You’d be amazed at how many words people misuse on a regular basis. For instance, peruse probably doesn’t mean what you think it does (in fact, it’s probably the opposite). Never use words unless you’re absolutely certain of their meaning.
Content writing and strategy
There are days when writing for the web can feel like shouting into the void. I craft a story to be published and wonder who is actually reading it. The reality is that no writer wants to create copy that nobody reads.
We research what people are sharing on social media. We dive into organic search analytics to figure out how people are searching for the topics we’re covering and how search engines are providing them answers. We read content on similar topics to see what other writers are doing and make sure we can differentiate our content.
Every piece of content I create on a given day begins with strategy. Usually, it’s a combination of collaborative discussions with clients and independent research, but regardless of the methods, the goal is the same: Tell a story that’s engaging for the reader, valuable for the client and strategically designed to get noticed on the web.
In a lot of ways, a professional content writer is a well-rounded content specialist, with strengths in multiple content marketing disciplines. That’s how great content is born: mapping SEO, social media, technical research and more to the core task of putting pen to paper.
(Even More!) Web Content Writing Tips
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You don’t have to be a professional to know what good content writing looks like. If you’ve ever searched for something on Google and found a page that’s actually been helpful — congratulations, you’ve experienced good content writing!
While great content writing certainly gets clicks (and keeps people on your page), it has the power to do so much more. Good copy answers someone’s question. Great copy answers their question — and a few they didn’t even know they had.
Why should entrepreneurs learn content writing?
Good content writing is your best employee — in fact, a Salesforce/Pardot survey found that consumers consider trust in a company’s content to be 3x more important than trust in the brand’s actual employees. 97% of the same survey respondents also said that bad content negatively affected their trust in a brand.
1. Good content writing begins with keyword research.
Before you even start to write content, you need to know what you’re writing about — and you can kill two birds with one stone if you combine search engine optimization with your editorial calendar planning.
Keyword research tells you what topics Google (and your target audience) finds relevant.
It illuminates your competitors content strategy, and highlights the strengths and weaknesses in your own. And it allows you to optimize individual articles and your content strategy as a whole to bring in more traffic.
The ROI is unbeatable. TCF’s site generates over $400,000 worth of organic traffic each year (as in, we’d have to spend more than $400,000 dollars in AdWords to get the same number of site visits). And all it takes is a little extra research time, and occasional tweaks to update the content and keyword targeting.
2. Keyword stuffing is never okay
A web page stuffed with keywords looks dubious and untrustworthy — to both Google and human readers. Your conversion rate and SERPs rankings go down, along with your page views. Readers start to see it as a low quality page and bounce quickly, and over time search engines slap down your domain.
Search engines are smart these days. You don’t have to work in grammatically incorrect keyword phrase just because searchers use it. You don’t need to work in every conceivable variation of a search term for Google to understand what your page is about.
3. Drive toward powerful calls to action (CTAs)
What do you want readers to do with the content you create? If your only answer is, “Well, read it, I guess,” you need to go back to the drawing board. Before you even start writing a blog post, you need to know what your call to action will be, and you need to make it compelling enough that readers can’t help but click. That’s how you connect content writing to marketing goals and prove ROI.
Which calls to action should businesses use in their content?
When writing calls to action, put yourself in the reader’s shoes: what would it take for a company you’ve never heard of to convince you to do something, even something as simple as sharing the article with a friend? Now, connect it to your goals: how can you craft a CTA and content specific to your company’s marketing and sales KPIs that actually persuades readers to take action?
4. Email vs. e-mail, Internet vs. internet and other style debates
Language always changes, and web writers need to be hip to the trends to appeal to modern audiences. For example, many organizations would never use the singular, gender-neutral “they” as recently as the early 2000s. Now, the only language authorities that make you write out “he or she” are middle school English teachers.
Similarly, “e-mail” was considered the correct term for a long time by major authorities like the AP and The New York Times, but one by one they gave in. The same goes with the lowercase “internet.” There are people that still treat it as a proper noun, but none of them work as editors in The Guardian, The Economist or the BBC.
The bottom line is, whatever your language pet peeves are, your online writing is for your audience, not for you.
5. Always hyperlink to your sources
When you reference another website’s content, make sure you hyperlink back to that site. It’s good internet etiquette, and you’d want the same courtesy. Always cite your sources, even if you’re afraid it’ll send your web traffic to another site — and you can always choose the “open link in another window” option if you’re that concerned about keeping your traffic.
6. Make the reader feel something.
But almost all viral writing shares one thing in common: emotional impact.
In a recent article, Hubspot interviewed three different marketing experts on why content goes viral. Although each emphasized different factors, all three emphasized the importance of creating web content that evokes an emotional response in the reader. Megan Conley, Content Marketing Strategist at HubSpot, put it this way:
We all have opinions on what types of content go viral: a soundless social video, a data-backed explainer, a perfectly timed newsjack. But no matter the format, it ultimately comes down to emotion. Does the story make you feel enraged, inspired, understood? With everything you create you have to ask: If this scrolled by on my newsfeed, would I care? If the answer is no, it’s not worth it. Your online content habits are your own best judge.
4 Tools that Every Web Content Writer Needs
The tools that content writers use include processing programs, web writer software, research tool, and content calendars, among others. But, there are several tools for content writers to use. As you may have guessed, these programs are essential for providing quality and useful content for websites.
1. Word Processing Program
The first tool is a word processing program for formatting the text in a way that would make it look neat and attractive. Tons of word processing programs already exist on the internet today. However, some of the most popular ones include Microsoft Word, WPS, Apache OpenOffice, etc. Note that Word Processing programs don’t have specialized features for web content development. So, you may want to consider a web writer software instead.
2. Web Writer Software
However, there are web writer applications, such as INK, that offers the best of both worlds. Along with optimizing your content for search engines, the INK editor combines automated grammar and readability checking features for an excellent writing experience.
3. Content Calendar
A content calendar allows the content developers to keep track of the date and schedule for the articles. The purpose of a content calendar is simple. It gives your whole team visibility on what you’re working on and allows you to plan ahead. Also, keeping track of deadlines becomes easier when you’re using a content calendar. One of the most popular content calendars to consider is CoSchedule.
4. Researching Tools
A fourth tool is a researching tool for finding what’s relevant to your readers. To show up in search results, it’s essential to understand your target market and how they’re searching for your content. That’s where keyword research comes in.
Each of these tools helps in creating a good quality website that’ll attract many visitors and increase conversion. But, these are just tools. While they can help create an engaging article that would rank on the search engine, they won’t make you a good writer. You have to do that all by yourself.
4 Tips to Help You Become a Professional Web Content Writer
1. Understand the Realities of Content Writing
An average entry-level content writer with less than one year experience earns roughly $37,593 in the United States. Meanwhile, writers with over 20 years of experience earn an average of $60,318 annually.
2. Learn the ropes
3. Search for the right mentor
You could also look outside your comfort zone for mentorship. For example, you could intern at a local publication in your community to find the right mentor. Another option is to join a community of writers such as the Professional Writers Alliance.
4. Practice Content Creation
Most blog posts on the internet are either journalistic article-writing style or use an educational format. So, read these types of articles and study the form, structure, voice, and tone until you’re familiar with them.
Read More: 10 Content Writing Tips for Beginners and Entrepreneurs