Guest Post: Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy with These Tips
You might think that having a good grasp of grammar, usage, and style makes you an excellent writer. That might be the case if you’re writing an academic paper, but it’s not necessarily true when it comes to your content marketing strategy. When your target audience consists of readers who may or may not buy your product or use your services, the last thing you want to do is bore them. Boring content makes fingers itch to press the “back” button, and up goes your website’s bounce rate—the percentage of users who view only one page before clicking away from a website. If your bounce rate is higher than you’d like it to be, you might need to improve your content marketing strategy. Your goal is to draw readers in and keep them on your site for as long as possible. The best way to do this is to provide entertaining and useful content. Follow these ten tips to improve your writing and create content that doesn’t put your readers to sleep.
Be creative and engaging.
You know those corporate websites that drone on about their products, services, and history with paragraph after paragraph of boring facts and description? Don’t be one of those. The last thing you want is dry, formal content that doesn’t engage your readers. Find a way to make a statement using language fit for your target audience. If your goal is to sell graphic t-shirts with humorous sayings, your target audience probably consists of young adults. Speak to them directly. Let them know you’re on the same page. Feel free to use funny or sarcastic language in your product descriptions. Loosen up and have fun with your writing!
Use colorful adjectives and strong verbs.
Bland adjectives and verbs are to blame for much of the world’s boring writing. They are unimaginative, to say the least. Bland adjectives might be words like good, big, or happy. Don’t say a product is very good. Call it outstanding. Instead of being happy to introduce a new employee, be delighted. There are also words that used to have a strong connotation, but they have been used so frequently that they’ve lost meaning. Take love and hate, for example. These words are so commonly used in the English language these days that they don’t hold as much meaning as they used to.
Don’t repeat yourself. Don’t be redundant.
Are there words you tend to use repeatedly in speech? You might be doing the same thing in your writing without realizing it. Repeated words usually end up being filler words like however or very. Eliminating filler words wherever possible will take care of a lot of repetitive language. Using two or more words that mean the same thing also constitutes redundancy. For example, calling something original and innovative in the same sentence is unnecessary. One strong adjective will suffice.
Reading your content out loud can also help you avoid reusing words. Hearing what you’ve written is much different from reading it on paper. Many people hear audible errors more quickly than they spot written errors.
When you misuse words, my brain literally explodes.
This is obviously a usage problem, but some people dismiss writing as substandard when words are misused. Literally is one of the most commonly misused words right now. People use the word to stress how fervently they feel an emotion or physical discomfort. My face is literally on fire. This bag literally weighs a ton. Come on. If your face were literally on fire, you wouldn’t be stating the fact so casually. A few other words that suffer constant misuse are instant, ultimate, and unique.
Homophones can also be tricky. They’re confusing for many writers. These writers should keep their dictionaries close by.
Some misused words aren’t actually words at all. Irregardless, for instance, has never been an accepted term, but people continue to use it. The correct word is regardless.
One should never play coy.
Vague language is boring. Again, speak directly to your audience, and say what you need to say to get your point across. Abstraction might work in a scholarly essay, but it doesn’t have a place in informal content. Conversational writing engages readers and invites them to keep going.
Don’t use an overabundance of words when one word is sufficient to explain the point you are trying to get across to your readers.
See what I mean? That sentence wasn’t fun to read, was it? Most of those words are dead weight. In simpler terms, don’t be wordy. Be concise when presenting information. Use short (but not choppy) sentences and simple words. Groups of long paragraphs are not reader-friendly. If you have a lot of information to pass along, try to break it up into smaller sections. Not only will the content look less intimidating, but it will also make the page look more organized. In addition, ask yourself whether the information you have provided is absolutely necessary. Is it something the reader needs to know, or is just extra detail? As some editors like to say, “When in doubt, cut it out.”
Creating quality content can be easy if you regard it as a conversation with a reader. The best way to gauge your writing is to ask yourself whether it’s something you would like to read. If the answer is no, chances are your target audience won’t want to read it either. Keep things simple yet interesting. Find a way to make content entertaining and interactive, and your readers will dive right in.
Tiffany is a freelance editor and writer in Charleston, South Carolina. Her vices include coffee, wine, Turner Classic Movies, and being lazy. Sometimes she brings home stray dogs. Her husband humors her whims, bless his soul. Check out her website, Write Edit Repeat, for information on her editing and writing services.
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