With word count and quality expectations continuing to rise, creating ~1500 words of fresh content can feel like an overwhelming task, particularly if you’re not an expert on the topic. Below are our simple tips to make that task much easier and get you back on track with a solid plan to work with.
If you’ve ever been tasked with writing the content for a new website or one that’s really lacking in that area, you’ll know just how tough it can be to hit that word count. Even if you are an expert on the topic at hand, it can feel like an incredibly daunting process to go through and if you just dive in head first you might finding yourself stalling at 500 words – not a great result!
- Plan before you write
- Answer common questions
- Cover your Unique Selling Points
- Provide Tips and Tricks
- Offer Genuinely Helpful Resources
- Explain “How Stuff Works”
- Set Expectations
How do you go about writing your content? Leave your ideas in the comments below, we’d love to hear them.
Plan Before You Write
Before you even begin your content, take some time to sit down and plan a loose outline of what you want to cover and organise it in a logical order.
Even if you plan to write just 200 words for each point, with just 5 headings you can cover 1000 words; simple!
This also forces you to break the content up into nice, skimmable snippets to easily convey what you’re talking about and let users skip to the parts that really apply to them. Combine that with a healthy distribution of bullet points and relevant images and you’ve got the framework for some readable and compelling content.
Answer Common Questions
When it comes to website page content, it should aim to answer all the common questions a user is likely to be searching for. This provides genuine value for the users so they have a reason to stay on your site and provides the happy side effect of catering toward the Hummingbird semantic searches.
As an example, if you’re writing for a camping store and have a section about “how to clean your sleeping bag” with some great tips, you’re going to show up in the results for anyone searching that and similar terms. In Australia right now that only ads up to about 60 searches per month for the different variations of that question but that’s 60 searches per month you may not otherwise rank for and its also helping your relevance to the major terms like “sleeping bags” at 2,900 per month and “camping stores” at 6,600 per month (don’t forget to make use of your internal linking!).
If you don’t have a great knowledge of the product or service then you’re in a perfect situation to put together a list of all the questions you’d want answered if you were going to make a purchase. Its always a great idea to ask your client what questions they find themselves constantly answering too.
Cover Your Unique Selling Points (USPs)
Every successful business will have at least some USPs and page content is the perfect place to tell the world how you’re unique and why that is great. Remember to write it around the benefits the customer will receive though, don’t just talk about yourself, that’s boring!
Remember, a great business doesn’t have to do something different, they just have to do it better.
Offer Tips and Tricks
With most products and services there will be some tips and tricks that you may be aware of but never thought to share with others. This is the perfect opportunity to give some creative ideas about what you have to offer.
Offering this kind of value is a great way to keep their attention with something clever and it may be just what they needed to persuade them into making the purchase too. It doesn’t have to be something completely mind blowing (although bonus points if it is), it can be as simple as saving some a few seconds on a common task.
Provide Genuinely Helpful Resources
Likewise, if you use some online resources that your clients may find useful, provide a link and a short blurb about that resource and how to get the most from it.
Outbound linking to relevant sites (in moderation) is only going to help your rankings and it really does help the reader as well.
Explain How Your Product Works
Fair portion of your target audience will want to know just how your product works. There’s no need to launch into a boring whitepaper about the physics behind what you do but if you’re writing for a local carpet cleaning company, covering how your steam cleaner actually cleans their carpet and kills germs and bacteria can do a lot for the reader’s piece of mind and may answer some of their questions too.
The trick here is to offer your info in an engaging format. If you have the time and budget to put a video together or the rights to use an existing YouTube clip then that’s fantastic (make sure you provide some content to go with that clip though). If that isn’t an option, try to use some helpful images and diagrams to go with your text; a picture is worth a thousand words.
Finally, keep the wording and concepts simple – you might understand the intricacies of what you’re talking about but there is definitely such thing as too much information.
This is generally good business but its extends to your content writing as well. Whether you offer a minimum or average time frame will depend on the industry but if people know what to expect ahead of time then you’re really helping yourself by mitigating potential misunderstandings and frustrated clients.
If you sell a product that takes 3 weeks to manufacture and up to a week for shipping then make this 4 week schedule nice and clear and talk a bit about that manufacturing process so they can get a real understanding of the detail involved – don’t let them assume it takes 1 week and you’re just being slack!
Great content is always about providing helpful content for the user so each of these steps should put you easily on the right track to answer some important questions and really making their buying process that much easier.
Planning out your writing might feel slow and inconvenient the first couple of times but once you’re into the habit of doing that for everything you write, it becomes incredibly effective and often takes no more than 20 minutes. That’s time very well spent!