‘Content Writing’ is a job with a pretty broad description and a lot of different approaches. It can be summarized as ‘planning, writing, and editing of text, typically for clients, the web, or specific digital marketing.’ One would be forgiven for assuming that the bulk of the work is made up of writing blog posts or articles (and that’s a lot of it), but it doesn’t stop nearly there. Duties of this job can include (but are not limited to); articles, blog posts, training materials, internal documents, scripts for videos and podcasts, transcription and translation, social media text for specific platforms like Twitter or Reddit, emails, newsletters, speeches, web pages, YouTube video descriptions. The list goes on.
Writing is the foundation for any published content, either print or web-based. The variety of project types can seem overwhelming. There are a few general rules that can be applied to almost any circumstance.
- Create an Outline
An outline will help you organize and generally produce better, more organized written content. Drafting a complete outline forces you to organize and list your thoughts in a way that is cohesive and makes intuitive sense to you, the writer. This speeds up the writing process and gives you a structure on which to build your finished piece. It’s also a method of ensuring that no important topics are missed.
- Try to be Quotable
Generally speaking, it’s not common for blog posts (especially business-adjacent blog posts) to be shared or linked online from anyone outside of the company in question. To make it easy for readers, you can embed links to spaces like Twitter or LinkedIn that eliminate the hassle of sharing the article. If you’re going to social media first, trying to draw people in, find a short snippet that will catch the reader’s eye, and link the article/blog post to that. Hypotheticals are an excellent way to do this: “The number one question I get is ‘how can I bring more traffic to my site?’ My article below explains this and more!”
- Find a Hook
Well over two million blog posts are published every day. It would help if you made something that’s truly unique and compelling to stand out from all the chaff. There are many ways to do this – a controversial take, a newer way of doing or looking at something, a personal story – just make sure it will land with your target audience. For example, an article about maximizing your 401k is more likely to appeal to GenPop than to corporate executives looking to improve their marketing. You can collaborate with visual designers to make this happen better!
- Write Something Useful
Most business writing falls into some niche that will not appeal to or apply to a general audience. You can’t just write something informative or entertaining and expect it to go viral. If you want a bump in views and shares, you can create something actionable – something that people in your target audience can somehow use or apply to themselves. Most online articles and blog posts are just lists compiled from other people’s lists. If you can organize those expected elements into something that can be applied or broken down into steps, you’ve got an additional hook for making your work stand out.
- Create an Outline