Let’s be realistic, we all know by now that content is important. But writing is something that should suit you. Because writing is not for everyone … or is it? Well I seriously think so! Because you can also learn to write good content.
What is good content?
Before we go into writing, let’s talk about content. Content is what you write and further dress up with all kinds of media. Content that must convince your reader to engage in interaction (and conversion).
But what is good content?
There are a lot of rumors and myths when it comes to content. Content is king … that is 100% surely true. But a lot of people claim different things regarding content. And not everything is (always) true.
Writing content with, for example, an x amount of words in mind is simply an outdated thought. In the past, you indeed had to meet a threshold of an x amount of words to create good content.
But follow this scenario for a moment; would you prefer a text that flows and appears authentic. Or a text that is “because it needs to be” filled with extra words? Or just seems to focus on keywords?
My tips for you?
Being authentic is perhaps the best tip I can give outside of the scope of real writing tips. If you don’t come across as you normally would, then it seems you might be only doing it for search engines.
But do you know what the purpose of search engines is? Search engines ensure that the search intent of the searcher connects to content of websites. So if you only create content with search engines in mind, you end up serving the search engines incorrectly. Because their intent is precisely to bring supply and demand together.
So go for organic and authentic content. Do not force to make things necessarily for example 300 words long. I will come back to the use of keywords later in this item, because they have a place, but should not be leading in my eyes.
Focus on being you , your product / brand / service or whatever to put it like as you would if you would do it face to face!
Writing is something you can learn!
Some people are blessed with great writing skills. Others struggle with it. However, if you cannot write well now, that does not mean that you cannot get better at it!
Unfortunately, many people immediately write off that they can write and they shouldn’t do that. Because everyone brings something unique to the table!
There are many aspects of writing good content that you can learn to do well.
1. Preparation is key!
Especially if you are not an experienced writer, you should always start with good preparation.
Good preparation means that you have to think a lot about what you want to tell.
Think about questions such as: why am I writing this item? Who are my readers? What do I want my readers to know, understand or do after they have read my item? What is the subject of the article? What is the (main) message that I want to send to my audience?
When you start that may seem huge, but the more you write, the easier and faster you will go through this flow.
2. Structure, structure, structure
Always ensure that your text has a good structure. That will make the difference for your audience (and for Google). If paragraphs follow one another in a logical order, it is much easier to understand the (main) message.
And there we go again, think-time!
Think about the different things you want to discuss in an article. Think about the order in which you should tackle these problems. Write a few words about each paragraph that you want to write.
Structuring text means that you help your readers to understand what your text is about.
For example, by adding images and call to actions (CTAs) you ensure that paragraphs are not too long and remain attractive to read.
3. Write bite-sized sentences and paragraphs
The last part fits in seamlessly with where I want to go. Do not write sentences that are longer than 25 words. If you are not (yet) a great writer, make sure you write short sentences.
If you have to process 20 to 25 words in your head, people need much more cognitive power to digest that. Sounds very deep and difficult … but it’s no rocket science.
Longer sentences are just so much harder to read.
If you use a lot of long sentences, your audience will have to adjust themselves to really understand. They must then re-read sentences or read at a much slower pace. Adjusting simply means an obstacle, so avoid it at all cost.
In addition, writers make more grammatical mistakes as sentences get longer. Also because the sentences then often become more complex to convey.
For every (starting) writer my advice is: make sentences short and powerful OR break your sentences if necessary.
This is an example that has to do with overall readability.
There are even more things you can do to make a text easy to read. Try to limit the use of passive voice, write short paragraphs and make sure you use transition words.
But also think of using other elements such as lists and other things so that you semantically distribute your content well.
4. Add examples
Adding examples to your item makes it much more appealing for the reader. Adding examples is an excellent way to make an article more readable.
Examples help people to understand what you mean and make your text more fun to read.
For example, if you (see what I did there) write about a product, you can add some user experiences or give examples of how people used the product.
5. Try to never leave things open!
In many cases there is a final to an item. Sometimes a conclusion but almost always a part that conveys the action you want people to take.
When it comes to a conclusion always try to refer back to the (main) message that you are trying to convey. If it concerns an action, try to combine the (main) message with an activating purpose.
Make sure your reader never has the feeling of … and what now? Compare it to a movie or book … open endings … are often more a curse than a blessing.
Writing and SEO
Many people especially want to know how to write content well with the search engines in mind. Content is simply essential for SEO.
Google reads and understands content to a large extent. But reading and understanding content is easier when a text is well written. Both for people and Google.
Pointers when it comes to search engines
- Make your title activating, but make sure it contains the essence (the (main) message). You want to properly inform people with the title.
- Try to make good use of headings to properly frame the sub-messages / sections. Think of it as the backbone of your item.
- Use bold / strong, italics, underlines tags to apply the accents (semantics) in the right places. Setting accents ensures that you make it easier for all readers. Whether they read carefully, scan etc.
- Proof-read your item. Reading back what you have written is a must. Sometimes you write differently from what you had in your mind when you came up with it.
- If you use media elements (images, video, etc.), make sure that you properly organize their properties. With images for example; ALT / Title attribute, file name, optimizing for the web, correct format etc.
But I want to repeat the most important tip again; write organic / authentic! Don’t just go blind on keywords, certain lengths or the like. If you do you are doing yourself a disservice in both the long and short run.
You can safely let your main keyword come back every now and again, but if it feels forced to do so, then it will read forced as well.
Start writing, writing and writing!
There are of course more things that make you a good writer, but the most important thing you can do is gain experience. And you get that by starting. So above all, write, fine-tune your content proofread (pro-tip; ALWAYS), and publish.
Also don’t be afraid of feedback or to ask your readers for it. Feedback is only something that you can get better from!
I am convinced that with the help of the above tips you can take a big step to become a good writer!
Need more certainty?
Nothing prevents you from having someone check your text. Call it revising / polishing or similair. That is something that I in many cases even prefer over totally taking over content creation from a customer.
The reason for this is that I want the authenticity of the customer. But also having a customer involved in the process is something that stimulates a fun working relationship and ultimately ensures a much better result.
Shall we write something together? Then just write me!