A lot of people think they’re good at content writing, but it’s a competitive market out there.

In order to make your work stand out, you’ll need more than just talent and enthusiasm.

You’ll need to learn some tricks that will help you write better content than anyone else in the game.

Here are 9 tips for writing better content than your competition:

1. Understand your audience

The first step in creating great content that stands out is to know who you’re writing for and what they want or need from your business.

Too many people just throw something online because everyone else does it, but the fact is, if you don’t have a clearly defined customer persona (or two, or three) you can’t possibly know what they’re interested in, so you’ll have to write for an imaginary person in your head.

The only way to guarantee that your writing will add value is to start by creating a thorough customer persona and keeping it up to date.

Use this information when planning content, evaluating how well you’re doing, and improving your content writing in general.

2. Offer more value than anyone else

You need to offer a lot of value, but you also need to make it easy for readers to find that value.

There’s only so much time people are willing to spend looking at your content, so you need to get the key points across in as few words as possible and make sure people can find the most important information quickly.

Using bullets, bolding headings, and subheadings is a tried-and-true method of making your content easier to read and understand.

3. Use simple language

People like to hear things they already know or feel familiar with. Even if you’re talking about something they’ve never heard of before, you can help them understand it more easily if you use plain language.

No one likes to feel dumb. If your readers don’t get what you’re saying right away they’ll lose interest and look elsewhere for information – or even worse, leave a bad review on the most popular site where their opinion gets a lot of attention.

Using simple language helps you avoid alienating your readers and helps you get more traffic, shares, and sales.

4. Write longer articles than anyone else

It can be difficult to maintain reader interest when you’re writing short blog posts or landing page headlines that are just 300 to 400 words long – not to mention the fact that you’re missing out on potential sales, leads, and shares.

Also, Google tends to favor longer content in search results, so you’ll likely get more traffic from long-form articles than anything else.

Think about it – would you rather read a 300-word article that offers little value or a 2000-word post that gives you everything you need to know (in-depth, step-by-step)?

Longer isn’t always better, but your readers will tell you what they want if you give them enough content options.

5. Be consistent with blog posting times

People expect certain types of content at specific times of the day or week, so if you’re writing for a certain audience you’ll need to blog at those times or your content won’t be valuable.

For example: If almost everyone in your industry is posting on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday about the latest news and trends, then there’s a good chance that readers are looking for fresh information on those days.

If you don’t blog at the right times, you are more likely to lose traffic, leads, and sales.

6. Use numbers to grab readers’ attention

If you want people to believe that your content is what they’ve been looking for, then you’ll need to present it in a way that shows them right away that it’s worth reading.

One of the best ways to do this is by using numbers (e.g. 33 ways to lose weight) because readers will immediately recognize the value of your information and want more.

Numbers also make articles seem longer, so they can help you get shares and links if you publish them on sites that are willing to link out to another blog.

Don’t overdo it or use numbers for everything though – be selective so that you don’t appear spammy and help your readers find the best information quickly.

7. Break up lengthy text with short videos, pictures, or infographics

If you’re lucky, some people will read the whole thing. But for most other readers, short videos, pictures, and infographics are more effective at grabbing attention quickly.

You don’t have to use every one of these types in your content – but they work especially well together.

8. Tell stories or argue with your readers using short paragraphs

Don’t make long paragraphs out of one sentence. Use commas, colons, or semicolons to break up the information in your writing.

For example: If you want to write about how you started a company from scratch, start with the beginning – tell the story of how and why you did it.

Then discuss what challenges you faced and eventually talk about your marketing strategies or other pieces of content that people care about most.

The main thing to remember here is to write with the end-user in mind.

9. Give people something they can use or do immediately

People like free stuff, especially if it helps them solve a problem. Throw in an offer at the beginning or end of your post and make it easy for readers to find.

For example: If you want to tell them about a new social media tool, give them a way to take it for a test drive with your link.

If you’re offering content for free or an ebook, give people something as soon as they visit your website (not buried down in the navigation somewhere).

To sum up, the key to writing content that converts is understanding how your customers think. If you can tap into how they process information and what type of content they trust, the more likely it will be for them to read and share your content.

When you’re writing, don’t worry about making mistakes and doing it perfectly the first time. Most writers rewrite their content multiple times before posting so that they can polish it to perfection.

Good luck!

P.S. If you’re new to content marketing, this Content Marketing: A-to-Z Guide will guide you through the steps.