practical sides of how I do it.
Or you can still rewrite what has already been written. You are in unhealthy competition, and it’s a matter of time before people get tired of reading that type of thing.
10. Understand how the biggest channels work
What are the three biggest advertisement channels of our century? If you’re a content writer, you should know the answer.
- Social Media
Look at these statistics:
The paid channels with the highest ROI are Facebook and Google Search advertising(Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
Google doesn’t share its search volume data. However, it’s estimated Google processes approximately 63,000 search queries every second, translating to 5.6 billion searches per day and approximately 2 trillion global searches per year. The average person conducts between three and four searches each day.Source: Hubspot
YouTube has over 1.9bn logged-in monthly users.Source: Brandwatch
Depending on where you work, you will have to learn about the algorithm of one, two, or all. Businesses nowadays depend on Google, YouTube, or social media. Therefore, familiarize yourself with all three.
As long as you create content on the internet, you’ll have to depend on them. So study all of them. What works and what doesn’t? You can start with the links to those statistics.
I add YouTube because, as a content writer, you will need to repurpose your content into videos or work with designers to distribute your content and get more customers.
If you’re writing on social media, it is equally important to understand how the algorithm works before you start creating.
After you write better content, you need these apps to work in your favour and share it.
11. Learn the craft
It would help if you played tricks on the readers to make them click and read what you’ve written.
My apologies for using the word “trick.” I mean, observe other professionals and know the craft. If you don’t, someone who does will likely engage the readers better than you.
Readers are busy and easily distracted. So you need to keep them engaged as soon as possible.
For instance, the first few lines in any post should lead you on. It stops right when…
Look at the short intro, how there is an incomplete question. Yet, when you click, the game continues.
The same applies to social media content writing (or all forms of writing).
First, you have to make people curious. And it never stops.
The sentences lead you on to the next and the next till the end.
But it must be a satisfying journey — a post that solves a pain point or is filled with entertainment. Otherwise, the reviews or comments won’t be pleasant. Worse, they might never come back.
Sometimes, you have to be clear with your titles so that the right people will click through. For example, look at the title of this post. It doesn’t just say how to write better content. It says an ‘introduction to content writing for new business.’ It’s clear. This post is for beginners.
To understand how to write like that, learn copywriting. You will find some book recommendations below.
Examples of Content Writing
- Video script
- Website content writing
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Speech writing
- YouTube Titles
- SEO content writing
Should You Hire a Content Writer?
Do all these tips look overwhelming?
It can be too much work for a business owner who just wants to create products and make money. But you can start by implementing a few ideas and learning the rest later.
So, it’s up to you to start small or kick the ground running.
Many people hire a content writer with an impressive track record of creating awareness for a brand or product. It is a creative job that requires beating every other brand in the game of selling or growing your business. It’s hard.
To hire an expert or not?
Professional content writers can generally create a lasting impression about your brand on social media or online.
Brian Dean once put up this quote on his blog that goes like this:
If you want to write blog a post about how to fly a plane, don’t hire a writer.
Hire a pilot.
This is smart. The pilot knows more about this than anyone else, but the content writer knows more about content, marketing, and brand-building.
So I will revise that quote to hire a content writer and a pilot. The writer can interview the pilot and create magic.
It’s better because, trust me, if a craftsman/engineer should write, you might end up with a migraine reading it. Pilots usually don’t know much about engaging content or SEO, which is important to your marketing success.
Powerful Psychology You Should Adopt When Writing
Professional content writers know that content writing is like a game. Those who achieve excellent results in writing — building million-dollar projects or bringing millions in revenue — play the game at an advanced level.
Be A Wikipedia of Content
Create content that tackles most, if not all, of your buyer’s problems. Your website should be a single place where your customer finds all they need in terms of content. So if they are a topic you are linking to on another person’s website, it’s time to publish yours.
Emotions Triumph Over Logic Most of The Time
You get to see clickbaity articles on the internet and see why they get so much engagement. Then you ask why?
Well, the truth is people often respond based on emotions, and that’s why many copywriters use words that can move people to react.
Joseph Sugarman says it better when he says people buy based on emotion and justify with logic.
So whether you are writing a newsletter or an article to be published on Forbes, try as much as possible to appeal to emotions often.
You can start by reading or studying human psychology and copywriting. You will find some book recommendations below.
Ignore Facts or Data. Use Stories or Details
Facts are boring and won’t have the effect you want until you put them into perspective.
Look at this example, 1 million people were killed in the disaster.
Compare it with “1 million people, the city’s entire population, was buried and crushed to their untimely death by what’s was once their homes and offices buildings in a disastrous earthquake.”
I added more details.
Now, does that make you feel sad?
That’s the power of adding details to your writing instead of merely using facts.
You can check my post about storytelling, the book recommendations below, or learn how journalists write.
Content Writing Process
I don’t know how others approach their content writing process, but I know how I approach mine.
The first step is to know all the necessary things about the business:
- the business goals
- the business plan that takes us to the goal
- The person we are trying to attract
After those 3 things have been nailed down firmly, writing content becomes focused and easier.
You can follow this process:
#1. Start with a good idea
Either I come up with the idea, or the client does. Often, I do keyword research and check Google to see what has been written and understand the search intent.
I simply listen to or interview the client if it is another form of writing, like a speech or product review.
This is a personal blog. So sometimes, I write about topics that are dear to me. For example, I wrote about loneliness and rejection. If I love it a lot, someone out there will enjoy reading it. I am writing for humans.
For businesses, I’ve collected some interesting content writing topics you can try.
This is the fun part. I like scouring the internet like a miner searching for gold. Then I create a folder and collect as many excerpts as possible. I prefer spending at least a day on research (just a personal preference because I realized that when the idea stayed longer and I brooded in my head, the better and more unique the content). You can try it.
#3. Determine the search intent
Search intent is the reason or expectation of someone searching for what you have written. For instance, if someone searches for “how to make wine,” it means they need step-by-step instructions on how to make wine. However, it is different when they search for “the best wine in Italy.” Now they need a list of wines and a short review.
How to find the search intent? First, research the internet and see what’s there. Then, check some of the posts that appear, and you’ll understand your outline’s direction.
An outline can come in at this stage. It will be based on the research and creative angle I can develop.
Sometimes, I use tools to create an outline. Most times, I trust my gut. I have been doing this for a while, working with editors and publishing on LinkedIn. I have a fair idea of what works. So my experience helps.
I write the content.
Add headlines, mostly H2 & H3.
Add images, too.
Make sure the longest paragraphs have only three lines. Many readers are using their phones, and adding lots of white space makes it easy to follow.
I edit by reading out loud or using a screen reader. Then I upload the content into Grammarly to fix the grammar.
#8. Re-edit after some break.
After taking a short break, I’ll reread the content for clarity and flow.
Content Writing Tools
It depends on what you’re writing.
Real-time SEO content writing will require more tools from start to finish.
If I’m writing a greeting message that will be sent through emails, I can write that on my phone. And it depends on the purpose of the message.
But writing long-form content needs more thought and planning. So you’ll need more tools depending on what you want the content to achieve.
As an example, let’s look at the purpose of writing the post you’re reading:
- To make new business owner knows why they should focus on content writing.
- To rank in Google search.
- This post will serve as a pillar page for other topics I will cover in the future.
So I need to think of tools to help me achieve those aims. I need SEO tools to know what other blogs have created about “content writing” and what keywords to include here.
As regards how to write better content, you only need a few tools to begin.
The content writing tools I can’t do without are:
- Google Doc
- Google Search
- Pocket for collecting and bookmarking resources
- Notebook (the app)
- Keywords tools: Ahref, Ubersuggest, Moz, keywords.io,
You can check this post for 21 other tools: The Ultimate List of Blogging Tools.
Measuring Your Efforts
After some time, you need to understand if you are going in the direction you wanted or not.
Again, depending on your goals, you can use tools to determine that.
The tools for measuring your content writing effort include:
- Google search console
- Google Analytics
- A content management software of your choice. Hubspot has one.
Content Writing Requires Practice
The best content writers are actively learning and relearning. So how can you learn to write engaging content that helps a brand build raving fans?
Learn from the experts and practice.
- Brian Dean of Backlinko.com
- Hubspot Academy and blog
And Read Books
Want to Write Better Content? Start Now
Start with what you have just read.
The hardest part of content writing is consistency. You need to create content consistently for people to take you seriously. So go on and start creating. Read some of the books recommend and bookmark this post for a second and third read.
And if you need my services, you can check here or use the contact form.