In 2019, generating high-quality content requires a specific set of skills. Successful content writers and content marketers are not only skilled at using language; they also need to be strategic about their audience, information sourcing, and writing style.
Prioritizing these aforementioned content marketing components will help keep your readers engaged, which is the most important consideration for securing high search rankings.
Keep these tips in mind as you compose your content:
1. Conduct thorough keyword research
Whether or not a written piece includes targeted, organic-sounding keywords is a crucial determining factor in generating site traffic.
As a content writer, you want to ensure that you are reaching your targeted audience. To do that successfully, you need to know what information your audience will be searching for and include key terms and phrases that correspond with that information.
However, doing this well requires a more sophisticated approach than just guesswork.
To figure out which keywords you need to include, you must first understand
- who your audience is
- what this audience wants to know
- why they are searching for the information
- which keywords they use to search for it.
So how do you go about doing that?
You first need to identify the audience you think you will be reaching and learn more about that population. You can do this by finding other websites they tend to visit. Read their comments, blog posts, and social media posts to learn more about them. Find out as much as you can about them and how they behave.
What are the demographics? What are their preferences? What are their frustrations (i.e. what are they likely to search for)?
From there, you have a base of targeted keywords that speak to 1) the content this population wants to find, and 2) your area of expertise.
2. Focus on quality
It’s pretty simple: readers won’t spend time on your site unless they like what they are reading.
Truly well-written SEO content focuses on user engagement; that is, it is written in a way that makes people want to keep reading. Engaged readers tend to stay on pages for longer, and they also tend to click on more links. Both of these actions are directly related and beneficial to the page’s search rankings!
So how do you write in an engaging way?
The main rule here is not to get too fancy. Keep your sentences short and clear. Deliver the content in a way that is easy to follow (this encourages people to keep reading). And try to keep thinking about how often you should blog. Make sure you are regularly generating new content.
3. Know your facts
Make sure that any statement you make can be supported by evidence.
It sounds simple, but there is a lot of false information being generated—and consumed—online nowadays (fake news am I right?).
To set yourself apart, make sure you your claims have supporting data and cite it accordingly. Always give credit to the source; this immediately signals to your reader (and to search engines) that you are trustworthy.
4. Include visuals
Blogs with images and videos always get and keep more attention; that’s because our brains are hard-wired to react to images differently than we react to text.
Use visual content strategically to hold the attention of your readers!
Break up your text with high-quality, relevant images. And don’t rely on the every-day and corny stock photos—your readers can tell the difference!
5. Become the expert
Another important tactic great content writers use to set themselves apart is to become an expert in their subject matter.
This means that they’re not simply collecting statistics from other sites, they often site their own personal market research or studies. This tactic makes their sites much more original.
So what does it mean to become an expert? It's all about authority.
You either need to get valuable first-hand experience that you can write about with certainty (e.g. you’re an expert basket weaver), or there is enough written about you on the internet (think: forums, bios, news, reviews, etc.) supporting your knowledge on a given topic–giving you organic social proof.
As a start, make sure you include an “about me” page on your website to start building your own reputation as a writer in your respective industries of interest.
For example, if you're well read and experienced in the automobile industry, include the media outlets you've written for and blurbs of the content you've written for them. This will show industry professionals that you're the expert when automobile content writing.