What does content creation and content marketing have in common? Content writing!
In fact without writing a lot of content wouldn’t make sense, as content creation increases in popularity the internet, social media and the millions of people that use the web continue to evolve. While Google becomes even more stringent on what defines relevant unique content, businesses are now adopting an inbound approach in creating content over traditional digital marketing which is search engine centric. This inbound revolution is about talking to people through carefully thought out specified content compositions of words, images, videos, apps and a whole host of other mediums and devices.
As there’s no right or wrong way to content writing due to the variety of ways to convey messages through multiple platforms, aligning the tone and style of writing to an audience isn’t easy.
As a writer you’ve lost count of the times you’ve blankly stared at the screen which is blankly looking back at you, sure you have the ability, you’ve written many times before; so why is the hardest thing about content writing, starting? The term alone is generic some writers can find it hard to transition from one style of writing to another, content writing takes many forms from emails, press releases, vlogs, blogs, tweets, and more there is a diverse array of content types used. Then there’s the platforms the content appears on, how your writing is distributed and presented; websites, facebook, twitter, youtube and the rest. As a content writer, many skills need to be honed not just writing skill but digital skill also. Having a broader digital skillset will help you to nail campaigns and build audiences and followers and maintain them.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Content is the new marketing” It’s important to note that in 2015 200 million users (and counting!) installed ad-blocker to their browsers increasing the difficulty for brands to get their messages across; coupled with businesses still learning the ropes of this content creation thing, people are sophisticated consumers in this digital bubble. They quickly scan content looking for information specific to them totally ignoring conventional web advertising like banner ads, or in the case of those 200 million users; block out ads completely.
This is why content writing is so important, devising a content writing strategy especially if you’re writing about a topic that has already been rinsed, finding new angles to subjects is hard but not impossible. Headlines are the most important thing you can write to attract readers as it’s the first thing they see while scanning the page for individual content. You have a two second window to reel them in, the title of your article/blog post has to stop them in there tracks and get them clicking. The headline of your content needs to be the beacon of light that shines bright over the rough seas of SERPS and guides the reader to the safe, trusted, dry land of your page and keep them there.
Need inspiration for a headline?
You may not use the 700 title sugestions generated by this site. But it will give you an extra boost into crafting the perfect headline to attract your readers.
A distinction needs to be made between churning out content for SERP rankings by using seo content writing techniques (this doesn’t mean that seo content writing is irrelevant). And writing for humans and not leaning so much on certain optimisation metrics. The focus must be on ‘quality’ the web is a fiercely competitive place with large corporations, small businesses and everything in between fighting for every nano second of consumers screen time. Due to the shear size and diversity of content on the web adopting a more tailored approach is a vital strategy, study the target audience:
What problems they want solving?
What language do they use?
What platforms do they spend time on?
Content Marketing is how you project your copy to the audience by distributing your writing through: blogs, video, webinars, slide deck, online courses (udemy) Podcasts the list goes on. This may seem overwhelming but once you’ve pinpointed who you’re speaking to, you can see what they use to consume content. Do they like looking at pictures, maybe they prefer watching videos or love listening to podcasts; probably all of the above. knowing what content types your readers use will allow you to carefully tailor your writing. And to share the same content multiple times to influence readers behaviour to conversion, whether it’s to subscribe to a newsletter, buy a product, or to donate.
Content marketing is about “specificity” (I bet you’re glad you didn’t have to say that out loud). Marketing your content to your audience through the mediums they use with relevant, engaging and actionable content will encourage them to share on there networks and bookmark your page/s for future visits. Because you’re not writing for yourself, it’s about your audience. Along with a great headline another way to captivate your readers is by storytelling, a powerful technique to gain traffic to your content because everyone has a story to tell. There are two points to storytelling, communication and connection, it’s not about forcing a product or service in consumers faces instead it’s about learning from them. Your audience will identify you by the quality of the content you write. Stories show other perspectives from different peoples’ backgrounds creating a community with a rich common interest that remains constant.
Content writing has to make the perfect connection with the marketing that surrounds it so your readers who have a specific need to find a solution to a problem get what they’re looking for through carefully tailored words that are aligned with the chosen content types. Finding the biting point of content types and publishing frequency is the sweet spot of matching your readers problem with the solution. Speaking of the biting point, think about it; You get in your car turn the engine on you rev it a little, put it into gear as you press your left foot down on the clutch, you slowly press the accelerator with your right foot while simultaneously lifting your left foot then suddenly you feel the clutch plates (Content writing) and the drivetrain (content marketing) connect; you feel a slight jolt, you depress the hand brake and you’re off. Finding the balance between content writing and content marketing allows you to smoothly navigate through the bendy roads of the web giving you the green light to drive traffic.
The Long Short
Its been mentioned a few times in this article/post that users are adept at scanning information they want quickly due to time pressures and short attention spans. Many online marketers staunchly support written content should be no longer than 750 words with a clear and concise style with four line paragraphs and bullet points to accommodate the screening nature of the reader. Although this is true to an extent there’s evidence that show the opposite, (buzzumo.com) on average long form content gets shared more than short form. The longer the content the more shares it gets. Sure decent short form content will get its share of exposure but more likely to lose traffic over time. This demonstrates that content creation is also about context. There’s more short form copy on the web than long copy which means a savvy content writer can take advantage of the gap in the market for long form assignments because there’s less competition for long form web writers. Yes, long form writing requires more hours of in-depth research and crappy first drafts but once its done it will have the potential to become evergreen content. Although people may procrastinate online watching cats playing the piano, they make time to be intellectually challenged by relevant, emotive, and engaging content. It gives people something they can learn from and be inspired to come back to it for reference long after you’ve written it.
The words you write are the strings you attach to your reader to influence the moves you want them to make on the digital dance floor of cyberspace.
In a hyper visual digital world, words matter more than ever before the demand for good content writing will continue to increase. As content creation splits into uncharted territories along with new technologies, new avenues will open to explore different experiences. And as content creation evolves, so will your writing.