Ensuring that your website is brimming with fresh, quality content is beneficial for multiple reasons. Firstly, it can be useful for SEO and can influence your rankings. Google’s algorithm now specifies that it looks for high-quality, original content. Moreover, making your website a veritable hub of regularly updated, solid content will establish your business’s credibility as a leading authority in your field – it will map your brand out as an informational, trustworthy one. Newly updated content will show customers that your business is active, current and engaged. More content can also mean that there are ultimately more ways for customers to find you.
This, however, does not mean that you should fill your site with pages of random ranting, or slabs and slabs of dense text. Effective content requires carefully considered and artful crafting, which is why using the services of a professional copywriter is preferable if you lack a background in writing and content marketing yourself.
It is also much easier to put content out there through channels specifically designed for content-sharing like a blog. You can then link to blog updates on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to generate interest and website traffic - think of this as a kind of cycle of content.
Still stumped for ways to bring content to your site that visitors are going to want to read? Here are five basic ways you can start creating quality content that will engage your audience.
1. Provide useful, valuable information
This is the perfect way to showcase what your business does for visitors who don’t necessarily have extensive knowledge of your industry. This works as both a kind of advertisement for what you actually do, and in an informational mode which establishes your business as an industry expert.
For example, provide answers to common or tricky questions that are asked in relation to your field. Or provide case studies of work you’ve done previously – walk your reader through a “before and after” situation. Present your visitors with research that substantiates the benefits of whatever you’re selling.
The key is to provide material that’s of substance – information that will actually offer your reader genuine value. Because this is about establishing trust and authority, it also shouldn’t be overly “salesy”.
2. Get to know your audience
It might sound obvious, but not all readers are the same. And there’s no point in trying to please or engage every reader, because not every reader is going to be interested in your content. So the key is to hone down who your audience actually is.
Typically, your audience is likely to be a bunch of different people rather than any singular person, but chances are, these people are going to be linked in some way. So take the time to eke out the details of the person who is visiting your site – your prospective customer. Give some thought to the specifics of your target market.
What age are they? What kind of device and channels are they using to access content? What kind of content do they like to read? What tickles them or gives them pleasure? What kind of sense of humour might they have? In what style of voice would they want to be addressed? What problems might they have for which you can provide solutions?
3.Create sharp, bold headlines
Your headline is the first (and sometimes only) impression you make on an intended reader. Without a compelling promise that turns your curious visitor into an engaged reader, the rest of your content might as well not even be there.
A good headline should immediately captivate your reader and make them want to continue. Verbs are good here: they create a sense of action, movement, direction. Adjectives, on the other hand, should be used sparingly: a headline should be sharp and snappy, and descriptive words will only bog them down and make them heavy – try to save more elaborate description or explanation for the body of the piece itself.
4. Adopt a disguise
The most flexible content writing adopts a persona (or an array of different personas) in a way that’s similar to an actor taking on roles. Think of these personas as masks that can be put on and taken off at whim – you can also wear more than one at once.
Obviously, this is done through cunning wordsmithery rather than through the donning of artificial moustaches (or the weeping of glycerine tears), but the principle is the same. Essentially, well-crafted content is about picking the right voice, and, as with good acting, a huge part of the success of engaging writing is about creating a story.
What kind of tone does the content call for? Playful? Ironic? Earnest? Matter-of-fact? Goofy? Experiment with different styles, tones and voices, and consider how it interacts with the subject matter (and make sure that it’s suitable for your business’s brand). It would be weird and ineffective to write about gelati flavours in a clinical, technical voice (and it would probably be even weirder to write about healthcare in the same voice you’d use to write about gelati).
This requires equal parts roleplaying – trying on different writing styles like disguises and creating stories with them – and knowing your reader.
5. Don’t just rely on words
Many people are visually oriented. They are also easily distracted, and don’t want to swim through huge slabs of text.
Break up the flow of long paragraphs and make your text more dynamic and engaging with visual or audio-visual material. These don’t necessarily have to be serious or literal. Your content might call for something funny or even silly – and is there a blog post or social media update for which cat memes wouldn’t be appropriate?
6. Include calls to action
A call to action is an instruction to potential customers to provoke an immediate response, usually using imperative verbs. You don’t just want your visitors to be attracted to your site. You want to incite them to take action by, say, reading the second half of a blog post, downloading an information sheet, or making a purchase or engaging your services. This could be as simple as “Download our free information brochure now!” This encourages your reader (and prospective customer) to take the next step.
7. Leave your audience with questions
This doesn’t mean you should leave blog posts incomplete. Rather, you should include questions that will arouse the curiosity of your reader, and incite them to reflect on how they can implement the knowledge you’ve provided. This should encourage them to browse your site in more detail, and, ultimately, to take action to contact you about what you offer, or (if, for example, you were selling products through a webstore) to buy your products.