How To Create Effective SEO Content

Content Writing for Beginners – The Ultimate Guide

You don’t have to be an English Major or a top marketing expert to create compelling content. But you can write like one. There are plenty of top-of-the-line content experts that didn’t have a formal education – they just practiced, practiced, and practiced. Content writing for beginners consists of being diligent, putting in the hard work, building your experience, and never ceasing to learn new marketing tricks that roll out.

That is why we made this comprehensive guide for beginners that will help you write better content that drives traffic, engages with audiences, converts, and sells.

What Is Content Writing?

Content is a fundamental part of internet marketing – it’s the information you put online that should rank high in search engine result pages (SERPs). Writing such content means careful planning, writing and editing, and a healthy dose of critical thinking and flexibility. After all, no rule is set in stone, and there is no such thing as consistently perfect writing.

Some most common instances of content writing are blog posts, how-to articles, scripts for videos, and more.

Content Writing Basics

Before we go into our tips for content writing for beginners, there are a few things that any writer, whether in marketing or not, should keep in mind:

  • Never stop reading, both for work and fun
  • Writing and reading is an experience
  • Jargon is fine but go easy on it and use it only where it makes sense
  • Try to write 300-500 words a day to keep the habit alive

Now, let’s take a deep dive to see what turns ordinary writing into extraordinary content writing.

10 Steps for Writing Clear and Engaging Content for Beginners

Use these ten content writing tips to keep your eyes on the prize while writing for marketing purposes.

Understand Your Motivation to Write

Our goal often defines our means for reaching it. That’s why it would be helpful if you are aware of the reason why you picked writing in the first place. After all, every career or job position needs an action plan. And it all starts with fundamentally understanding the why behind your motivation. We’ll group us, content writers, into four broadly defined categories:

  • Writers in it for the money
  • Writers who are passionate about a topic or niche
  • Writers who understand they have a talent for writing and might as well do something with it
  • Writers who don’t know which category they are in. Or, they are a combination of some, or all, of these things

If you are in writing because of money, then your goal should be to research the most lucrative niches and types of content writing. Regardless, try to dig out some deeper motivation and keep your heart open to developing a passion for a topic. It will keep you afloat during difficult times much more easily than hanging on to the sole idea of cash.

If you are passionate about a subject and that’s why you’ve ventured into content – congrats! You’re lucky to be at such a healthy starting point. Keep researching what you love and weave it effectively into engaging content that converts. Because while you may like a topic there’s no use shaping it into marketing content if it’ll reach no one.

When you’re a talented writer aware of their strength, you can be both off to a rocky or favorable start. You can risk getting too torn between lucrative niches and those that might just light your spark for a specific topic. So don’t lose your focus, don’t leave stuff unfinished, and know that hitting one goal out of two is better than hitting none.

Maybe you’re in the fourth category at the moment? Keep prodding what fuels your writing, try out different things, and be grateful if you’re motivated by more than one factor. It has its strengths.

Do Your Research

Your content should exude authority and confidence, period. The internet is chock-full of rehashed content that doesn’t mean much to the reader. What you should aim to deliver is quality content that uses sources that go deeper than the surface level.

That especially goes if you are targeting the B2B market. Around 49% of B2B marketers outsource content marketing services, but they still struggle to find partners who will do their research well. You’re delivering information to those who are already pros in the field you’re writing about. So make sure to incorporate verifiable and trustworthy data, metrics, and statistics. Do this by linking credible sources, preferably monitoring agencies and academic papers, rather than competing content agencies.

Depending on how much time you have, you can also do your research and collect data from your industry and consumers. Be an active listener who can implement the most useful aspects of marketing research for your field.

Define and Stick to the Purpose of the Article

One thing that helps when you get lost is having a guiding star. And that guiding star is the purpose of your article. It helps clear your mind and remember why you are writing the article and for whom. This one key message that you want to convey will make it easier to tie your piece of content into a neat package for consumers. 

Defining your purpose can be tricky at first. There are multiple intertwined factors, and you have to put the spotlight on one of them. But we singled out two types of categorization that serve as a way to pinpoint your focus.

First, what do you want to achieve for your business? What is the marketing goal of the article? It can be:

  • Gaining links
  • Getting good SERP rankings
  • Educating audiences
  • Driving social engagement

And let’s look at this from the point of view of the target audience. Why are they clicking on your link? Are you fulfilling their needs? You need to entertain them, inspire, educate or convince them with your content.

Ask these questions when you start your research and content marketing goals. Remind yourself of them throughout your writing process.

Realize the Search Intent

Let’s expand the target audience’s point of view. To adequately target your audience, make sure you understand the search intent behind their search query. Take this article, for example. Some of you typed “content writing guide” into Google, looking for tips and tricks for crafting a compelling article. You have a different search intent from someone who typed in “content writing agency” and got different results. They were looking for someone who offers paid content marketing services. Both of these search queries have the same topic (content marketing) yet differing intents.

Search intent is one of the key ranking factors for search engines. You are required to put relevant content in front of users. In other words, targeting a certain primary keyword isn’t enough – if you miss and disregard the reader’s search intent, your content will be irrelevant. People and search engines became well-versed in figuring out when websites engage in too much keyword stuffing and offer too little value.

Search engines recognize four types of search intents:

  • Informational intent – The reader is looking for information. Their searches may include “what is content writing” or “content writing trends.”
  • Navigational intent – The user is searching for a particular site. They may type into Google “Facebook help”, or “Oxford wiki.”
  • Commercial intent – The reader is a possible future customer. They want to make a purchase and want the best option. Search query examples may be “best CRM platform” or “best email marketing tools.”
  • Transactional intent – The user is even more ready to buy and they know what they want. They may search for “buy samsung galaxy s” or “Ikea friheten.”

To balance out your content with search intent, analyze search results for all terms you want to rank for. Top-ranked pages on SERPs will let you know what kind of content you should create and what form it should have. Use that information to figure out your target keywords.

Pay attention to Google’s “People also ask” box. It lets you know what users also tend to ask. You can use those questions to provide answers for them in your content.

Write an Attention-Grabbing Headline

Okay, your headline shouldn’t just be attention-grabbing. That is just one of the three things a headline should be. It should also adequately sum up the info in the paragraph below and comply with Google’s search guidelines. After all, we are chasing that high search rank.

Headlines should be between 55 and 70 characters long, with about six words in them. Besides including the focus keyword in the headline, keep in mind that “how-to” guides, lists, and question-based articles rank the best.

Everyone Appreciates an Interesting Intro

Your job isn’t just to get the user to click on your article. You got to keep them interested, and you need to act fast. That means that once the audience has your article in front of them, you need to present them with a compelling introduction.

The intro does a lot of the heavy lifting in any article. In today’s short-attention-span world, it needs to win the fight against distractions. That is done with a clear and precise introduction to the topic. By persuading the audience that you get their problem, you’re offering the solution.

While writing the introduction, try to incorporate the focus keyword and present your argument in a sentence or two. Avoid long-winded intros and ones that tease readers a tad too much. They’re not here to read a novel or engage in mystery. They want a streamlined path to the solution of their problem. Present yourself as a trustworthy guide.

Make Easily-Digestible Content

One of the best ways to create content easy to read is formatting it. Not only will your readers appreciate this, but search engines will, as well.

When it comes to readers, they prefer text that has bullet points and text that is broken into shorter paragraphs. Reading long paragraphs on screen, especially a smaller one, can be tiring for the eyes and mind.

Bolded words, sub-headings, and numbered lists also help the reader spot the information that interests them more quickly. That means you should aim to make your content “skimmable” for those who don’t want to read the whole thing. They want to extract the value they need and move on. And that’s okay, let them.

When it comes to the individual sentences, they shouldn’t be too long or stuffed with complex words. There are online tools out there, such as Grammarly, that will check your writing and highlight any sentences they find as overly complicated for readers. They often call this “intricate text” – writing that is low in readability.

Engage with Audiences

Communicate with your audience, form a bond. They should feel as if you are talking to them without being condescending. Write in an understanding voice that offers a step-by-step solution.

Things that help bring your story closer to your target audiences are not just graphs and illustrations, but a storytelling demeanor and CTAs. These calls to action are added at the end of short paragraphs and whole articles should let readers know what it is that you want them to do. Of course, you should give them the appropriate tools, as well – links and buttons.

Find and Use Your Unique Brand Voice

Novice writers often struggle with consistency while writing. And while it’s not an easy thing to manage, it’s a crucial one, especially if you’re writing for a business that would benefit from a unique brand voice.

When balancing brand voice, tone, and perspective, start by paying attention to the self-referential signifier you’ll be using. Are you using “I”, “We”, or “The Company”?

Next, ensure you are using the correct terminology for the industry in question. Your brand voice will sound off if you come off as amateurish.

And finally, the business you’re writing for needs to have its personality reflected in the content. Pay attention and align the tone of your writing to the consumer, brand persona, and business goal.

Pay Attention to Trust Factors

To benefit from your content, you need to display an expert demeanor. To do so, there are trust factors you can use which help your content rank better in search results. We often use the acronym Google E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) to explain trust factors better. It’s a collection of factors Google takes into account to have the best content ranked on the top of its result pages.

Here is what you should do to seem more trustworthy:

  • Be transparent – Include everything you can that lets users know they are not engaging with a scam. Whether that means including Terms and Conditions, email addresses for contact, or refund and return policies, or all of these elements.
  • Show your expertise – Even though some people don’t find it natural to flaunt their experience and knowledge, you should do it. Such information can be added to the Bio or About Us section of your blog. Also, short author bios at the end of the articles can sum up your experiences, titles, and acknowledgments you may have received.
  • Name your authors – Your E-A-T rating will go up if your content was written by real people who author the article. As we’ve said, you can add short author bios to the end of each article, and even mention and link to their other published work.
  • Become a specialist – The old adage of the downfall of being a jack of all trades, and master of none is a tricky one. On one side, being a versatile and professional content writer that can write in-depth and well-researched articles on various topics can be a plus. On the other side, if you clearly define your scope of expertise, you may build a long-lasting reputation in a niche field. And specialized content beats out generalized content in rankings.
  • Ask for feedback (and listen!) – Get consumers to rate and review your offered items and services. Visible feedback will let other future customers know that they’re dealing with a legit business.

Build your brand authority – One way to build brand authority is by having other websites link to your content. That may be through other blog posts or reputable news articles. If a credible news website with authority mentions you, you are a step closer to becoming an authority yourself.

Final Word

Effective content writing is vital for turning visitors into loyal customers. It’s not just how much you produce – it’s what you publish. So, as always, we come to yet another conclusion that quality tops quantity.

Don’t miss out on incorporating the advice above – make your content visible to search engine crawlers who will reward your well-formatted articles with high search result rankings. And if you are still feeling a bit queasy about venturing into producing content for your business, there are expert content writers and services that will serve your purpose and get you that traffic and conversions you crave.

 

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