There are over 900 million websites available and over 3.5 billion searches on Google every day. With too many options and strong competitors around, capturing readers’ attention is definitely not an easy feat. According to a study conducted by analytics service Chartbeat, around 55% of visitors spend 15 seconds or less on a single webpage.
With these statistics and the overwhelming drop of people’s attention span, good content writing definitely has a role to play. In order to hold readers’ interest, you need to work on delivering high-quality content writing that stands out. Here are content writing tips that are simple yet definitely effective.
1. Get to know your audience
This tip will always be number one. It’s important to get inside your target client’s head. Address their questions and problems and add value to them in order to truly make an impression. Strive to deliver content that offers in-depth answers to their pressing problems.
Before putting pen to paper, ask the following questions: Who is the primary audience? Who is the secondary audience who may inform or influence the primary audience? For instance, you are making a website for your law firm. The primary audience could be the existing clients. But your secondary audience is a broader scope and may consist of other lawyers, law reporters, or just about anyone who might need your services. Think about the kind of information they may need the most and cover that. Developing a buyer persona could double your conversions and always pays off.
2. Write a Head-Turning Headline
Your headline will determine whether people are going to read the rest of the article or not. The headline needs to stir an emotion, spark interest, and make readers want to learn more about the subject. Writing a head-turning headline will definitely make a difference. Here are some quick tips for writing head-turning headlines:
- Use numbers- People love numbers in the headlines. Numbers give us a sense of familiarity and give us an idea of how long the article will be.
- Solve a problem- From the title of the post alone, readers should immediately tell that the article is meant to solve their problem. The headline should make the readers wonder and compelled to check the rest of the content out.
- Create a sense of urgency- Headlines have to be interesting and irresistible. Strive to prompt a sense of urgency among the audience, so they’re talked into reading the article now—not later—but now.
- Make it simple- Simple might be the opposite of interesting, but what we mean here is to go for simple words instead of trying to make it sound all fancy. For example, instead of saying “Top 5 Ubiquitous Places to Discover Ravishing Blog Post Theses”, just say “Top 5 Places to Find Helpful Blog Post Ideas”. Always use common words that people can relate to in the simplest sense.
Tip: Knowing how to make a good title will surely give you an edge over other content writers out there.
3. Craft a Hook that Instantly Grabs Readers’ Attention
You only have around three seconds to keep the visitors hooked following the headline. A hook is the first one or two sentences of the article. Whether the reader proceeds reading the rest of the content or not depends on how well you craft the first lines. Strive to craft a hook that captures their interest well and smoothly leads to your first point.
You may create a hook in the form of a literary quote, a question, an interesting fact, a common misconception, a scene, or a thesis. However you want to start your article, the most important thing is to carefully choose your words in such a way that every line draws readers in.
4. Do Your Research
You should be knowledgeable about your chosen topic. To strengthen your article, add statistics, metrics, and other key data to demonstrate credibility and thoroughly support your claims. It’s okay to state your opinions in your content, but make sure that some bold claims are backed by studies and research to give readers a hint that you’re a reliable source.
Also, your article has to be a well-researched, cohesive piece. Focus on one purpose or key message and keep that in mind when writing the whole thing. Always tie your content back to the main point as much as you can to keep everything coherent and organized.
5. Optimize Content
Your content has to be reader-friendly and easy to follow. Here’s how you can optimize content to make it more scannable and easier to read:
- Use short, crisp paragraphs. With the attention span of people getting shorter and shorter these days, you can’t afford to feed them long, tiring paragraphs.
- Use shorter sentences. Aim for sentences 20 words or fewer. Focus on the verbs and the nouns and use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.
- Use simple words. Do not use highfalutin words like “quandary” or “decimate” when there are words like “problem” or “destroy”.
- Use numerical or bulleted lists. Organize your content using labeled tabs instead of creating one full page of mere text.
- Include white space. This includes the empty space surrounding the images, paragraphs, and other elements on the web page. Some may consider it wasted space, but it actually optimizes content for the better. A good amount of white space makes the overall text more legible and enjoyable to read.
6. Incorporate multimedia
A picture can really be worth a thousand words. According to research, 90% of the data transmitted to our human brain is visual, and we process visual data 60,000 times faster than mere text. Thus, incorporating easy-to-read graphs and charts may do better in explaining a difficult topic than just plain text. If you are not adept in graphic design, you can hire freelance designers to help you out.
Apart from text, you can make use of images, animations, video, and other interactive content. Using the power of multimedia helps you break your text up and generally makes the piece easier to read. It also makes the output look more engaging.
7. Stick to active voice and a unique voice
Using active voice instead of passive helps you specify the subject of each sentence. Instead of writing “The products can be purchased on our site,” you can just say “You can order these products on our site.” Rather than saying “the new legislation was enforced by the government”, say “the government enforced the new legislation”. Using active voice helps you create more reader-friendly and succinct sentences. It also gives readers a sense of direct and more engaging conversation.
The next kind of voice we’re going to talk about is your brand’s voice. Every piece of content you publish represents your company’s personality. Thus, it’s important to choose a tone that suits your business goals, target audience, and brand persona. Strive to create memorable and unique content for website pages.
8. Leave them wanting more
A good webpage always ends with a good call to action. Is there someone the reader should contact for more information? Do you have an interesting video they must watch? Is there a relevant blog post they can read or a resource they can download? This part helps you direct your audience to other areas of your website and encourage them to share your content with their family and friends.
Here are some ways you can develop your call to action:
- Begin with verbs like “share”, “download”, “sign up”, join”, “watch”, or “learn more”.
- Design a button or a box for the call to action.
- Include a hyperlink that allows the reader to proceed to the next action.
- Use words that provoke enthusiasm or emotion.
- Maximize “FOMO” or the “Fear of missing out”. This is an effective motivator. For example, if you’re featuring sale or promotion, mention when the promotion will end and creatively relay the urgency.
9. Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
After finishing the first draft, read the content again and see how you can polish it further. A round or two of proofreading will go a long way. You may use software applications like Grammarly to ensure that there are no basic spelling and grammar errors in the final copy. Here are other tips to proofread your content better:
- Read your article out loud. Uttering the words out loud enables you to slow down and thoroughly look at what your eyes could skip over.
- Get a second opinion. If you have an experienced someone who can read your piece for second opinion, that may help you gather more hints on how to improve the content further.
- Note your repetitive errors. To improve your skills, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Noting the usual errors you make helps you become aware of your common slips and learn to mind them during the writing process. This way, you can avoid them altogether over time.
10. Think like a search engine
This should be number one, but the bottom line is: no matter how well you follow the tips above, if you don’t try to think like a search engine, your content might not receive the level of exposure and number of readers it deserves.
You need to mind search engine optimization, or else, little to no people will find your hard work. Go back to thinking of your audience. What search terms will they probably type into Google to discover your content? Include those terms in the headlines, sub-headers, and all over your piece. Learn the best keyword research practices and naturally use your keywords to avoid messing up the flow.
The tips above are just some of the simple yet effective ways on how to do content writing the right way. These are content writing tips for beginners and professionals alike. Continue exploring the many ways you can improve, and you’ll definitely enjoy more exposure and organic traffic in no time.