Are you new to blogging and creating content? If you’ve never blogged before, it can seem very daunting. Don’t worry! Our content team worked together to create these writing guidelines. We have 5 tips we want to share with you. Have questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out!
1. Write to Your Audience
Who are you talking to? Are you talking to traditional marketers? Clueless business owners? Think about what matters to your audience. If you’re not sure, then ask them!
Let’s say you sell paint. Your target market could be homeowners. Do all homeowners need your product right now? No, but some specific segments do.
Those could be people who just bought a house and want to customize it. Or they could be people who buy run-down homes, clean them up, and then flip them for a profit.
Both segments buy a lot of paint so you should target them first. For now, ignore your casual weekend-project customers. They’re not your base.
Now that you have identified your ideal customers, you can create content specifically for them like a series of DIY remodeling tips for your remodeling persona. And for your flipper persona you can create a series of tips on overlooked enhancements that can enhance the value of a home.
Be Personal. If you’re writing an article or making a list, don’t talk to your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people consume your content, they are alone. Pretend you are talking to a friend.
“We” is a dirty word. It’s easy to fall into the “me, me, me” kind of writing. Instead, focus on the customer. Use “you” and change the sentences accordingly.
Example: “We want to share our top content marketing tips.”
Correction: “Read our top content marketing tips for improving your strategy.”
- Don’t push products or services. When you do talk about yourself, make sure it applies to readers.
- Avoid jargon unless you’re writing to others in your industry. Otherwise, your readers won’t know what you’re talking about.
- Encourage audience interaction by asking for their input and engaging them in the comment section.
2. Be Unique
Though you will want some general articles to educate people on the basics of what you do, you should spend most of your time creating specific, unique content.
Here’s an example:
General: Content marketing tips
Unique: Read our tips for improving your content marketing strategy
Give takeaway value that answers readers’ #1 question: “What’s in it for me?”
3. Write Meat
Web readers are impatient. They know the difference between useful, meaty content and superficial fluff. Make every word tell, omit unnecessary words, and use details.
Example of superficial fluff:
“We’re dedicated to high quality products and good customer service.”
This is generic. What company would say otherwise? Who would say they make inferior products and have lousy customer service?
How to improve fluff:
“All our products are guaranteed for life. Have a question? We will respond within 24 hours.”
The above sentence says the same as the fluffy example, but with concrete facts that differentiate them.
Give facts, not hot air. People can sniff out a sales pitch.
4. Be Visual
A picture is worth 1,000 words, which is great news if you don’t like writing. If your product and service is visual, your content will be naturally suited for photos. Here are some great examples:
- Before and after pictures of work/data you did
- Any infographics or supporting visuals
- High definition imagery
- Pictures of product and finished work to support your article.
Read our resource How to Find Good Stock Images
5. Use the Right Layout
Even the formatting of your writing can affect what people think of your content…and if they’ll even read it. These tips will help your text be visually appealing, encouraging people to read more of what you have to say.
- Use F-graphs (like how the paragraph above looks like the letter F) to increase reading speed.
- Use lists (like this list) whenever you have 3 or more points to make.
- Avoid misspellings. They make you look dumb, undermine your expertise, and can negatively affect SEO. If you often leave words out or use wrong words (ex. – there, they’re, their), ask someone to proof your articles before publishing them.
- Bold or italicize points or words you want people to see and remember.
- If possible, write in the form of a story (ex. – Saddleback Leather).
- Grab with the first paragraph. Don’t meander into the article.
Example of F-graph:
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