If you’re not publishing useful content would you agree if I stated you’re just adding to the internet ‘noise’?
Agreed? Ok sweet.
There is no point in being irrelevant and vague when you are trying to reach out to like-minded people to build an epic community around each other’s passions and interests.
It’s a given that as content writers we should aim for the meaty, gritty, and delightful content. But that’s not to say it’s easy. What IS easy?
It’s easy to derail. It’s easy to stray from the elements that makes your writing great. It’s harder to constantly stick to those elements and make them work for you again and again as you publish ideas + relevant information from a new perspective.
Today’s spotlight is on three writing pillars to either remember or newly incorporate into your writing. They are the fundamental features in enthralling writing seen again and again in successful content.
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Keeping these three ‘pillars’ in mind as you write will help you in transforming and keeping your content awe-inspiring. It’ll make your content come alive.
And I mean, who likes being around dead things?
The first one is pretty straight forward…come to think of it, all three of them are.
Out of the three pillars, this one is probably the most technical and because of that the easiest to implement.
With your examples, your statements, your references, even your sarcasm, specificity has a strong place in strong writing.
Not being specific in your content writing does four things NOT to your advantage:
- It leaves your readers feeling lost
- It waters down your content (You ever taste watery lemonade? Did you like it?)
- It doesn’t drive your points home clearly
- It makes your writing easily forgettable
When you write content, ask yourself this question:
What are people coming to read my content for?
The most likely and accurate answer is exactly that…answers.
Your writing is the answer to:
- Their lack of entertainment
- Their lack of technical knowledge on a topic
- Their desire to be informed
You are writing to either inform, entertain, or educate. To do any of those three and do them well—specificity is a must have in your writer’s mental toolbox.
But there’s a catch:
You can only get specific when you know what you’re talking about.
You’ve got to be well informed/researched/educated.
Read popular articles and see what people are commenting and the links in the content. Look at recent stats on the topic of your content to incorporate them and help your writing get more specific.
Talking about stats, here are some to get your mind wrapped around the real-time importance of effective content writing:
- 78% of CMOs [chief marketing officers] believe custom content is the future of marketing. (Source: DemandMetric)
- Conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%). (Source: Aberdeen)
- Up to 81% of marketers plan to increase their use of original written content. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (Source: DemandMetric)
- 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing. (Source: CMI)
- 58% of marketers said “original written content” is the most important type of content, outdoing visuals and videos. (Source: Social Media Examiner)
- 39% of marketing budget is spent on content marketing by the most effective B2B marketers. (Source: TopRankBlog)
All these stats point to ongoing growth in the importance and relevance of high quality + original content in today’s marketing world.
As a content writer what does this mean for you?
Simply that in order to get noticed online and be relevant, you need to get on top of your content marketing game.
Yeah, you might not be a leader in the niche you’re in yet, or you’re barely starting your online business/blog. But that still doesn’t mean those stats aren’t relevant to you as an individual putting your content out in the big wide online world of marketing.
Mastering your content writing game and doing it well definitely gives you a competitive advantage in an online arena where there are literally millions of blogs churning out oodles of content.
Great content will set a strong foundation to everything else you do around your business/site/blog.
As we move on:
To get more specific, don’t forget examples.
Examples, examples, examples. Links to other great examples. Screenshots of examples. Descriptions of examples…examples.
Do you have a story that can count as an excellent example? Add it in there.
Examples, along with being well informed, will also help keep you away from making broad statements.
Specificity in writing is an omnipotent, all-encompassing force to be reckoned with.
Now, the question is: How exactly do you change your writing into a force of specificity to be reckoned with?
Two short illustrations:
Instead of, when I’m writing a short introductory paragraph talking about the perils of blogging + online marketing overwhelm, and say this:
‘I became overwhelmed with handling the necessities of blogging. There was too much to think about.’
I could say:
‘I arrived at absolute blogging overwhelm. There was too much to think about: content structure, e-mail copywriting, web design and maintenance, printable sheet design, webinar launch dates, business meetings, service deadlines, marketing and ad placement, handling finances. The list went on.’
Do you read any difference?
The second paragraph gives more insight, a better possibility for your audience to relate to you, and even a hint of entertainment—all while learning something of value. Something that will help them.
Illustration #2 (and a slightly more ridiculous one):
Instead of saying:
You need specific headlines to attract more opt ins on your landing page.
You could say:
Specific headlines are important if you are trying to gain tons more opt ins.
A non specific headline looks like this:
‘I will teach you how to make a great About Me page’
Being more specific would look like:
‘Learn the 8 Ways to craft an ‘About Me’ page that will:
-Make you sound like a genius
-Convert you into an overnight celebrity
-Bring you 10 years of prosperity
Which of the two got you more intrigued and informed you better?
The end game here is:
You can’t be vague and just pretend/hope/pray/cross your fingers that you’ll arrive at meaty content with a powerful takeaway that keeps your audience coming back for more.
The word ‘personality’ brings up a specific movie scene in my mind that has stuck with me.
Basically, a woman at a restaurant ends up having a quarrel with the waiter and, as she leaves, she pulls out a crumpled dollar bill and says,
‘here, buy yourself a personality!’
I laughed so hard. It was the smoothest dis I had seen in a while.
Yes. It was rude. but it was also something else: unexpected and memorable.
To this day I remember the scene (unfortunately not the movie’s name).
All that to say, there is value in personality. It’s a component of the glue that brings us together.
If it is valuable in everyday life, how can it not be in your content writing? Especially when the end goal is communicating and connecting.
But we trip.
Because personality seems to be somewhat of an elusive concept when you’re trying to put it in writing.
Like hello? what exactly is it?
Let’s get the formal definition:
“The combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s (in this case your writing’s) distinctive character.”
I can tell you that there are components of personality that psychologically appeal to people regardless of if you are the rough sarcastic person or the sweet, cold, funny, or energetic one.
- Being real
These components are some personality bits that you can include in your writing for additional relatability + connection.
- Be real.
As in don’t attempt to be funny in every paragraph you write if it doesn’t come to you naturally.
As in BE sarcastic if you feel like you should and it comes naturally.
As in imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but only for the person being imitated aka not you. Don’t be someone else’s photocopy.
2. Vulnerability is ok.
Go ahead and be that flawed superhero. You can admit to struggles, confusions, split opinions, biases…all those things a lot don’t feel comfortable putting out there.
It won’t sell you out as incompetent. If anything people will see that you are a fighter and have struggled through things just like them.
3. All those nuances that set you apart? Don’t lose them.
For example I say the word sweet a lot.
“Oh sh*t that’s sweet! Oh Sweet!”
I’ve left it in my writing.
4. Beliefs exist to be believed…and expressed.
If you think opt-in pop ups are the yuckiest thing to ever hit the online world, yes, you can say so. And yes, you’ll get push back from doing so. And yes, it’ll be ok.
5. Opinions. Everyone has them and they all…seem to stink?
Probably because they are usually baseless and are adopted because of simple hearsay or constant exposure to whatever shapes that opinion. But if you state them with supporting findings they will be more persuasive and easier to swallow.
And lastly, storytelling also forms part of building personality in your content. Don’t forget to work your storytelling muscle when appropriate.
> >Looking for more actionable strategies? Make sure you check these out!< <
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- The Online Marketing Strategy to Finally Get Noticed and Grow Your Audience
- How to Make Money Blogging With Affiliate Marketing + Ideas to Boost Earnings
- The Complete Tool Kit I Use To Run My Blog Smoothly
Be A Conversationalist
If you went to school then you know what it’s like to have to read through endless pages of text without really paying attention to the points it’s trying to make.
But it’s not just any text. It’s text that talks AT you instead of to you. It’s text that makes you wish you could be watching paint dry and shoving your fist in your mouth instead.
There’s a reason why many bloggers and content writing experts vouch for writers to write as they speak.
Easier said than done. I get it.
That’s why it takes practice…mindful practice.
I’m sure we’ve heard it all—write like you are sitting at a bar telling your friend a story. Write like you speak to anyone you encounter on a daily basis. Write like you speak.
My twist on it: Write like you’re having a smart conversation with your trusted best friend. Notice I said ‘smart’ conversation. Though we are profusely told to write how we speak, sometimes how we speak can sound pretty dumb on paper. Even if it does drive a point home in the moment of our conversation.
But if you write like you’re having a smart conversation with a trusted best friend that you truly want to help because you love ’em? It’ll be much more helpful and relatable.
Take a second to frame it.
If they’re your best friend, and they’re coming to you for advice or information or because they need someone to talk to, you’d go out of your way to make sure they got ALL the ins and outs they needed from your perspective and what you know, right?
Hopefully you wouldn’t say something along the lines of:
“In order for you to overcome the mechanical functions of the issue from an efficient perspective and reach the end objective you must first have a change of mental cognition.”
But you’d be more like:
“To achieve the goal you set out for yourself you have change the way you’re thinking.”
In the end, option two drives the point home miles better than the first option ever would (unless you hang out with PhD professors on the daily).
It’s not necessarily about proving your IQ to gain cred. I mean, come on, everyone knows you’re smart. You started a blog/business and want to better yourself (proof: you’re reading this)!
Point being: It’s ok to be normal when you write.
Psychology states that when we are having a face to face conversation and we start to resonate with what the other person we begin to copy their body language.
If they cross their legs we might too.
If they use lots of hand gestures we might too.
We even match their tone of voice.
It’s important to remember that your writing, after you finalize and publish it, will primarily exist in your reader’s head. NOT in yours.
This means it needs to resonate with them—and this might mean putting your biases aside in terms of how you write.
How does your target reader communicate best?
In what way are they expressing their problems + concerns?
Am I delivering my writing in a conversational tone that they ‘get’? That they can relate to?
Writing can be magical.
When you are able to connect and convey valuable insight + actionable info all in a way that hits your readers on another level and they just ‘get it’? That’s the end goal. Right there. That’s it.
These three ‘pillars’, if kept and applied, will direct you well on your way there.
Specificity. Personality. Conversationalism.
They ultimately translate to:
Clarity. Likability. Relatability. And that’s a winning combo.