Cillian Bracken Conway
21st Mar, 2021

So you’ve braved the blank page, and you’ve written a draft. Well done! That’s often the hardest part. But the job isn’t over yet; you still need to edit your work, to ensure you’re publishing the best content possible. Whether it’s a blog post, social media post or article for your website, great content is within your reach. These tips and tricks will help you take your content marketing efforts to the next level, giving your content an immediate facelift and improving the overall user experience of your site.

Quick Tips to Improve Your Content

  • Write with the audience’s benefits in mind. How will your content improve their life?
  • Break the content writing process into steps. Write in blocks of time, and remember to take short breaks.
  • Tell a story. Engage the user with your headline and introduction, before painting a rich sensory experience with strong ‘characters’.

1. Plan Your Content

Your piece of content should be part of a greater content strategy. From brainstorming new ideas to planning a content calendar, here’s how to put your best foot forward and improve your content marketing.

Read Great Content

If your goal is to write great content, you need to read content that sets the standard when you sit down to write. Content creation is an art, and there are many useful resources out there which can help you write better content for your audience. My personal favourite is the Content Marketing Institute – a hub of resources on all things related to creating content.

Build Out a Content Strategy & Content Calendar

If you want to improve your content marketing game, you need to have a plan. It doesn’t have to be anything complex – but by building a content marketing strategy, you can anticipate what you’ll be writing about and when, as well as whether you have the resources in-house to be able to fire on all cylinders and create the best content for your customers. With a content marketing plan, you can produce highly relevant content on a regular basis. Your audience will come to expect authoritative content from you, establishing brand awareness and domain authority on search engines.

2. Research

Topic Research

While the first page of Google’s search results is a solid place to start, your research on the topic should go beyond that. Go deeper, and find a content gap. Add your own voice to the content and don’t be afraid to be personal, using anecdotes (where appropriate). Look for what’s missing in terms of the topic, and add your own spin to the topic area. This could be:

  • An explanation of your thought process behind the content;
  • A look into your business’s methodology (without oversharing trade secrets!);
  • An editor’s note to accompany a blog post on your website.

Take off your marketer hat and make room for meaningful dialogue with your readers. Too many people forget that there’s a person on the other end of the content.

Find Best Practice Examples

Search your primary keywords in Google and check out what’s ranking in the top spots of search results. What are the key characteristics of these pieces of content? With keyword research, you can create content that your audience wants to read, making for a better user experience on your website. Keyword research can help you create SEO friendly content; as can a content writing tool.

3. Structure

Every article should have a heading and subheadings. Together, the subheadings should capture everything you’d like to say. For example, if you were writing a piece about frogs, your subheadings would refer to their breeding habits, habitat, and diet. You would not, however, suddenly mention alligators. Every piece of information must have its natural place under a subheading.

Once you’ve got that down, you can take it a step further and decide which exact point you’d like the reader to walk away with. Decide which information you need to emphasise the most, and build your article’s structure around that point. Search engines like Google love highly specific content, so you can boost your chances of ranking when you distribute the structure of a piece accordingly. Why would you give equal word count to each sub section, in no particular order? Your user won’t know which message is most important. Guide them.

4. Write

Content creation is about the creation of value – densely packed information written in a rich and user-friendly way.

Avoid Adverbs in Your Content

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs,” said Stephen King. Why? Adverbs are overused. They’re a symptom of lazy writing. Here are a few examples of adverbs in sentences:

  • She ate loudly.
  • He sighed angrily.
  • She sings sweetly.
  • He reads the newspaper slowly.

When your content includes adverbs in every sentence, it slows the piece’s pace. In blog posts and web articles where the user’s attention span is short, you need to find the right pace for your topic and target audience. Don’t be so top-line that your content has no value; but don’t indulge in unnecessary narrative flourishes, either. Your user is reading a piece of digital content, not a novel.

Adverbs will clutter your writing if there are too many – think of it like ornaments in a home. One adverb stands out. With too many, you don’t even notice the individual ornaments. So if you’re unsure, take it out.

While all content marketers seem to hate adverbs, you can still use them with intention – as long as you’re describing something succinctly rather than propping up a weak verb. If you can get one word to do the job of two, you’re making your writing richer.

When your content includes adverbs in every sentence, it slows the piece’s pace. In blog posts and web articles where the user’s attention span is short, you need to find the right pace for your topic and target audience. Don’t be so top-line that your content has no value; but don’t indulge in unnecessary narrative flourishes, either. Your user is reading a piece of digital content, not a novel.

Adverbs will clutter your writing if there are too many – think of it like ornaments in a home. One adverb stands out. With too many, you don’t even notice the individual ornaments. So if you’re unsure, take it out.

While all content marketers seem to hate adverbs, you can still use them with intention – as long as you’re describing something succinctly rather than propping up a weak verb. If you can get one word to do the job of two, you’re making your writing richer.

Outsource to Other Content Creators

In other words, ask for help. As a business owner, maybe you’ve been told that being busy is always good. Business owners are still people, and you should allow yourself time to really think about the words you write, and take time off at a reasonable hour. There’s no shame in taking a little off your plate – in fact, it can boost the quality of your most important pieces of content. When you’ve got a busy content calendar, a little help can go a long way.

5. Edit

Make Sure You’ve Got Your Facts Right

A piece of content should grow the overall authority of your domain. One way of doing this is by linking to high-authority external sources, so the user can read smoothly knowing the core facts of the piece are bulletproof. Many people will trust your site if you position yourself as a reliable source of information – and search engine result pages will reward you for that.

Make Sure You Edit Your Content

Don’t rely on autocorrect! We see too many businesses squandering their authority online with typos and spelling mistakes. While you might think you can just rely on the almighty power of autocorrect, you’d be surprised what goes unnoticed. If you know you can’t spell, why would you knowingly let a lead go because your grammar error turned off a feeling of trust in their subconscious? You do not want to set a precedent of your user finding an error and feeling that they are superior to you. We’d suggest doing the slowest read through possible. Print it out and read at a pace you think is slow, and slow it down a little more. If you don’t have access to a printer, turn on track changes. With this approach, you’ll pick up extra spaces and spelling that at least warrants a double check on Google. This might take you a little while; make yourself a hot drink, buckle up, and do it. It pays off.

6. Post-Publication

Many marketers (and content writers) make the mistake of acting like the work is done once the piece is written – you still need to upload it to your website, and grow traffic to your website.

Look for Patterns

By analysing the data of your blog pages, you can track the best-performing pieces of content and draw up a list of best practices.

Be Present on Social Networks

By engaging with your followers on an authentic basis, you can boost traffic to your newly published articles. Whether you’re communicating via email or LinkedIn, Facebook or Pinterest, people want to feel engaged with. That’s the bottom line. Start up a dialogue rather than loading everything into a publishing tool and forgetting about it.

7. Don’t Skip Out On The Conclusion!

The user’s eyes may physically roll at the sight of the words “in conclusion,” and we’re certain that’s not the action you’re hoping for them to take on your site. Think of the conclusion as your last words. They should be the most impactful! Your reader will end the article with a new perspective, and will remember your brand because of it. Make those who read until the end feel that their time is well spent. Your content can say so much about your business, and your conclusion can give you the power to establish your message.

Here, we’ll even give you an example of a good one..

With the right tips and tricks, you can take your content marketing strategy to the next level, constructing articles users love to read. Content is a core part of successful digital marketing – with a few key steps in the content writing process, you can create the best content possible. If you’d like help with your content marketing strategy, speak to a strategist at Vine Digital today.