Make sure your content is a show stopper – Part 4 of SC’s foundation level copywriting skills.
You’re writing your own material for your business, whether that’s a blog or a page of web content. You’ve read up on it and you know your content is all important but frankly, you’re not sure how to go about writing it, so that it rocks. Well fear not, because here’s my easy to follow, 3 point plan to keep you on track for creating some killer content:
1. Know your objective and have a plan.
You really need to plan what you’re going to write, rather than just sit down and try to churn something out and it will also help as you approach both your research and the direction your writing is going to take. There are many things for example that you can write about moving house if you’re are a removals company, but if you plan out what particular topics you’re going to cover when, it will help streamline your research and allow more time in advance for creative thinking. And that’s before you’ve even got started on planning and structuring your actual article, blog or page.
Hand in hand with knowing what the meat of your writing is going to be, is knowing your objective. Whatever you’re writing, you’re writing it for a reason. It might be to make a sale, to get people to subscribe to your newsletter or just to help establish your authority on a particular topic and build relationships with your clients. But whatever your objective is, you will find it helps you keep your writing focused, if you have identified the objective and have it clearly in your mind as you plan and write.
2. Research your niche.
There’s no shortcut here. Good content takes thought, time and research. If you’re writing about a topic that is popular, then try and find your own particular angle (if you haven’t already) and the more you can read around your subject and research it, the better. You need to write something that is unique and interesting or at the very least, if you’re writing about something that’s been written about many time before, then you need to find a new angle or a new voice.
Some practical tips may help here: (I) Keep a notebook with you all the time so you can jot down any gems of inspiration as they occur and keep a cuttings file / bookmark of any articles you’ve read that might be useful. (II) Don’t limit your research and ideas to just your topic – is there some overlap with a completely different area? Can a dietician write in a way that focuses on gardening? Probably. (III) Think about seasonal, local, national or international events – do they give your topic a new lease of life? (IV) Get out and about. Talk to clients and other entrepreneurs, join forums, walk the dog and take up a sport. All these things are like to help your creative juices flow or be a source of great ideas.
3. Remember, remember – it’s not about you!
It is so, so important to try and think about your writing in terms of, ‘what the reader is getting out of it’. After all, your reader is busy. They may have dozens of other things to read or do. So make it worth their while reading your content. Give them something they need or want to know, that means they’re somehow better off for having read it. If you’re an osteopath, maybe write about a really effective exercise they can do, if you’re an accountant give your clients some tips on an easy but effective receipts system and if you’re a cake maker, give them that, “Oh god the shops are shut and I have to make a cake tomorrow” recipe. But whatever you do, don’t just talk about you, your qualifications and experience (unless it’s your About page but even then try and liven it up).
And at the same time try and make it utterly irresistible. Remember the baker, tempting you in with a tray of delicious cakes in the window and a lovely aroma wafting through the door? She did not stick a list of her cooking qualifications in the window and hope someone would bother to read them and stop by. Make your readers feel it, live it, want it or need it. And how do you that? Well for a start you learn as much as you possibly can about your ideal reader: how old they are, where do they live, are they male or female, where do they go on holiday, what are their hopes, dreams and fears! The more you know, the better you can fine tune it to hit that nerve.
OK that’s enough for now, because I know you’re busy too what with Christmas next week. But in the next post (which will be in the new year), I’ll be giving you some more tips for thinking about tone and style as you write your content, as well as some different ways to grab your reader’s attention.
Need help with your content? Tieing yourself in knots over keywords or just want someone to give you some pointers as to how you’re doing?
Email me today (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll get right back to you.