Monday 11 December 2017

How to write great content for marketing use

Business Q&A

Q I WOULD like to increase my business profile using content marketing including web pages and blogs, do you have any suggestions on how I can write great content?

A If you want to communicate with people, you need to know who you're speaking to. You need to focus on your target audience and put them first. Try to get inside their heads and understand their thought process. The tone of voice and the words you choose speaks volumes. So take time to make sure everything you publish is well thought through.

Everyone is a publisher these days, whether it's a blog post, a video or an email. So it's never been more important to ensure that the content you create is quality. Writing well is a skill, it is best to follow a few guidelines on how to produce great written content.

Getting started - identify your target audience

You need to start by knowing who you are you writing for. Different audiences will respond well to different types of writing. Try to identify one or two audiences to target, as you can't target everyone. Ask yourself: Who will use your product? What information do they need? What language would they use when talking about your product? Who do they interact with? How do they make decisions?

Try to build up an image of the typical customer for your product or service. Use market research to help you create a clear picture of your target audience. Next, look at the actual words and what makes for content that surprises and delights your audience

So how much should you write?

The short answer is, "it depends". Readers on a blog expect content of about 500 words. Yet some consumers, like business buyers, appreciate more detailed articles of over 1,500 words. Of course, the information still needs to be relevant.

The key is to experiment to see what works best for you. Try different lengths and use analytics tools to see which articles get the best response. Write the way you would speak - be conversational and use the magical word "you"

You might not think you have much to write about. But any business can be made interesting with a bit of creative writing. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Interview your customers. Ask them what they look for in a product?

2. Write about what you've learned from working in your industry - be an expert

3. Collate relevant news articles, with a short introduction and conclusion. Make sure you avoid breaching copyright

4. Publish some industry data, perhaps with your own comments. Make sure you acknowledge the data source

5. Check out a few tools and sites such as Word stream or Copy blogger and start writing articles

Leverage your audience

Your audience can help you create good content. Many of your readers will be happy to contribute, especially if you mention them by name. Here are three things you could try:

1. Quote your readers' comments, or interview them if they have something interesting to say

2. Invite them to write or blog on your site - but make sure you edit their work before publishing it

3. Use their feedback as a starting point for your own writing.

Be careful to strike a balance. User-generated text is cheap and plentiful - but it can be less authoritative than content you write yourself

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