You sit there, jaw clenched, in front of a page only half-filled, mostly with word salad; your deadline is closing in and you have no idea how to proceed. Plenty of writers have been in this position. Writing can be challenging, and not all content can follow the same pattern. This article will provide seven tips for marketing content writing which are vital for writing efficiently and with more confidence.
1. Write a Can’t-Miss Headline
The headline is what determines whether an audience will read your content at all. If it doesn’t attract attention, the headline may be the only part of your work anyone reads. There are a variety of methods to find a headline that grabs eyes and communicates the primary message of your content.
A) Know your audience. Business-to-business (B2B) headlines should be worded differently than those for business-to-customer (B2C) content. Professionals will search for specific keywords relevant to their field, while customers will be looking for descriptions of the product they want without necessarily using its name.
B) Make it a list. Lists indicate clear action items and a limited amount of information to learn. This makes the article more approachable for readers seeking guidance.
C) Try for unusual word phrasing or order. There are millions of “top ten” lists and reviews and such, but “top eight” breaks the mold and implies a better curated list. It changes the pattern and stands out.
D) Don’t ramble, but include relevant information about your subject and your central point. Short headlines are punchy, but longer headlines have been shown to be widely shared and cited, as well. Find the balance that suits your content best.
E) Don’t overthink it. Stressing over a headline can result in more blockage than walking away for a stretch and coming back fresh.
2. Capture the Reader’s Attention
This is critical: use the first sentence in your article to hook the reader. A weak or boring sentence will cost any chance of an audience, making the rest of the article superfluous, however useful, entertaining, or well-written you’ve made it. There are eight basic methods for capturing an audience’s attention:
Ask an interesting question. Do you know your audience and what they are searching for? Asking the same question that brought the reader to your article can help to reassure them that they have reached a relevant article. Be certain to supply an answer to this question, if possible.
Make a strong statement. This is the best option. Providing the reader a statement to either agree with or argue against invests them in the rest of the content.
Cite a fact or statistic. Facts and statistics, especially obscure, unexpected, or new information, give your reader real-world information. This indicates knowledge of and authority in the subject matter and encourages curiosity about the rest of the content.
Use a metaphor or simile. Article hooks are appetizers to the body of the content. This method intrigues the reader by making a statement of likeness between two unlike things, which encourages them to think about a topic in a different way.
Tell a story. As long as we have had a history to remember, people have shared and loved stories. Particularly well-written and memorable stories will capture your reader’s interest. If you can write a short story that directly connects to your topic you will have created an emotional connection and investment.
Provide a description. Shimmering neon lights, muted by the fog at night, draw new visitors and regulars alike. A vivid description of a scene draws your readers in and makes them curious about how the described scene came to pass as well as its relevance to your headline.
Insert a relevant quote.
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
- Oscar Wilde
De Profundis, 1905
A striking, powerful or memorable quote connected to the topic of your article can summarize your central topic as well as inspiring interest. Using a famous person’s quote can provide more impact, but the relevancy is more important.
3. Read Up
Use hard data and statistics, when you can, to support your statements. By showing that you have done your research on a topic, your credibility will grow, which leads to better search engine result placement.
Use multiple sources from professional organizations, including some with differing opinions if you can find them. This will show that you have considered arguments against your thesis and have answers for them.
4. Eyes On the Prize
Refrain from rambling or allowing yourself to get distracted from the central message you want to convey. While examples are helpful for conveying your point, you should avoid distracting the reader from your main point.
If you believe the different subject matter is important to discuss, you can find or write a separate article about it and link to it as a reference. Keeping close to your primary point does not mean to re-state the same thesis over and over. Doing so actually becomes less convincing and feels more like you don’t have enough information to support it.
5. Find Your Own Voice
It can be tricky writing informational content that doesn’t come across sounding like it was put together by the corporate marketing team and Wikipedia, but it is possible, with practice. Especially in the B2B market, where both the seller and the consumer are professionals in a specific field, correctly adjusting the degree of formality can have a significant impact on your article’s reception. Use your company’s goals, brand persona, and target audience to adjust your writing’s tone.
Imitating other voices or aspects of voices until you can form your own is a completely legitimate method of writing effectively. You will come to understand what feels more or less natural for your writing style and be able to use different inflections.
Use correct jargon, and in the correct amount. An audience looking for marketing content would be familiar with such acronyms as SEO, PPC, and KPIs. Your average consumer off the street probably wouldn’t know what any of those mean, and you would do better to rephrase them to provide context.
6. Optimize Digital Content
● Use the keywords and phrases research shows to be most effective for your audience and product.
● Include descriptions and transcripts if you must include PDFs or audio/video components.
● Write helpful and relevant content your target audience wants and needs.
● Create and post new content on a regular schedule.
7. Edit Your Work
Editing is a completely different skill-set from writing, though being able to do both is important for independent copywriters. This can be the most challenging part of content writing, but here are some pointers:
● Define your goals—what is your central topic? Are there any parts that you can remove without impacting the quality of your article? If removing it doesn’t change the message, take it out.
● Allow some time to pass between writing and editing. Creating distance from your mindset when writing allows you to view the work with a fresh and less-biased eye.
● Avoid repetitive writing, such as starting all sentences and paragraphs with the same words or re-stating the same concept or phrase in each paragraph.
● Read your work out loud, or at least mouth along with the words. Does it sound natural? If it doesn’t sound right coming out of your mouth, it won’t scan well for your readers.