8 Tips for Writing Great Content « Goldberg Communications
You need two things to create successful content: a thorough plan based on an understanding of your audience, your message, and your desired result — and excellent execution. When it comes to content, good execution means good writing.
Following these 8 tips will help you keep your writing on track.
- Focus on one message. If you have too many messages, people will get confused and won’t understand any of them. Give readers one message. Think of it as your thesis. All points must prove or disprove this thesis.
- Write a clear headline.
The headline is the first thing that draws people into your piece, whether they use a search engine or see the paper in print. Since most papers live primarily online, make sure your headlines include keywords. Also, give the reader a clear view of who the paper is for and what they can expect by reading it. Highlight any benefits.
- Include a subtitle or executive summary. People want to quickly determine whether they should read the rest of the piece. A two- to three-line subtitle can summarize a shorter article. Use an executive summary to communicate the essence if a longer piece, such as a white paper. For example, when you’re writing an educational white paper, highlight the trends, challenges and opportunities, the solution, and the benefits. Sell the value of reading the paper.
- Eliminate unnecessary repetition. Repetition is a good thing if you use it for a reason. For example, repeating information from the body of your paper in your executive summary and conclusion, as well as in captions and pull quotes draws the reader in by presenting tantalizing tidbits. Repetition can also be used for emphasis or to create a pleasing rhythm. Unnecessary repetition is another story. Often when I edit papers from nonprofessional writers, I’ll see the same information, stated in slightly different words, in multiple places. This leaves the reader wondering whether the piece is saying the same thing or two different things.
- Let it flow. Every paper should make a logical argument. In marketing, this argument is usually about how a specific solution solves a particular customer problem. While you can incorporate several benefits of the solution, they all must support one primary message. Put any interesting but extraneous information into a sidebar or a different paper.
- Write clearly. Logical flow is one aspect of clear writing. Good paragraph and sentence structure are others. Use active rather than passive voice whenever possible. Strong action words are better than adverbs with nouns. Edit to eliminate unnecessary verbiage. Check for consistency: use one person (I, you, he or she, they) throughout, use the same tense, spell words and use punctuation consistently. For a thorough education on how to write clearly, check out William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well” or Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.”
- Conclude properly. Every piece should have a conclusion. The conclusion should summarize key points and highlight a key takeaway.
- Ask for action. Marketing content should tell the reader what to do next. This step will be determined by your audience and where they are in their buying process.
By following these tips, you can ensure that not only is your piece well conceived, but also well executed so that you can fully achieve your content marketing goals.