Content, for the sake of this article, is copy written for websites, social media posts, blogs, press releases, and anything else your business may publish online. Put simply, content is how people learn about who you are, what you do, and whether or not they should become customers. Is it easy? No. Is writing good, high-quality content worthwhile? Yes.
Content written for businesses has intent: To turn the average Web user into a conversion. You don’t want to write an incredible article, have visitors skim through it, and call it a day. Instead, businesses need to implement a “call-to-action” into their content that convinces readers to click to learn more, check out products on a webpage, or follow the writer on social media.
The key to quality calls to action is that they avoid being overly promotional. Consequently, they should be the most self-involved words in a piece of content. It’s a difficult balance. Sometimes, just having a website, phone number, and a Twitter handle is enough.
Does your content have a purpose? Or is it just out there…taking up space? The key to writing meaningful content is three-fold:
- Copy must inform.
- Copy must deliver a takeaway.
- Copy must entertain.
The easiest way to meet and exceed these requirements is to find topics that are worth writing about. Do you plan on writing a 1,000-word post on a new part your manufacturing company uses? We hope not. Instead, find a way to work that information into the larger scope of things (comparing processes of competitors, exploring how this actually affects customers, etc.).
3. The Formality Issue
A press release, for example, is by nature more formal than an everyday Facebook post. The tone in a piece of content is extremely powerful and can make the difference between good and bad writing.
The challenge for businesses is de-formalizing social media and blogs. You don’t want your customers coming to your Facebook page or blog to think they’re reading ad copy. Get rid of the strict, jargon-heavy writing and replace it with something more conversational and friendly. Customers prefer connecting to people, not brands.
Alternatively, it’s important for business writers to avoid sounding immature and unprofessional. Content on the Web defines what a business is.
As a reader, there’s nothing worse than opening a page and reading rushed, choppy copy chock-full of spelling and grammar errors. Everything you publish needs to be polished, revised, reread, and read again, no matter how tedious the process seems.
Rushed content is also flaky content, usually written on topics that don’t mean anything to readers. Blogs, for instance, need to be informative, to the point, and offer a takeaway to readers. Can you do this by writing a post five minutes before your boss’ deadline? Probably not. Take the time to deliver what your online followers deserve.
Even the best content becomes terrible when it isn’t formatted well. This usually isn’t a problem for social media, but long-form posts and Web copy need to look good. It’s not 1997 anymore and there are plenty of tools out there that can help you present well-formatted copy in a highly readable way.
Words are just words. Want to make them more engaging? Add in multimedia, graphs, charts, infographics, pictures, links, pull-quotes, and other visuals to give your readers a break. This secondary content is often what people remember most about posts. The challenge, of course, is formatting content around this supplemental material.