Millions of blog posts are added to the internet daily. So, with so much noise, how can you make sure your writing stands out? How do you attract readers to your content?
Let's look at 9 hot tips that will help you write better, more noticeable and shareable content.
#1: Do You Have A Strategy?
If you have a content marketing strategy, then it’s much easier to create a coherent brand presence with your content. When you know your strategy, everything else will flow from that, from topics to voice.
Many companies still haven’t created a content marketing strategy. We have created a guide that you can download if you’re still struggling to document it.
#2: Keep Updating Your Keyword Research
You're probably already familiar with keyword research. But when was the last time you looked at the landscape? Trends on keywords change over time as things change. What used to be a hot keyword might have started to cool and one that you passed on before may be rising.
Concured offers smart, AI-driven tools that can help you create an amazing keyword strategy for your content, but there are other ways you can do research as well. Google Trends is a quick way to get insight into your current keywords to see if they’re rising or falling in popularity for searchers.
Don’t forget that if a term is rising you may have more competition to get noticed for it. You can experiment with long-tail keywords for a rising idea or answer questions related to the rising keyword to approach the topic indirectly.
#3: Set Your Brand Tone
Once you have your strategy and keywords in place, is it time to just jump in a start writing? Not Yet!
You have to think about your brand’s tone first. We feel it's important to decide on your tone first before you write your first line. The type of writing that works for The New Yorker and the kind that works for Buzzfeed are vastly different. One of the reasons is tone.
The goal of a brand tone is to give your audience an identifiable voice to your brand. Even if you have multiple authors for your content, you can still set some rules for consistency. Do you want your articles to be intellectual or conversational? Do you want to entertain or inform, or a bit of both? Who are you writing for and why, and what language do you need to do to connect with that audience?
Remember too that when you hire a new writer they may need guidance to meet your tone standards even if they have experience. Thus, teaching tone guidelines should be part of your onboarding process.
#4: Craft an Eye-Catching Headline
We all know the importance of first impressions. Your headline is your reader's first glance at your article. It has to intrigue them, tease them, and hook them.
A mediocre headline will sink even the finest writing because no one will click through to see the rest of the article.
What are the elements of a great headline? Here are a few to chew on.
A great headline:
- includes the keyword
- isn't too long
- hooks the reader
- has eye-catching words
What kinds of headlines seem to do best? Try headlines that start with "How to." They perform well, in our experience. Also, like this article, list-style headlines are catchy.
Take a look at the two example headlines. Which do you think is better? Which would you click on?
A: An Overview of Preparing Rose-Producing Plants for Cold Temperatures this Winter: 5 Steps to Follow
B: How to Prepare your Roses for Winter in 5 Easy Steps
Which did you choose? Headline A completely explains what you're going to get, but it's very wordy. There's no way a search engine will show the entire title in a search result, which means it will be cut off with three dots.
A is also a bit boring, isn't it?
B, on the other hand, says the same thing with less than half the characters. It gets the idea across in a way that (hopefully) catches the reader's attention.
For more information on this topic, check out our previous article on writing good headlines.
#5: Hook Your Readers
A headline alone will not hook an article. You need a good introduction as well. After they've already clicked on your catchy headline, they'll bounce away from your page in a heartbeat if the article's opening is lackluster.
The ways to hook a reader in an intro include:
- presenting a problem you'll solve
- talking about who the article is for
- give a hint of the information to come
- shows why the article is practical
- sets your brand apart from others
Introductions aren’t just for readers either. Search engines also use them to figure out what an article is about. A lot of writers struggle with introductions, so here is a guide on how to write a good one from Neil Patel.
#6: Make Your Article Scannable
Once a reader is hooked, they'll do one of two things. They either keep reading, or they'll start to scan.
Scanning isn't a bad thing. When we're looking for specific information, we might scan multiple articles. Most people scan a little before settling down to read anyway.
So you want to make your content scannable, but also not too scannable. What do we mean by that?
You want readers to be able to scan down the page, but you want their eye to stop from time to time and take an interest in what you have to say.
Think of your article like a grocery store. You want people to peruse the aisles. So you design the store with wide aisles that allow for flowing traffic. But, at the same time, you want customers' trip down the aisles to be exciting, with lots of displays that will make them stop and consider buying.
How do you make your content just the right amount of scannable?
- Start with your headings. Do you break up the text enough? Do the headlines tell a story? Try reading them while ignoring the text. Are they informative and catchy?
- The first line of each paragraph after a headline has to be its own little hook, as well. If a headline in the middle of the article catches a reader's skimming eye, they might start reading from that point
- We'll talk more about them below, but images, graphs, maps and charts also help scanning readers to stop and interpret the information
- Finally, use lists to help scanning readers slow down and absorb important information
#7: Include Images
We can't just write amazing words and expect readers to fall in love. We have to include visuals, especially if we want our articles to stand out. That means including images.
What kinds of images are best? Well, that would depend on your content and topic. Images can fall into two types for B2B blogs. The first is informational pieces like infographics, graphs, maps, and similar things. The second is professional images used to deliver a certain kind of tone and to break up longer pieces.
Informational images need captions and alt tags. Captions help explain why that image was chosen and give you a place to cite your sources. Alt tags tell search engines and non-sighted people what your image is meant to explain.
#8: Call Readers to Action
We've talked about your introduction, but your conclusion is even more important. Why is that?
Even readers that scan an entire article normally slow down for the last paragraph of two. This is human nature, and you can use it to your advantage.
Your conclusion is a great place to recap, especially if you're wrapping up a very long article with lots of main points. It's also a great point to provide any parting advice or practical application.
But the most important thing you can do in your conclusion is to provide a call to action. What do you hope readers do next? Share the article? Join a mailing list? Click through to a landing page or piece of cornerstone content?
Whatever that is, you'll want to point your readers in the right direction. It gives your content a context within your content marketing strategy.
#9: Use Tools to Proofread
Even the best writing can be sunk by poor editing. If the content marketing team you work in has an editor or proofreader, great! But, no matter what, you can always use a great, free proofreading tool like Grammarly.
We love Grammarly because it easily integrates with software like Word and Google Docs. Notice the below paragraph, taken from Yoast, with some errors sprinkled in:
“In most cases the reason a post doesn’t rank is that theres simply too much competition. Is you optimize you’re blogpost for competitive keywords and keyphrases, such as [cat behavior], [robot vacuum cleaner], orr [real estate agent], chances is high you won’t rank for that term,.”
How many errors did you find? Now, notice how Grammarly sees the paragraph:
We make the corrections, and now we have the content the way Yoast originally posted it, error-free:
“In most cases, the reason a post doesn’t rank is that there’s simply too much competition. If you optimize your blogpost for competitive keywords and keyphrases, such as [cat behavior], [robot vacuum cleaner], or [real estate agent], chances are high you won’t rank for that term.”
A simple tool like this one can save you from a lot of embarrassing mistakes.
More content is being added to the internet today than ever before. More people, around the world, are working as content writers than in years past. This is great news!
But it also means we have to be on top of our game when it comes to the quality of our articles. By following these 9 hot tips, you'll be able to make catchy, scannable, informative content that will win hearts and grow your brand.
If you’re struggling with what to write about next, Concured can help. Our enterprise-level content strategy platform is helping major brands use the power of AI to increase readership and market share by predicting what audiences want to read. To schedule a demonstration, contact us.