Digital communications have transformed the world in many different ways. One of the most profound effects digital technologies have had is on the way people view work and the value of content. Online material is getting more valuable every day and there are many around the country who go into the business of writing this content for good to great pay every year.
Writing online content is not like other forms of writing, however. There are many fundamental keys needed for writing effective content and principles that are important to adhere to ensure your content is cohesive, concise, and engaging. Here are a few tips.
- Know the reading habits of your audience
- Format your content properly for the web
- Avoid jargon and always use keywords throughout
Know How Audiences Today Read
The way people of every age and region read online content is different from the way they read other sources like novels and news. People tend to scan web content, which means you need to write in a way which is different than a great novel or article for an important newspaper or magazine. Your web copy needs to be straightforward and easy to read and digest at all times.
Your paragraphs should be short, and your sentences should be straightforward and direct; don’t beat around the bush or added unneeded words or ideas. Headers and subheaders are a must to break up paragraphs and give readers a better understanding of what they’re reading.
Deliver The Valuable Information
People read blogs for information and to answer questions. They don’t read just to read and rarely read simply because they’re bored. Readers are looking for pieces of information which they can use and absorb to learn more about a certain topic. As a copywriter, it’s your job to give them this information, but this is trickier than it sounds.
You need to know your audience inside and out: how much do they make? What are the questions they want answered? Why are they reading your content instead of your competitor’s and how can you keep it that way? Many companies today are developing “buyer personas” to address these questions and get into the skin of their customers.
Relevant Information Goes To The Top
This is a subtle tip but a crucial one. When you write your content, you should always place your most relevant information at the top of your article or blog. This can seem counter intuitive, but it absolutely works. Your readers will be instantly hooked by this relevant information and read your article if they feel they’ll get the answers they want. Front loading your content offers the best chance at successfully “hooking” your reader to start your content and read all the way through.
The critical details of the piece, anything the audience should know up front, should be placed at the top with the less important details placed further down below. Once your reader gets a good head of steam going, they’re unlikely to stop reading halfway through. If you can hook them initially, you should be absolutely golden.
Don’t Be Pretentious
Many web content writers like to boast. They want to inform the reader indirectly that they know plenty about their given topics and will write in a way which conveys this knowledge and intelligence. However, this technique is counterproductive because it alienates the reader.
Readers of online blogs and articles aren’t clicking on your piece because they know all the information you do and will be on the same frequency as you; rather, they’re reading your content because they want to be informed and need your guidance and help in a particular area. Don’t sound like the smartest guy in the room as you write. Rather, convey the key information without getting bogged down in the minutia.
Don’t Use Jargon
Along the same lines as the above tip, you should try to avoid jargon wherever and whenever possible. Your readers are probably not in the industry you are unless you’re writing an incredibly specific and in-depth piece of copy. This is a rare case in marketing content, however, which means you need to avoid jargon at all costs.
Readers not in your industry will only be confused by this language. It doesn’t matter what field or industry you’re writing for, readers want language they can understand written in a way they can understand it. It may take carefully editing to comb through for jargon, but the extra time and effort will be worth the resulting piece of content.
Research Great Keywords
Keywords are the most important piece of SEO strategies today. As mentioned, readers and clickers are looking to have some of their most pressing questions answered when they use the web. Your job in enhancing SEO is to know what they’re asking and preemptively answering those questions through your keywords.
Keywords can be based on a number of factors, such as a location or a concept. These keywords help your reader find what they’re looking for and subsequently help your webpage in Google rankings, helping more people find you and delivering coveted clicks and views for your company.