September 3, 2021

Do's and Don'ts Of Content Writing: Our Guide For New Writers

Content writing and editing require both logic and art. Though content writers can get the seed for an article through inspiration and creativity, they need to follow grammar and spelling rules when cleaning things up. The writing process cannot be whimsical; here are a few dos and don'ts to note when writing web content.

DO: Give Your Content A Unique Voice

Your content must be relevant to the audience you're trying to attract. Ideally, it provides information that the readers haven't learned elsewhere, or at least haven't learned in as much detail. The content you publish must also be exciting. What is exciting for people depends on their preferences, so you should know more about your target market to determine the types of articles that make them pay attention.

While run-of-the-mill content can still help your SEO, it does not check any other boxes. When you publish for the sake of publishing, you overlook the larger goal of becoming a relevant source of information to readers. If you're too busy running other aspects of your business to sit down and plan a calendar of topics for your blog, you have several options. First, you can cut down on the number of posts you produce in a month. Alternatively, you can hire a writer or a team to help you. Get the most traction out of your content by hiring a team that can think out of the box. You want people who can execute ideas; be sure that the people you hire can follow through on a concept.

DO: Use Simple Words And Keep Sentences Short

Persuasive writing rests on clarity; the most effective writers are the ones who can produce thought-provoking content without overly intellectualizing the subject matter. Mark Twain said it best: "Don't use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do." Thinking of words in terms of capital curbs writers' tendency to be verbose. Get to the point when you write, and your readers will thank you. 

What's more, straightforward content performs better in readability tests, which means potentially higher rankings for your blog on search results pages. People like reading posts with simple and straightforward sentences, especially online, where the average user is at a 6th to 12th-grade reading level. It will take some time for you to get the hang of being both fresh and concise in writing, but it is possible.

DO: Ensure That Your Content Is Unique

Plagiarizing content runs the gamut from copying and pasting entire articles to duplicating meta descriptions or improperly quoting facts. Avoid these when writing. Novel content—articles whose point of view reflects the author's take on an industry topic—improves your Google rank and makes you authoritative in the eyes of your readers.

DO: Edit Your Posts As Closely As You Can

All writers make mistakes, from simple typographical errors to substantial, factual ones. While committing errors is understandable, you have to keep it to a minimum and catch it before the post goes live. People do not usually notice the spelling, grammar, or punctuation you use in posts, especially if you're doing things correctly. However, they will notice if something is awry. Fortunately, there are tools like Grammarly and Hemingway that can help you construct better sentences.

DON'T: Wander Through Ideas

Readers nowadays have a lot of distractions. The jury is still out on whether our attention spans are shorter, but there are indeed many entertainment sources competing for people's time. On average, a user online will have about ten to 20 minutes to read an article in one go, so you have to make your point quickly. 

Be upfront about what the reader will get out of finishing your article. If the user cannot gauge how valuable your post is to them in a few sentences, they will probably leave the page and find an article that tells them what to expect from the start. Start your article with a sentence that relates your topic to your audience's hopes, struggles, or wants, then relate it with the main idea you are trying to make.

DON'T: Tackle Multiple Topics At Once

Rambling on blogs was the norm in the early 2000s internet, but today is a different landscape. Few people have the patience for a rambling post, and your readers will disappear if you jump from one topic to another. Pick only one idea to elaborate on in your post. You can examine the subtopics in this larger one to flesh it out or illustrate it with examples. Focused content will help you earn more of your readers' attention in the future.

DON'T: Write Without Proper Research

Before starting an article, you have to study things like trending content, what your competition is writing about, other companies' social media strategies, and the popular keywords in your niche. Getting a feel for what the content looks like in your industry lets you hit the ground running.

You can perform well if you know what people like seeing from companies like yours. Start with a sound keyword research strategy using tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush, and use BuzzSumo and similar platforms to identify what types of content and keywords are trending.

Beyond using tools, though, you should also develop a "story sense," or the ability to discern if a topic will be interesting to your target audience. People who work in media and PR are highly skilled at this; they can see an event as a whole and pick the most newsworthy things from it. Developing your story sense won't happen overnight. The more experience you have in your industry, the better you will be at sifting through the different events and picking which ones people will be more interested in examining deeply.

Conclusion

Content creation is no walk in the park. Even businesses in "fun" or entertaining niches require a strong content strategy if they want to be one of the top choices of clients or customers in their industry. Publishing content regularly is not enough to make your brand rise to the top. Your articles need to be both fresh and helpful to your audience, so they will want to keep reading what you have to say.

Build a blog that lasts when you partner with Ranked. We provide weekly content structured to help you retain readers and customers for the long-term. Book a call with our team or activate your account today!

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