Consider if this sounds familiar to you: you sit in front of a blank page trying to craft the perfect headline for your latest blog post. After what seems an eternity, you begin to actually write the post. You write a sentence only to delete it midway because it didn’t sound perfect. You edit every paragraph as you go along, reading it a couple of times before continuing. Of course, you make very little progress and end up frustrated with the process of trying to write that awesome content for your next post.
Wouldn’t it help to have a system in place?
We can all agree: creating quality content regularly is the most effective way to market a business online. But it can also be time-consuming and, at times, discouraging. Professional writing services have writers brainstorming ideas, writing, editing and testing new content strategies, however some marketers and small business owners end up doing everything by themselves.
Luckily, there are ways to facilitate the process. Here are 7 tactics that will help you produce content of similar quality as professional writing services.
Research, Research, Research
The first step to producing great content is research. Make time to establish your competitors and to analyze their content. Use tools like BuzzSumo to discover what content is getting shared on social media.
Find out what your target audience is looking for and identify a “market gap” your competitors didn’t cover yet. Upworthy, for example, identified a market gap for websites that focuses on other types of viral content, besides cute cats and epic fails.
Go to forums like Quora or Yahoo Answers to find the questions your potential readers ask. Look at the most popular comments to see how they feel about a particular topic.
Remember that the ultimate purpose of your blog post is to provide a solution. So, make sure your blog posts are packed with relevant information.
Spend as Much Time on Your Headline as You Do Writing
Ask any copywriting service and they will tell you, the headline is the most important element of your page. Eight out of 10 people will read your headline, but only two out of 10 will read the rest.
But, what makes a good headline and how can you write one? Here are some of the elements you should include in your headlines to make them effective:
- Questions: “Are You Using These 7 Powerful Tips?”
- Numbers: TOP 7 Powerful Tips to Help You Write Stellar Content
- Curiosity gap: “7 Tips to Help You Write Amazing Content. Number 3 is mind-boggling”
- How to: “How to Produce Great Content: 7 Powerful Tips”
- Negatives: “Read These Tips and You Will Never Write a Boring Blog Post Again”
Another important element you should keep in mind when writing a headline is the length. Buffer’s Kevan Lee has written a comprehensive blog post about the ideal length of every social media update. According to him, the optimal length of a headline is 6 words. Of course, it can be hard to keep your headlines this short all the time. What you need to remember is that people usually read the first three words of a headline and the last three words.
Start Your Blog Post With a Story
The first sentence is the second most important element of your blog post. So, how can you hook your readers from the very first line?
A research by Groove HQ that tested different ways to introduce a new blog post, found that storytelling led to 300% more readers than the other methods.
Storytelling allows you to pick the interest of potential readers. Learn to grab their attention from the first sentence. Have them sit down and listen to your story. Get them intrigued and make them crave for more.
A lot of content writers think that, when a person lands on their page, he or she will take the time to read every single word.
The fact is, most people don’t read every word of an article, they simply scan through the content. They take cursory glances at a page looking for relevant information. If they can’t find what they need quickly enough, they will leave.
Subheadings are a great way to break your text and make it easier to scan. Remember, the quality of your writing isn’t the only element that will make your blog posts great. If your content is a massive block of text, people are unlikely to read it.
The Length of the Perfect Blog Post
Does the length of your blog post matters? It really depends on the added-value. A blog post that is 200 words long, but provides relevant information is certainly better than one that is 2000 words long, but is a complete waste of time.
According to Quick Sprout, blog posts that are 1500 words long or more get more shares. According to the author, posts that were longer than 1500 words received 68% more tweets and 22% more Facebook likes.
But, here’s the downside. According to a study by Norman Nielson, people only read 28% of the words in a long article. So, to make sure your readers get your marketing messages, make your blog posts easy to scan. Use subheadings, bullet points, numbered lists, and other methods of organizing your content.
Make a Good Visual Impression
The written word isn’t the only type of content your readers are interested in. People are wired to take in visual content faster than words. In fact, 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. So, there no wonder that posts with visual content get more backlinks and 94% more page views than just text.
Whatever the topic, don’t forget to include images. However, make sure the images, videos, or infographics you add are relevant to your story and can add value.
Optimize Your Content
You used every tip from this article and crafted an article you are proud of. But, your work is not done yet. Now, it’s time to optimize your post before publishing. After all, what’s the point of writing exceptional content if no one can find it?
Don’t get obsessed too much about keyword density. Nowadays SEO is more about writing quality content and adding value rather than stuffing your blog posts with keywords. However, using them in the right places can boost your search rank.
Here are some of the critical locations for your keywords:
- Page title
- Header tags
- Meta description
- Alt tags
Writing quality content is never easy, but it can become much easier if you have a system in place. Emulate what professional copywriters do and use these tips to produce amazing content for your next blog post.
What methods do you use to produce great content? We’d love to hear your thoughts.