Content marketing is simple, you tell your story, and you show how your services and products solve people’s problems. You do this enough times and people start to find you via the search engines and pretty soon you have more inquiries than you know what to do with. The trouble is nothing is ever as easy as it first appears and many people when they sit down to write, suddenly seem to think they need to use words they would never ordinarily use or add in extra words that are not needed. This is just fluff and the truth is the best writing style, especially online is to write simply as if you were talking to your audience. In order to do this you cannot use extraneous words, but you can’t leave out what’s important either.
Craft a Working Title
I love to start with a title, it allows me to focus on what I want to Crafting a title involves understanding the reason for your article. When you understand the reason for your article, you’ll be able to write beefier content without getting wordy. Always remember that a working title can change, and that you can also AB split test titles to see which one generates the most clicks.
Make an Outline
After you’ve got your working title, it’s time to make a quick outline. Don’t be afraid. You don’t have to worry about Roman numerals and lower case letters to make an outline. Just write a few bullet points about the issues you want to tell your audience and give the article its purpose.
Dictate Your Blog Post or Article
It is helpful for some people to use voice-to-text technology to “talk” or “dictate” their writing. Most Microsoft-based computers and Apple computers already have this technology available. But, you can also purchase professional programs such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. When you talk your copy it will resonate with your audience in a new engaging way.
Link to Dragon Naturally Speaking
Avoid Redundant Words
Common redundancies like “absolutely perfect”, and “actual facts” can either add to or subtract from the meaning of your words. Most of the time you want to avoid needless redundancies such as “last and final” because it adds nothing to the meaning of your words. There can be an argument for certain types of irreverent writing to include these redundancies but for concise writing, avoid them as much as possible and edit for meaning and readability.
You were taught in school to write short, to-the-point sentences, but sometimes it’s appropriate to combine sentences for more concise copy. Combining short sentences helps you avoid boring your audience. When you can combine two sentences easily, without creating a run on sentence, you should do it. It will improve understanding of the copy and improve the overall flow.
That, Who, Which
Sometimes these words are needed, but when you are editing your work, pay extra attention to times when that, who, and which are being used. Try the sentence without these words to see if the meaning changes or if it changes the emphasis of the words.
Use Active Voice
It’s very easy slip into using passive voice when writing, however most of the time using an active voice is more appropriate. A key to knowing when your passive voice sneaks in, are the words, “it, is, was, and by”. If you notice those words while editing, try to arrange the sentence by switching the passive voice to active voice.
Example: “He got scratched by the cat.” Passive | “The cat scratched him.” Active
When an action word becomes a noun, it becomes a nominalization (e.g. “illustration” versus “illustrated”). These should be avoided. They have a negative effect on your copy by making reading it monotonous and easy to misunderstand. Instead focus on making sentences active and using nouns as nouns and action words as action words.
No one can write good copy in one draft. In fact, it may take you multiple drafts to perfect your copy. You want it to be beefy, full, and effective. Take the time to perfect each sentence for each type of copy you write. Start with free-flowing copy, leave it for a while, then come back to it and make it better.
How Long Should a Blog Post Be?
The simple answer is that a blog post needs to be as long as needed to answer the question posed by the article title. This means that an article of 300 words or 2000 is correct provided that it answers the question and nothing else.
Writing beefy copy is not just about using fewer words; it’s about using the right words in the right place, at the right time. Following these suggestions will help you improve your writing exponentially. But, don’t allow these ideas to interfere with your flow of words, that’s what editing is for after all.