If you just want to get your feet wet with Content Writing then rattling out some blog articles, reworking your priority landing pages or firing off a weekly email are all great places to begin.
We have free Whitepapers with specific tips on blogging, landing pages and downloadable content, which you’ll find useful if you plan to handle Content Writing yourself. But if you want to start with some general advice, these are our top ten tips.
How to get the basics of your writing right
- Write for Google. Whether it’s your landing pages or your blog you need make sure you make it as easy as possible for Google to crawl and index your content. Even if search isn’t your top priority you always want your writing to get read;
- Write for humans. It used to be the case that what worked for search didn’t always make for the most elegant prose, but nowadays Google is placing more and more emphasis on quality signals. Digital content should – first and foremost – be useful, valuable and helpful to real people;
- Crowdsource your content: if you have limited resources and lots of content to write, hit your colleagues with regular email surveys to generate easy top 10s and Q&As;
- Break up your text: from your latest blog post to your company mission statement nobody likes wading through an endless jungle of words. Use short paragraphs, plenty of white space and visual elements like pull-quotes, graphics, embedded social media posts and in-line video;
- Answer questions: one of the best ways to get at your target audience while they’re in that crucial research phase is to answer the questions they have that can lead them to the products and services you sell;
- Don’t give up: if you don’t get overwhelmed by new orders after you’ve written your 5th blog post don’t give up on your Content Creation dreams. It takes time for any content marketing strategy to deliver results and the most common reason for failing to get an ROI is because you stopped;
- Promote your content: this sounds obvious but you’d be amazed how many brands adopt a “build it and they will come” mentality. It doesn’t matter how amazing your writing is, Content Creation needs to be supported by a dedicated content promotion strategy;
- Get a sub buddy. You can have first-rate writing skills, but everyone needs a sub-editor who can cast a second pair of eyes over work. You don’t want to invest a load of time and effort creating and then promoting a piece of content only to find a
tipotypo in the first paragraph;
- Create some editorial policies. The internet is like the wild west, but just because people are brawling in saloons and stealing each other’s horses, doesn’t mean you have to join in. Set some rules so that what you write is solid on ethical and legal grounds;
- Check out the competition: if you want what you write to get read start by looking at what it’s up against. It’s unlikely you’ll be first to your chosen topic so see what’s out there and then think about how you can do a better job.
How to create great Landing Pages
Landing pages are the pages on your site that you want potential customers to visit. Whether you get at your audience through organic search, emails, social media or paid ads, you need great landing pages if you’re going to convert visits into leads and sales.
When we work on creating landing pages or landing page optimisation for clients they tend to fall into two categories: pages intended to compete in organic search (we call those “search landing pages”); and pages set up to convert visitors from paid ads, emails, social media or referral sites (we call those “conversion landing pages”).
Search Landing Pages
SEO content writing tends to begin with creating some solid website copy for search landing pages. These are the pages that will compete for your priority keywords in Google’s organic search results. Putting together content for SEO campaigns doesn’t just mean stuffing pages with your favourite search terms (anymore). Increasingly, the signals Google’s algorithm is focussing on are about quality.
Landing pages that provide great answers to questions or give the richest, fullest explanation of a particular topic are getting real traction in organic search results. That means content writing for SEO and content writing for real people is becoming more and more like the same thing.
Conversion Landing Pages
If you’ve got your SEO content writing down pat and your search landing pages are killing the competition you might be tempted to send traffic from all your campaigns in their direction. In our experience, though, landing pages that work well for SEO won’t necessarily be the best fit for other channels, like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.
Broadly there are two reasons for this: first up, you need a lot of words on the page to get your landing pages ranking in search. Google looks at over 200 ranking signals but the length of your website copy is still among the most important on-page factors.
When the traffic is coming via an email or an ad you can ditch some of the space you would usually assign to your website copy and keep users focussed on your conversion goals. With our conversion landing pages we prioritise trust factors like USPs, testimonials, awards and marquee clients. If users trust you, they’re much more likely to click on your calls-to-action (CTAs).
Time to start Blogging
Content marketing strategies should always start with landing pages, but once those are sorted you can get stuck into life as a business blogger. Every business needs a great blog. Whether you call it a blog or something fancy like “Resource Centre” or “Inspiring Stories”, your blog is the engine room of your Content Writing activity.
Your blog can help your business on a number of levels from boosting your SEO to nurturing potential customers. You can create content that digs deeper into topics already covered on a higher level by your landing pages, which is great for mining longer-tail search terms. And you can keep your sales team happy by doing a quick turnaround on answers to questions they’re getting from their prospects.
Writing for Blogs
Back in the early life of Castleford, blogging for any business meant producing a high volume of keyword-focussed content. When we look back at some of the numbers we were delivering for clients in 2011 and 2012 they seem pretty crazy, but that used to get good results.
Nowadays it’s about quality over quantity. You can get better results with 20% of the output if the content you write is carefully targeted at gaps in search results. That’s not to say volume doesn’t matter, but with pretty much every topic having been covered already, usually hundreds of times, the gains are usually to be found with a scalpel rather than an axe.