You’ve probably heard the term “content writing” being tossed around either in a conversation you had with someone or on the Internet. But do you know what content writing actually is and why it is important? If you’re interested (and since you’re reading this article, I’m going to assume that you are), I will explain what content writing is and why you should pay attention to it, especially if you’re a blog writer or an article writer yourself.
Explaining Content Writing to Someone Who Doesn’t Know What it is
Content writing is a form of online writing which is closely linked to web marketing campaigns. This means creating the writing which appears on websites that are designed to sell or promote a specific product. Content writers work according to the brief provided by a client. This brief will define their task and any SEO related requirements, such as keyword density.
As you can see, to consider something “content writing”, it has to have several elements:
- A specific purpose
- It is used to educate potential customers about your products or services or brand itself
- Unique voice (copy/pasted content will only hurt your business, find your own voice)
- Relevance to your target audience
- It’s done online (blog posts, newsletters, white papers and content on a website is all content writing)
Content writing shouldn’t be about selling something to your customers. That’s what copywriting is for. Instead, it should be helpful and educational. Use it to educate your readers about your brand, product or service, but above all to connect with them. Consider this carefully before you write a piece of content:
How Can You Improve Your Content Writing Skills?
Are you just talking about yourself and how awesome your company/product/service is? No one cares about that and it’s only a sure way to lose your visitor’s interest. In fact, one of the main jobs of content is to quickly grab the reader’s attention. Many online readers will just look at the headline and based on whether they find it interesting or not, read the rest of the article. But even if you do manage to craft a headline that is compelling enough for the visitor to read, he might stay around for much shorter than you think. According to Buffer, 55% of visitors only spend up to 15 seconds on article.
Think about that for a moment. You spend two hours working tirelessly on a article, you post it, expecting people to soak in your every word like a sponge, only to find that they just glanced at it. That’s just telling you how sometimes content writing is a thankless job.
So how can you improve your content writing and ensure it’s what your visitors want to read?
First of all, you should work more closely with the editor and the marketing team in general to get a better idea of the direction your content should go. Meet with them in person, or if you’re working remotely, on Skype or Slack every week at least. Here are some things you should discuss:
- How did the content we created since our last meeting went? Was it received well or bad by our target audience?
- What should we aim to change or improve for the next week or month?
- What are our competitors up to in the meantime? Is our content performing better than theirs?
- What topics can we cover next?
What about the content itself? How can you improve it and make it better for your readers? Start by planning what you’re about to write. What is the information that you want to convey through your content? What is its relevance to your potential customer? Can your audience already get the same thing from your competition? Answer these questions and you’ll be a big step closer to creating amazing content for your visitors.
How do You Know Your Content Writing is Effective?
The main purpose of content writing is to help you meet your goals. But how do you know if it is doing that?
By measuring it. Jay Baer, digital marketing expert and author of several content marketing books such as “Youtility” and “Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customer suggests in his post The 4 Types of Content Metrics That Matter to use the following framework when deciding what metrics you should measure:
- Consumption such as page views and visits
- Sharing or how many times social media users shared your content
- Lead generation or how often visitors make an action such as opting-in for your list, requesting a quote, etc
- Sales, or do the leads (and how often turn to sales?
One metric alone can’t tell you enough about how your content is performing. But combined, these 4 metrics can tell you if your content is leading to desired results.
Do you have any questions about content writing? Have I missed anything important? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.