Learn to Dribble or Craft Good Content - Your Choice
Writing is a skill like athleticism. You could be the fastest runner in the world, but not be able to dribble a basketball. A good athlete may be strong and well-coordinated, but he or she is not necessarily good at every type of sport.
Good writers, like accomplished athletes, practice regularly. If you were a good writer when you were in college, you may be out of practice by now. With proper instruction and practice, however, anyone can become a good writer. It is not dependent on raw talent or innate abilities.
In this age of technology, you do not even need the physical dexterity to hold a pencil in order to be a good writer. You could peck out some words on a keyboard and be brilliant! If you are writing haiku, a few syllables artfully arranged in three lines could make you a good writer.
Writing a haiku, however, is not a writing skill that will win you any awards for business writing. Are there awards for good business writing? Sure there are. They come in the form of more customers, better sales and higher revenue.
Eye the Goal: Grow Your Business
As a business owner, you probably realize that you can achieve anything as long as you know what the goal is. Working used to be a status symbol until accomplishment took its place. Figure out what you are trying to accomplish, and you are halfway there.
The goal of business writing is increased business, of course, but what does that look like? When it comes to content marketing, good writing entices, informs and entertains your audience. It makes them want to click on your offer, buy your product and return to visit your website often.
Good writing can keep your customer base engaged and create a feeling of community for them around your brand. It can solve the problems of the day and bring about world peace. Okay, maybe not that, but you get the picture.
Define the Audience: Get More Customers
Writing that appeals to women between the ages of 50 and 65 will not resonate with millennials of any gender. You may be able to engage an audience of camping enthusiasts on topics related to survival and outdoor exploration, but environmental allergy sufferers will not be interested in joining that discussion.
When it comes to writing, the demographics of your audience may be the most important determining factor. Millennials are not likely to connect with text that tells them to mind their P’s and Q’s or warns that loose lips sink ships. An older audience may be lost with suggestions to google it and check their newsfeed.
Before you begin writing, it is important to define your audience. Who are you talking to? Are they already customers of yours or are they part of a new market you are trying to attract? How old are they, and what are some of their hobbies?
Get to Work Building Marketing Content
When you know your goal and who you’re writing for, you are ready to begin. If writing fluency is an issue for you, just start writing anything that comes to mind. Imagine you are talking to one of your audience members, and write what you would say. You can always go back and edit your work later. It is easier to cross words out than make them up.
Here are some other things to keep in mind while you are developing written content for your website, social media and ad campaigns:
Take the customer’s perspective.
Instead of writing the information you want your customer to know, think about what he or she is looking for. Business owners make this mistake all the time. Their content or marketing copy is all about their qualifications, features of their products and services or other professional achievements that set them apart. They do not realize how irrelevant these details are to the customer.
We worked with one client who was updating their website content and wasn’t aware of this rule. On the About page, they detailed their business story from the beginning. This was a great idea, except they took it from the perspective of sales and revenue. In most businesses, customers are not interested in your revenue, they want to know what you will do for them.
Customers want to know that you understand their problems. When you write your website content from their perspective, instead of your own, they will connect with it. Even if you are describing the history of your business, the emphasis should be on what you did to help customers, and how you adapted your business over time to better meet customers’ needs.
Emote a little.
People are emotional creatures. Even the most stoic among us can be driven by emotions. Feelings, good and bad, are one thing that connect us to each other as human beings.
You want your blog writing to connect with website visitors, so put some emotion into it. It may not be professional to talk about your feelings, but you have to tap into emotions to connect with readers. Mostly, you want to write about their feelings, and keep it positive.
Use emotion-words to describe the customer experience with your company. When you write about your products or services, include the emotions that satisfied customers experience. Your readers will identify with positive emotions, and your writing will connect those emotions to your product and services.
Cut the fat.
Good for your heart; good for your content marketing. People are in a hurry — always! They are not going to spend a lot of time reading the text on your website. If you want to get a point across, you’ll have to make it fast.
The fastest way to convey written information is by making the best use of each word. The old adage in the writing industry goes like this: write tight. Eliminate words like good, nice, very, really, and other words you may think are descriptive. Instead choose delicious, comfortable, affordable, and other words that carry specific meaning and elicit emotion from your reader.
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. If you are telling a narrative, only include the steps that are most important to the point of your story. Use contractions and other informal language to keep your tone conversational.
Outsourcing is Always an Option
Although you are a good writer, it may take a long time for you to develop good content for your website. Just like what you do for your customers, content writing is a specific skill. When you are trying to balance your time as a business owner, outsourcing certain tasks is essential. Check out our monthly content marketing package and compare the cost to the value of your time when it could be spent doing other things.