Everything you should know about content writing before you deep dive into it
Google came in 1998, around the same time as the other search engines, in which people would try to get better rank on the search result page. What was the role of content writing then?
At the time, people believed that keyword is the main point of getting that position. Everyone can be a writer. Keyword stuffing became popular among writers. Thin content had become the norm. Spam is everywhere.
All of that continued up to 2010.
At that year, Google started to ‘weed out’ all the bad content from their search result page. Businesses started to realize the importance of good quality content.
By 2020, almost everyone has high-quality content writing at their sleeves, causing content to be more important than ever. Everybody is racing at who is better in the content department. They also compete for who can grab the attention of fast-growing internet users first.
Wait a moment, though.
Just what is content writing?
About content writing
In a nutshell, content writing is an act to write content for a website. Almost everything on the internet can be called content.
When you open your web browser and into a website, you will be welcomed by a homepage full of content; be it text, images, audios, or videos. Content is basically every information provided by the internet.
That brings us to the meaning of content writing itself. When you write a text for the internet or on your website, that is content writing.
What makes it different from other writings
- It is not creative writing
A lot of writers started off with a dream of being a novelist, an author, or storyteller. Many of them end up writing for a newspaper, magazine, and others, writing content for online use.
Creative writing is the dream we all have when we were little. It may include dragons, princes and princesses, castles high in the sky, and white unicorns. On the other hand, content writing is about writing for the use of the internet. It is useful, most are easy to be done by the readers, and it is informative or entertaining.
Not everybody is fond of fairies and creative writing is not exactly informative.
- It is different from copywriting, not exactly
For starter, copywriting is an act of writing the text for advertising or marketing. The product is called a copy. Every word is crafted to have an impact on people. It must be convincing, attention-grabbing, and many would include a call to action.
Copy may end up on the pages of a website, which then we may call as content writing. But many copies end up on the back of a magazine, too. They are copywriting, but not content writing.
It is safe then, to say that some copywriting may be content writing too on the internet.
Why you need content writing for your marketing
Ever since the computers and internet emerged in the 1990s, marketers started thinking about how to use this new media and incorporate it into their marketing strategy. In 1993, the first commercial website was launched. The trend goes on and the internet has taken over almost everything in the world in the 2000s. Then marketing in digital media has become an important point for any marketers.
Businesses have started their own website, and in turn, they need to fill their website with content and copy.
If you do have a business you should have a website. Having a website means you are in dire need of good content to fill it up.
Types of content writing
What types of content writing do you need on your website? What pages do you need them into?
There are two main different points when you make content for your website.
A blog is a popular part of content writing that is considered very important. In blogs, business harnesses their brand awareness, the visitors’ trust, and ultimately, the authority from search engines that can bring them to the high rank of search result pages.
While web content may consist of compelling copy that urges people to take action, blogs exist to educate readers. There may be soft-selling happened in it, but the main point still stands, blogs are there to inform and answer stuff people might have asked.
You know your content is good when…
1. It is original
It is the first thing first, the first and foremost, the important part of it all: never plagiarize.
If you write your own content, you know it passes the first rule of being good when you make it yourself. You have the knowledge for the piece, you have researched for data and citations, and you give your own insight into your content, then your homework is partly done.
2. It has a strong headline
Have you ever heard how the headline is as important as the content itself?
It is true.
Imagine. You are skimming over the list of titles and sub-headline on the homepage of a big magazine like Entrepreneur.com, for example. If you are just wandering around listlessly without actually want a specific topic, would you choose one with an interesting headline, or would you choose whatever it is in front of you?
I am almost certain you would take the one that grabs your attention, even before knowing whether the content is better than the others or not (you wouldn’t have time to check on the contents of the other articles anyway).
That is what happens to almost every one of us.
Try to put your headline beside the other headlines with the same topic, does your headline stand out?
3. It is engaging
You are communicating with humans. Treat them as such. Good writing will elicit readers’ curiosity. It will spark interest, prolong their attention once captured.
Does your content provoke feelings? Curiosity, wonder, warmth, motivated, empowered?
If so, you have good content on your palm.
4. It is relevant to the audience
Who is the content targeted to?
Good content is relevant to the readers. It speaks in their language, has the same flow of mind, familiar tone, and relevant topic they want answers.
You don’t want to read a text about how to squat jump in Spanish if you don’t know Spanish. A teen is most likely will not click content about how the national income has declined or increased.
Good content uses the right topic with the right language for its audience.
5. It is concise
No one wants to read pointless fluff.
Good content will give short, to-the-point information. Every sentence is new information, entertainment, and answer.
Do it yourself vs. Outsourcing
Do you have a business?
If you do, then yes, you need to put good content for your website. You need to decide though, do you want to do it yourself, making a team of content strategists, writers, and do it under your company’s roof, or do you want to outsource them?
Doing it yourself
Doing it yourself is possible, but do you have the time to learn what you should do in writing content? Do you have the resolve to learn to put your ideas and thoughts word per word to a word processor?
Doing it yourself, your content will be more authoritative, since you are the one who knows your audience the best. By writing your content yourself, you would also build a connection to your audience. Consider always saying hi to them!
Plus, you might want an editor to make sure your writing is well-formatted enough.
If you do not believe in your own skill in writing, there are still options for you.
You can hire an in-house team, in which you should take the time to know which person specialized in what. You should consider giving them an outline and review their work when it’s done to ensure the authority.
Outsourcing content writers
Then you can also outsource freelance writers. While you need to give some time to get them understand your business and you still need to spend time planning and reviewing content they make, you can cut more time you will need if you build an in-house content instead.
Then there are writing agencies. They will do all the work, you don’t need to plan any content or review their work, you need to give them more time than what you need to give to freelancers though.
Writing agencies are perfect for you if you don’t have any experience in making topic clusters for your blogs or all that comes with planning content.
How to start your blog, then?
It all starts with a topic.
Among many content strategies running around the internet, the topic cluster strategy is by far the most effective way to get your page recognized by Google.
You will get ranked high on the search result page if your content is highly qualitative, but among much other competition, would you be able to win?
Topic cluster helps your page win by giving support to your main page. This main page is called pillar content. Have you ever heard of it?
In this method, you need to brainstorm ideas. You then choose a topic and make different titles around it to support this main topic.
There is also keyword research. Some people said that keyword research is dead since Google’s weed out years ago that take down many websites from their search results. Google has also launched an update that enables their engine to understand the user’s intent from any queries searchers input.
Does keyword really die?
No, it is still going strong as ever. However, instead of focusing on making things around the keyword and putting it into your text, you need to let your knowledge around the keyword flow naturally.
As Matt Cutts said, “The objective is not to make your links appear natural, the objective is that your links are natural,” so are keywords. You don’t want your keyword to look natural, you want it to be natural.
How does someone write good content?
If you notice the young generation right now, the ones who always have a phone by their side at any moment, you might notice that they tend to scroll so fast through the pages of their screen. There are a lot of good content on the internet, but there are certain things that will get their attention long enough to stop and read—or listen. It applies to most people now.
These certain things are images, videos, interesting headlines, killer intro, and many more.
The first thing is actually the headline. It is as important as the text itself, as I have explained above. Then, you have to make a good intro.
The content itself needs to fulfill certain things such as incorporating keyword naturally in the text, giving the readers the best experience by giving them lists instead of doing old-school and give them blocks of words.
Almost no one on the internet likes that.
People like short, to-the-point sentences. Or paragraph in this matter. The point is, don’t make too long paragraphs, putting two or three sentences will be enough for them.
Depends on the type of content you want to provide your readers, you might want to choose some format such as listicle, how-to, or curated source. By far, listicle is the most famous format, but you can have your own thing! Just do what you think your audience will like, and that is a good content specifically for you.
To wrap it
Content writing is an important aspect of marketing. You might have realized that before you read this article, and for those who haven’t, certainly now know how important it is.
You just can’t leave content writing from your digital marketing. Or content marketing, since they overlap.
There are also some tips for you because you decide to take content more seriously, and we are glad to help. We think that is everything you should know about content writing in starting your journey on the topic.
If you have any questions, just put it below, and we will answer it as best as we can!