We have talked about the need to have original and unique content before in this blog. It is absolutely critical for your content to be so because the more original you can make your brand’s voice, the more you will be able to stand out from the crowd. And in a time when there are countless content pieces floating around the internet competing for the attention of the same set of consumers, standing out could very well be the key - the difference between content that gets discovered, and one that gets buried.
But how do you make your content unique and original? In our previous post, we outlined a few strategies that can help you get in the right frame of mind to strategise your content better and think in the right direction. Today, let us look at some actual actionable dos and don’ts when you start creating any piece of content. It doesn’t matter whether you are a content wizard who can whip up content pieces with a snap of your fingers, or someone who cringes and sweats when he has to even think about writing something, these tips will help you write better, faster, and easily spice up your content in a way that entices your audience.
Simple, Actionable Tips to Write Better Content:
#1. Have conviction in your viewpoints
Your content is how you present your thought process. It gives your audience an insight into how you think and approach something. Therefore, to maximize impact, your content needs to come across as strong and deliberate. Using weak words such as possibly, probably, maybe etc. undercuts any point you are making and waters down its impact.
When you are making a point, your reader is already analysing your viewpoint and weighing its pros and cons. If you sound unsure about the point you just made, it is natural for that indecisiveness to rub off on your reader.
Consider a simple scenario. Your blog post is linking to another article you had previously written. There are two ways to do that. You could say “If you want to know more about X, check out this previous article”, or you could say “Check out our previous article detailing X”. The first sounds optional, the second is more compelling and leaves an impression that the other article is full of insights and added value on X.
This logic is applicable everywhere. Whether you are making an argument, linking to another page, or adding in a CTA, do so on a strong note. You don’t want to hedge the risks. Present the impression that it’s in the reader’s best interest to do exactly what you are asking them to do. Keep it simple. Make it strong. Portray trustworthiness. You content will be more effective.
#2. Be true to your personality
You will come across a multitude of blogs and articles telling you how you should structure and frame your content. Ignore all of that. Ignore even my content if you must. Just be true to yourself.
What does it mean?
If you write how someone else is asking you to write, your writing will always come across as disingenuous. Look at any piece of content I have produced. Every single one of them was created by two people. You and I. For each of them, it was as if you and I were sitting across a table and talking about the topic at hand. What I would have been saying in that scenario is what I pen down for the story.
Basically, write how you talk. Be conversational. Use examples. Use segues. Use anecdotes. How you would have talked about the topic is how you want your content to be read as. There would be some minor differences here and there, sure. The change in format necessitates that. But as far as the crux of the process is concerned, the more aligned your content is to your general demeanor and personality, the more genuine it will come across as, and the more effective it would be.
#3. Make it simple to understand
Your reader is under no obligation to put in the extra effort to extract the meaning of your words. Be empathetic. Be appreciative and respectful of the time they are putting in into reading your content. Make your content flow effortless from the reader’s perspective and underscore the key takeaways in as simple terms as possible.
There is a reason why listicles have always performed so well. In fact the engagement listicle-format articles receive is so high that for a lot of your search queries, you would already be seeing listicle-format articles in Google’s featured snippet.
See what happens when I search for “marketing blogs”. A simple search term which will undoubtedly yield countless results.
So, make your content easy enough to digest, and simple enough to retain the value long after the reader has left your page. Keep your sentences short, divided across bite sized paragraphs, and use bulleted lists, numbers, quotes and references wherever applicable.
#4. Do not be boring
I have come across multiple articles where the author lays out the definition of the topic, fills the article with facts and numbers, and ends it with an obvious conclusion.
Such articles read worse than a badly written airport novel.
Your content is like a symphony. It needs to keep the reader just spellbound.
As soon as a reader starts reading your content, there is a risk of him dropping off at any point. If you come across as boring, you shouldn’t be surprised if the reader doesn’t take kindly to it.
Whether it is visual cues, quotes, references to other pieces of content, or just a funny thought that popped up in your head - everything helps.
The intent of your content is to make your reader take a particular action, but the intent of every section and sub-section of your content is to be engaging enough for the reader to want to move on to the next. If you fail in the second intent, you will fare poorly on the first.
#5. Don’t get carried away and start behaving like a textbook, or worse a teacher
Don’t just describe the process, share your own experiences or experiences of others you have come across.
There is a reason the best blogs are filled with anecdotal evidences and examples. They help your readers visualize themselves in your position and experience the scenarios you are describing.
This is the same reason why podcasts are so well received. Instead of just talking about the subject matter at hand, the host asks the guest about examples of scenarios they came across. If you listen to a podcast on entrepreneurship, the host almost always asks the entrepreneur how they got their first customers. Now, if I was to look for different ways in which I could get my first customers, I would easily find relevant articles with a quick Google search. The real value of the podcast is the guest describing the overall process. What they did, why they did what they did, what were the challenges, and what was the impact. They aren’t telling you how to get your first customers, they are describing their experiences and what they learnt from them. And experiences? Experiences are unique. And if the experiences are interesting enough, that makes the audience engage with the content of the podcast better.
That’s it. Five simple tips to make your content shine brighter than before.
Should you spell check? Yes.
Should you focus on whether your headline is interesting enough to attract clicks? Sure.
Should you get your articles peer reviewed and get feedback? Yeah, why not.
There are many things you can do to make your final content better. But, when you are writing, as long as you are following those 5 simple tips, your content is absolutely going to be better than it would have been before.
What process works best for you when you get started with your content writing process? What methodology do you follow? You know where to find me at, I am always looking to learn a hidden nugget or two.
That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.
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