In theory, content marketing sounds easy: create, promote, and nurture. In reality, however, things aren’t that simple.
On the one hand, there still are a lot of small business owners who don’t recognize the power of great content and don’t invest in good writing. On the other hand, not all content writers have a clear understanding of the business or industry they are creating content for.
Mix the elements wrong – strong business with poor writing, or strong writing with poor knowledge – and the whole formula blows up in the air.
Generating good content as a freelance copy writing professional is indeed a complex job that requires skills (serious writing know-how), research (the process of documentation), and originality (some special angle or approach). And only when the background (concrete data about the business) is cemented to support all that, is the picture complete.
The truth is all kinds of brands from all kinds of industries know by now that they need to communicate to their prospects and customers through websites and blogs. But when they do, only a few succeed to connect with their audience. It’s difficult to create outstanding content if one or two ingredients are missing from the writing recipe.
Even with an ambitious editorial content on paper, the quantity of written material you put out there is not going to compensate for the lack of quality. If you’re not going to invest in the four requirements for creating valuable content, then all your efforts placed in this direction are a waste. These four conditions are:
- Understanding your clients and the kind of content they want to read (as well as the kind they don’t;)
- Acquiring in-depth knowledge of your business and the particularities of the industry;
- Finding an original voice to address the readers (instead of telling the same story on an equal tone;)
- Investing serious time and energy in researching
If these conditions are all met – admittedly, neither of them are easy to do – then, by melting them together, like in an imaginary alchemical pot, the result is pure gold.
Next, although many people focus on a long list of many things to do (tens of hundreds of content writing tips to even keep track of), we tell you what NOT to do. Because generating great content can be an adventurous path, we thought it’s a good idea to start by taking a few unnecessary bumps out of the way. Based on the four requirements from before, we’ve come up with three types of content you must distance yourself from:
1. Content Without the Customer in Mind
You could tell the most interesting stories but it they fall on deaf ears, there’s no point. Similarly, your writing can be great and totally irrelevant at the same time. And this brings us to the truth about content writing: it has no value if it’s not designed to fit.
The difference between a post that gets thousand of hits and one that doesn’t is in the mind of the customer. Knowing how it might operate means you are aware of certain traits and features that your prospects present, and subsequently adjust your writing to match that (such as tone of voice and information delivered).
2. Content That Lacks Originality
Recycling content is something of a modern marketing endeavor to make numerous blog entries and generate more content. But as said before, not all content is good. The “filler” type can be recognized from a mile away by the average industry consumer. And he/she knows, by now, the drill.
If you want to engage the audience, you have to strive more than changing some things here and there. You have to offer some valuable ideas, and if ideas themselves are not original, at least provide a new angle in your article.
3. Content to Skim Through
In-depth information – not the superficial, generic type – requires ample work and an equally ample piece. Most readers want specifics, like relevant examples and useful solutions, and you can’t provide that in 300 or 500 words. If you want your audience to take you more seriously, you have to win its confidence. Give your readers, additional information and transform your article in a detailed, comprehensive guide.
Conclusion: the recipe behind any great writing piece largely varies. It’s not so obvious how you have to write to appeal and convince an audience. But since the target depends on the business, this is the first thing to help you decide. Once you’ve got your average customer in mind, focus on a topic that is sure to make him/her tick, gather useful information, throw in original details and tips, and don’t sell yourself short.