Here at scrunch HQ, we do a lot of content writing for our own blog and content marketing activities and some for our customers too. If you haven’t done much writing in the past, content writing can be a pretty daunting task. So, to help you find your feet and master the art of writing good digital content, we've put together this beginner's guide to content writing so you can nail your writing tasks each and every time. Let's get started!
Do Your Research
First and foremost, make sure you aren’t going into your writing session blind. If you aren’t writing content for your own brand or business, ensure you have a good understanding of who you are writing for and who their audience is. Your research should include:
- An understanding of the topic and/or the product/service offering you are writing about. If you need to research this externally, ensure you are using sources that are trustworthy and credible, and always reference where you found the original piece of information.
- The purpose of the piece of content - is it to drive sales, increase website traffic, collect email sign-ups, inform and inspire or something else?
- The tone required - is it meant to be casual and conversational or professional and academic? Or perhaps somewhere in between?
- Who is the intended audience of the content, including their age, gender, geographical location and personality.
- The structure of the content.
- Where the content will be published, and when.
Use Spellcheck Or Grammarly
Another important point is your spelling and grammar. Make sure your spell check is turned on (if possible), or download Grammarly, a free program that checks your spelling and grammar on almost everything you type! It is a great tool to help correct any spelling or grammar errors in your writing that you might have missed, which ultimately makes your content professional and polished (no one likes to see a lot of spelling errors! ). There is nothing worse than having a bad piece of content published with your name on it just because you didn't edit with care!
Plan Your Piece
If you really don’t know what you are going to write about, planning the piece is a great place to start. Outlining the entire piece of content helps to pinpoint your weaker areas so you can don't have too much information for one section, and not enough for another. By creating a skeleton of the piece you have in mind, you can ensure you are covering the most important parts and getting the intended message across with more emphasis.
Use Relevant Keywords
Using relevant, researched keywords throughout the piece of content can dramatically increase the number of people who view it. By including particular keywords in your content organically as you write, you dramatically improve the chances of web browsers finding your content when searching for the topic on a search engine or social media platform. It is a good idea to do keyword research to understand what keywords and search terms are most popular for your brand and content topic so you can include them seamlessly throughout.
Support With Visuals
Adding engaging imagery to your piece of content can definitely increase time on site and also encourage more people to click on the piece of content in the first place. Content with supporting visuals receives more engagement than content without, with Hubspot reporting that content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant supporting imagery. Content without imagery feels cluttered and often, too academic (unless that is the intention) and often, harder for people to read and consume. Supporting visuals are also a great way to highlight any important points from the content and reinforce the feelings and emotions.
Depending on the type and size of the piece, subheadings are a great option for your content. Subheadings allow for readers to quickly skim through the content and decide whether they want to read the entire article, skip to a segment that interest them or bounce off the content altogether. By including important and interesting subheadings, you capture the readers attention,and encourage them to continue reading and interacting with the content.
Edit, And Then Edit Again
Our final tip for writing good digital content is to always edit your work, and if you can, get someone else to read it over for your too. Read through and edit once, and then do it again, preferably the next day or when you have had a chance to walk away and look at it with fresh eyes. You'll find you miss silly little mistakes when you rush through the editing phase or edit straight after you have finished writing, so give yourself enough time to check and double-check your work before you hit publish.