I’ve been writing content online professionally for a few years now, previous to that I had been doing minor online writing in the form of blogs and the like ever since the internet had become widely used. Basically, writing digital content is something that I’m familiar with. Over the last few years there has been a major increase in focus on digital content. With SEO and digital marketing quickly becoming a must for any and all businesses and organizations, people have realized just how valuable an online presence can be. That being said, one of the main focuses of successful digital marketing is good digital content. You’ve probably heard phrases like, “content is king” and “the importance of content marketing” being tossed around the internet left and right, especially if you’re in digital marketing, technology, or similar fields. The importance of digital content is something that’s discussed often and is covered thoroughly. What maybe isn’t discussed quite enough is how to write good digital content. Sure, we understand why we need it, but how do we produce it?
A lot of you will probably disagree with what I just said. “What do you mean how to write good content isn’t discussed enough? We hear about it constantly.” And, I guess that’s true, all you have to do is go to any marketing company’s blog or Google “Digital content” to get a whole slew of “How To” guides. The thing I’ve noticed is that these “How To” guides will talk about keyword placement and branding over and over, but hardly ever touch on the simple, basic things you should think about when writing digital content. So, that’s what I’d like to do here. Or, rather, I’d like to talk about some of the things not to do.
- You don’t talk like a robot in real life (hopefully) so don’t do it in your writing: Writing is about connecting with your audience and that is especially true for writing digital content or content for marketing. You want to connect with your readers, you want them to listen to what you say intently. If your writing sounds robotic and forced, it’s hard to get that effect. You want what you write to sound conversational, like you’re having a conversation with an old friend. Recently I was reading the blog of a web design and development company in the area. The opening sentence of the particular post I was reading at the time is: “Business owners who know how to use affiliate marketing properly know that it is a great way to extend their brand beyond their immediate reach and increase quality traffic to their sites.” The use of the words “it is” rather than simply “it’s” makes this sentence choppy and extremely robotic. If you read a sentence out loud and it sounds unnatural, then it’s probably going to sound that way to your readers as well. Simple things like using contractions can change the entire tone of a sentence or even an entire article or blog post.
- Don’t bore your audience with technical jargon or endless field-specific phrases: Yes, your writing should be aimed at a target audience, and in the case of content marketing your target audience is most likely others in your field or potential customers. But, that doesn’t mean you should automatically assume that everyone will know all of the technical wording that’s used in your particular field. On top of that, regardless of whether or not what you say is understood, reading something full of technical wording and all-business talk isn’t enjoyable to read. It’s not conversational (see number one) and it can get boring extremely fast. That blog post I mentioned in number one? About halfway through it I found myself zoning out while reading. Am I interested in Affiliate Marketing? Yes, or I wouldn’t have chosen that post to read. Do I want to read an entire blog post that sounds like a textbook or manual? Absolutely not. Find a way to talk about that kind of stuff while still sounding natural and entertaining. It’s not as easy as just spewing out a bunch of technical terms, but it’s more effective.
- Don’t give out bad information: This is one that sort of feels like it should go without saying, but the fact is, everything on this list is on here because I see it all the time. Still, this one is pretty simple. Make sure what you’re telling your readers is true, factual, and/or helpful, at least to the very best of your knowledge. One of the common goals in content marketing is to use content to make your company, organization, or business look like experts in your field. If you give out bad or false information in your articles, how are your readers or potential customers supposed to think of you as an expert?
- Don’t publish content that’s not relevant to your target audience: Like I said in number one, writing for the internet is about connecting with your audience. One of the most important factors in achieving this is producing content that is relevant and relate-able to your readers. This means if your target audience is 18-25 year olds who like designer clothing, writing an article about politics and retirement funds isn’t going to get your target audience reading. Always know who it is you’re writing for and use that as the foundation for each an every piece of content you produce.
- Don’t stick to one style or tone of writing: This is especially true for copywriting and content marketing. When you’re in the marketing, advertising, or general copywriting fields you’re going to have a wide variety of clients that run a wide variety of types of businesses. You need to be able to change your voice to match any clients niche. Remember, you’re supposed to sound like an expert in whatever you’re writing about. Research is a big part of this, don’t be afraid to check out the client’s website, other sites about the topic, and even read other articles or blogs focused on that certain niche, field, or topic. Lacking the ability to be versatile in your writing could lose you potential jobs or clients.
Digital content writing is something with many different aspects, there is an endless list of things you should and shouldn’t do in order to be successful. These are just a few of basic things I’ve seen that can determine the success of a piece of online content. Remembering these five things can turn any mediocre content into good or even great content! What all the marketers say is true: your online content really is one of the most powerful and important tools we have at our disposal. So, don’t you think we should do everything we can to utilize that tool to the best of our ability?