Anybody can write for the web; after all, it’s just text. Wrong. Producing high-quality content that appeals to your target market (and search engines) is not an easy task. When it comes to writing, most people overestimate what they can do in a short period of time and underestimate what they can do in a long period of time. So, how do you ensure successful content creation? The following simple tips will help you optimize your writing so that anyone who reads it will find what you have to say highly relevant and highly valuable.
Know Your Audience
One of the first things you must do is research your target market. After all, if you don’t know who will be reading what you write, how do you write for them? Look at what kind of words they use, their fears and motivations, and any other insights to help guide you in your content writing.
Start With the End in Mind
It’s always helpful to visualize what you want your audience to do after reading your content. Do you want them to buy a product, subscribe to your blog, or fill out some online form? Knowing your desired outcome will help provide focus when it comes time to write. You can also get more specific by coming up with the desired action leading directly from what you have to say. For example, “This article will convince the reader that they need to purchase our product right now.”
Don’t Give Your Reader an Expiration Date
By all means, be informative and entertaining if that is your goal, but don’t forget that you want your content to be relevant months and years from now. You don’t want it to seem like a sales pitch written for a specific day with the hope that it will go viral and generate lots of traffic. Of course, if your topic relates to current events or is seasonal in nature, you shouldn’t try to force something out of it that doesn’t fit.
Write for Your Reader Versus Yourself
This is a tremendous mistake that many new marketers make; they write as if they were talking to themselves. The truth is that you need to assume the reader’s mindset and imagine: what do I want them to walk away with after reading my content? This involves fine-tuning your vocabulary, sentence structure, and the use of “you” versus “I.”
Write Down Your Thoughts as You Read
Don’t just read and then start writing. While reading, take notes on what strikes you as necessary, curious, or thought-provoking. This will allow you to go back to those thoughts when it comes time to write your content.
One way to fine-tune how you write is to place keywords in your content strategically. This allows search engines to find what you have written via various searches. And guess what? If people are searching for key phrases, terms, and keywords that you strategically placed in your articles or webpage, they will find their way to your content.
Include Meta Tags
Meta tags are HTML code that is placed on your webpage. You do not want to go overboard with this, however. Just place the most important meta tags at the top of your content and sprinkle them throughout your writing where they will appear most relevant to what you have written.
Proofread, Proofread, and Then Proofread Some More
Don’t assume that your content is ready to go after a first draft. Give yourself the time to run spell-check and do a quick read-through before you deem it worthy of publishing. Even a well-written article can be made better with the help of some grammatical edits.
Use Keywords in Your Writing
Many marketers use the “keyword” or “keyword phrase” as a way to find new website content. For example, if you were trying to find information on how to write for the web, a quick Google search would provide a list of results from which you can choose. You want to meta-tag your content with words that will impact what Google, Yahoo, and Bing list when people search your keywords.
Always Optimize for Search Engines
If you do not already know, optimizing a webpage or website is done in order to get it to come up at the top of searches on various search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Several important factors play into SEO, like the keywords and meta tags you use in your content, along with the actual HTML code on the page.
Writing content for the web is not something that should be taken lightly. Your audience may end up being hundreds of thousands of people, so you don’t want to give them something subpar. Optimize your writing to resonate with your target market. Writing for the web is not an easy task. It takes patience, time, and effort, but the payoff is huge so it’s all worth it. Remember always to optimize your writing to resonate with your target market, assume the mindset of the reader (write as if you were talking to them) and strategically place keywords throughout your content for search engines to find.