“Content is king.” This point was repeated in an article by Bill Gates. Are you willing to bet against Bill, one of the most successful innovators of all time? Didn’t think so …
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of information (content) to attract reader interest and drive potential customers to a website. Creating compelling content is critical for every online business. It doesn’t matter if you sell bird seed or repair classic cars. Without great content, you won’t be able to drive customers to your website (pardon the pun on “driving” and “classic cars”).
Seven Tips for Creating Killer Content
- Speak it before you write it. Many people are intimidated when it comes to writing, yet they have no problem speaking their ideas. That’s why one of the best ways to prepare when writing any article is to first explain to someone what you plan to write. Not only will this help you plan a logical flow, but discover if more research is required. It’s also a great antidote to “writers’ block.”
- Start with the headline! You’ve certainly spent time reading terrible articles because of their great headlines. However, no one has ever read a great article because of a bad headline. A good headline pulls readers in and gets them to click on your article. Write the shortest headline possible with the strongest language you can think of that accurately summarizes the content.
- Create something special. If you want people to finish reading your article, the content must be important to them. Just what makes an article special is up for debate, but many of the best-performing articles:
- Explore a relevant, but not overdone topic. Try to stay away from topics that cover popular issues. No, it isn’t easy.
- Find and present a unique viewpoint; and, use your personality. Readers will respond to articles that take a clear stance on a subject, even if it differs from their own. This is especially true if the article is written in a way that reveals the writer’s personality.
- Don’t drift. Stick to your topic. It’s easier if you draft an outline of the points you want to cover. If this isn’t your style, if you hate to do this, try writing the final paragraph first. This way you know the direction you’re heading before you start to write.
- It’s a blog, not a book. No one has time to read extremely long posts. It’s a good idea to limit your article to 1,000 words or less. If you have any more to say about the same subject, do it in a blog series.
- Use guideposts. Guideposts make driving easier. They make writing and READING easier, too. Make it as easy as possible for your reader to follow your ideas. Use subheadings and bullet points to stress the most important points. Avoid long blocks of text; they are hard to read, especially online. Use short paragraphs and include plenty of white space. Check the final copy online to make sure the display device format hasn’t distorted your paragraphing.
- Start strong; finish strong. Two paragraphs in your article matter more than all the others — the first and the last. A strong introductory paragraph sets the mood for the entire article, and convinces the reader to stick around. The conclusion better be strong because it’s your last chance to ensure your reader doesn’t walk away feeling like he wasted his time – usually short summary or recap in your own words works well.
Writing is like any other skill. It takes time to learn how to write well. However, you can master it with practice. Your first article will probably be hard. The next one, not so hard, the third and fourth … well, let’s compare notes when you’ve finished #4.
If you follow these seven tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a good content writer.
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