“Nobody reads anymore.”
Quite possibly, the three most offensive words ever uttered to a professional writer.
My friend, a high school English teacher, hears a similar line. “There’s no point to learning how to read and write the ‘old-fashioned’ way,” her students swear. “We understand Textese perfectly.”
Textese. Textspeak. SMS language. You know, that pervasive slang in which single letters replace whole words, and grammar is altogether absent? Weeping, she confessed that some go so far as to write entire essays in this language-slaying abomination.
As an ad girl writing in a 140-character world, I’ve heard and read these misguided sentiments more times than I can count. This is where I make my stand.
First of all, they are patently untrue.
I’m the first to admit that tweets are a fabulous way to connect with your audience. (Hello, bang for your buck!) However, just because we’re using online and digital formats more often, it doesn’t mean powerful, longer-form writing has fallen by the wayside. In fact, with the rise of content marketing, it’s more important than ever. From blogs and white papers to social media, video scripts and beyond, there is a massive demand for businesses to create genuine online content—and for marketing writers to think conceptually, rather than textually.
Go ask Google.
The search engine giant has become majorly effective at determining high-quality content and ranking it accordingly. Instead of relying on old tricks, Google’s goal is to improve its users’ experience by giving them what they want—excellent, real content produced by reputable sources, content that people are reading and to which other reputable sources are linking.
That being said, pageloads of other content clamor for your audience’s attention, and it can be a challenge to attract and sustain it for yourself. How do you do it? Begin by following a few of our basic tips for better content writing:
Write what they want to read…
If your brand posts a blog, will your customers be able to find it? Or care once they do? For starters, get to know your customers and do your research, so that your content marketing is both relevant and valuable. Plus, ensuring ample search exists for the topics you plan to write about is SEO best practices at its simplest.
…and make it good.
Ranking as a top search result is great, but your content is no good unless your audience loves to read it. Producing solid, insightful and compelling content draws traffic and keeps readers on the page. They will share it with others, link to it and help accomplish and further your business’ objectives.
Be true to your brand.
Interact meaningfully by investing in authentic content writing. Engage your customers with storytelling techniques that compel them to buy from, remember, talk about and return to your brand again and again. Be funny or dramatic, inspirational or sentimental—whatever best represents you and the tale your brand wants to tell.
Proofreed the coffee.
“Proofread the copy,” that is. Perfect your content writing. Spelling, grammar and punctuation still matter (via donaldlewis). Would errors in your financial plan be acceptable? A couple of missed zeroes, perhaps? Didn’t think so. Mistakes shouldn’t be in your content marketing either, or customers will perceive your brand as one giant mistake—rather than the industry maven you are.
Say it with words.
At Dana, we still believe in the beauty of language. Let’s dish on more tips for effective content writing at firstname.lastname@example.org.