From what your business does to how you communicate on social media pages – your content is key to the success of your business.
Unless words come naturally to you, writing content can be a very daunting task. To help get started we’ve broken down the fundamentals of great content writing into five easy to remember rules.
1. Do your research
Before you can write anything, you need to know what you are trying to achieve.
To begin, think about what information you would be looking for if you were looking to get more information about your own product or service.
If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, why not take a look at your competitors to see how they write about a similar product or service and take inspiration of the type of language they use.
Remember to also set aside some time each week to research what’s going in your market. The world is changing quickly so your content must evolve and adapt too.
2. Find your style
This is your chance to give your business a personality and make sure you stand out in the crowd. The tone of your writing is one of the first things people will notice when visiting your website.
It’s absolutely essential that your writing style complements your business image. Take some time to think about what your business is and how you want to present it to the world.
If you were telling a friend about it your business, what would you say? Try and put this into words to help work out the tone of your business – this will help shape the style of writing you should be using.
One (interesting) approach is to ask yourself; if your business was a person, who would it be? Are you young and trendy, mature and sophisticated, elegant and chic, or fun and sporty?
The answer to this question can help you to find your writing style. It will change whether you write ‘check out our awesome sale’ or ‘please look at our sale page for some splendid special offers’.
Remember, once you have found your style – keep it consistent!
3. Keep it simple
You’re not trying to win the Man Booker prize for your writing so keep your content nice and simple and to the point.
People who visit your website want answers to their questions quickly – so present a clear, jargon free explanation of who you are and what your business does. This way any visitor knows straight away if your website is where they need to be.
Remember – the majority of new visitors to your site will only skim-read your website, so make sure you use keywords to describe your products and business.
Using concise headings, bullet points and subtitles are also fantastic methods to help visitors find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
Check out this great post by Jeff Bullas about the power of simple writing.
4.Edit, edit, edit!
A good way to ensure great content writing is to spend more time editing than the time taken to initially writing.
You simply can’t afford to have spelling or grammatical errors on your website or social media channels. This is unprofessional and is enough for your visitor to instantly lose trust in your business or brand.
Always read through your work aloud as this is one of the simplest and quickest way to find any anomalies or mistakes in your content.
Remember to ask yourself the following questions when editing:
• Is it useful?
• Does it make sense?
• Is it original?
• Am I using too many words?
• It is visually appealing?
If you’re still unsure, it might be worth getting a friend or a fellow professional to check through your work before posting it.
Never, ever, post prematurely just because you feel you have to.
You weren’t allowed to do it in school and you’re certainly still not allowed now: don’t copy.
This isn’t just in terms of the style or images, we’re talking about your website copy (pun intended).
In school, copying may have landed you in a little trouble but now the consequences could be much worse. The “because it’s on-line it doesn’t matter” belief is a myth, the fines are the same.
Google is also clever enough to know if content has already been published elsewhere on the web. You may not realise that they have detected duplicate content on your website but if they do, it is highly likely that Google will take it into account when deciding how to rank your page in their search results.
In short, copying content can put your website and in turn on-line business at risk. You might think you’ll get away with it, but trust us, you won’t.
If you do need to say something that someone else has said, or use an image, cite what you use.
So do your research, worked out your writing style, then start writing.