If you read these pages regularly, you’ll know I am a great fan of regular new content on a website. New, relevant content keeps your site interesting and dynamic, which is also good news for Google. This said, writing new content is one of the biggest stumbling blocks faced by most businesses. It is expensive and time consuming to get good quality, relevant content written by someone else. They don’t know your business like you do. Yet when faced with a blank piece of paper (or screen) it can seem impossible for you to think what to write about and even how to write what you want! My normal approach is to try to break the task down into small steps and then tackle them one at a time.
5 Steps to relevant, attractive content
1. Subjects for Attractive Content
You know your business. You talk to your customers and prospects. What are the problems you help them solve? What are the questions they always ask? What are the mistakes people make when making decisions on your products/services? Use your knowledge and expertise to list a few subjects, I suggest only 3 or 4. Try to keep your subjects simple and focussed. If you write a subject that is very broad, try to break it down into a series of simpler elements. This could be the basis of a series of articles – always good news/blog content.
2. Bullet Points
Take a subject and expand on it by writing a few bullet points: What are the key points you want to discuss? Why are they relevant to your target audience? How can you benefit your customers? I normally find 5 or 6 points is about right.
Once you have your bullet points you have the essence of your article the next stage is to think about structure and here, go back to basic story telling. You need:
- A Beginning
- A Middle
- An End
As an example, if you are writing a case study, think in terms of:
- The problem you faced
- The solution you delivered
- The benefits from your solution
Whatever you are writing about, this core structure will give the basis for a complete and coherent article.
4. Expand your structure
Once you have your structure, it is simply a case of expanding your core words into proper sentences and paragraphs, possibly with additional explanation or examples as appropriate. Aim to keep your article easy to read. Try not to use too much jargon and keep sentences and paragraphs to the point. A good blog post is typically around 4-600 words. If you get carried away and head towards 800-1000 words, maybe you can split into 2 articles? If you find yourself going into a lot of necessary detail, maybe you can do a short version as your article and offer the full version as a ‘White Paper’, downloadable in PDF format? If it has really strong and valuable content maybe you could ask people to register with their email address in return for the download – a great way to build a quality database.
5. So What!
Finally a bit of self-critique with the So What? test.When you have written your article, imagine you are you target customer and re-read the article through their eyes. Is there any point that they might say So What? in response to something you have written? If so you are not showing them any benefit. It is normally quite easy, with a slight re-word, to show how what you are saying can benefit your customer. If you want some help writing attractive content, give me a call