You sit, drenched in a cold sweat, desperately reaching for the words your weary brain has long been searching for. “Call now,” you type before hastily backspacing in disgust. Like a disinterested Lovecraftian eldritch god, the cursor blinks on and on.
Writing isn’t easy. Ask anyone who isn’t a freelance writer or an English major, and they’ll lament on the difficulty of crafting sentence structures and the pointlessness of proper grammar.
They’ll wax poetic on how no one reads articles anymore, they only want YouTube, emojis, and TikToks.
You may even see them get fired up about how they’ve tried creating a content calendar only to abandon them a week later when accounting issues and staff shortages took up every waking hour of their overstressed workdays.
Writing content for search engines and a target audience is a major stressor for many website owners and marketing teams because it rests at the intersection of art and science. Algorithms and flowery phrasing collide, causing migraine-level headaches for anyone unaccustomed to navigating the digital landscape.
Creating quality content can be difficult, time-consuming, and overwhelming, especially when you’ve got a million other things on your plate that need your attention.
However, writing content is a necessary and crucial piece of your content marketing strategy that deserves to be done well.
With that in mind, I hope you find this ongoing website content guide a helpful resource as you start content writing online, or, at the very least, it encourages you to work alongside a professional content creation team to climb to the top of the search engine results page.
Why You Should Care About Content Marketing
Not sure whether you need to write content to find success online?
There is mounds of data proving that those willing to put the time into creating content will see better results in the online landscape than those who depend on social media, email, and traditional marketing alone.
Here are six key stats on why writing skills matter to your target audience, search engines, and the success of your website content:
- 48% of businesses use blogging as part of their content marketing strategy. [HubSpot Blog’s Marketing Strategy Survey]
- 54% of executives and decision-makers spend more than an hour a week reading compelling, quality content. [LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report]
- 55% of content marketing strategies seek to improve the quality of content, while 46% hone in on optimizing for search engines. [Semrush State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report]
- The top 3 metrics for measuring successful content include organic traffic, search results rankings, and the number of quality leads. [Semrush State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report]
- Technavio’s Content Marketing Forecast and Analysis Report found that content writing saw a YOY growth rate of 15.73% from 2020 to 2021 and expects similar incremental growth through 2025 to the tune of $417.85B. [Content Marketing Market Forecast and Analysis Report 2021-2025]
- 59% of consumers feel that companies have lost the “human touch” in their customer interactions, which extends to creating authentic, high-quality content. [PwC Future of Customer Experience Survey]
The Basics of Web Content Writing
Before we dive into the specifics of the content creation process, it’s helpful to review the basic tenants of what online readers expect from your text posts.
What Counts as Written Website Content?
- Blog posts
- Any text on your site pages
- Product descriptions
- Press releases
- White papers, e-books, and other downloadable assets
- Captions on video content, images, and interactive page elements
Start With a Killer Title
When someone scrolls through social media posts or types a term into search engines, there’s a good chance they’re looking for the fastest, most entertaining way to gather information. A solid headline will help you stand out amongst the masses of other articles trying to attract organic traffic.
The title of your blog posts is the first thing that people are going to see, so you want to use it as a tool to capture the reader’s attention and tempt them into diving into the rest of your content.
So, what does a killer title look like?
- It uses strong, vivid language to paint a mental picture.
- It appeals to the emotion that you’re trying to evoke: excitement, anger, sadness, motivation, respect, etc.
- It gives an accurate, truthful account of what readers can expect to find in the blog posts.
- It avoids being “clickbait” at all costs. It’s not worth compromising your visitor’s trust and your domain authority to get more readers in the door.
- It makes people curious to see what you have to say.
Hook Readers With the First Sentence
Do you remember learning about the writing process in grade school?
One of the first tips English teachers push is creating compelling first sentences that whet the appetite of readers and set the tone for the piece.
A successful content writer will use the first 10-15 words of their blog post to invite the reader in, teasing the prospect of something juicy, intriguing, or relatable.
That could look like:
- A question that the reader will relate to or want to know the answer to.
- Shocking statistics that compel the reader to dig deeper.
- Share a problem or need that you can solve in the context of the post.
- Name-drop with a well-known quote from an authority on the topic.
- Make and support a claim.
- Tell a personal anecdote.
Dive Into More Detail in the Body Text
When writing content, think of the body text as the big payoff for readers who you’ve successfully hooked with your headline and first sentence. It’s time to reward their willingness to read on.
However, the body text creates a tempting opportunity to info-dump everything you know on the topic and losing your readers in the process. To keep them interested, you have to appeal to the very specific reading habits of online browsers.
First, break your text up into easily consumable sections using headers. Not only does this support your goal of using more keywords– something we’ll look at more in-depth in our next installment– but it also aids your audience in successfully skimming text for the information they’re actually looking for.
Next, you’ll need to source all of your information. It’s too easy to create data that supports your point, and savvy readers know that. By backing up your statements, you’re helping build your own authority and giving your target audience additional resources to research your product or service.
Finally, break up your writing with visually compelling segments like bullet lists, images, videos, drop quotes, and similar “formatting” choices that create natural pauses in the text.
Wrap Up With a Summary and a Compelling Call-to-Action
End on a high note by wrapping up everything you’ve said with a conclusion paragraph. Leave readers with something to think about by summarizing your main points or prompting them to ask questions in your comments section.
Most importantly, though, is leaving them with a natural next step or Call-to-Action. These CTAs often take the form of linking out to further articles to read, newsletter forms to sign up for, or phone numbers to call.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of content writing, the NATIV3 team can handle everything from keyword research to sharing on social media. We have a wealth of tools, resources, and experience to craft an informed, engaging content strategy custom-tailored to your target audiences.