Content writing. It is not just a catch all term, for anything written online; it is the written representation of you and your business and all it represents.
Basically, it your ideas online.
Writing has been a powerful influence for centuries. Now, in the information age, it is more important than ever.
Content writing can make or break your business, your influence and your bottom line.
Done right, content writing is downright sexy.
Done wrong, content writing is downright disastrous.
What is content writing? How do I use it as the powerful tool in my business arsenal and where do I find good content and/or a good content writer?
Check Out This PowerPoint Presentation on Content Writing
Funny you should ask. I was just about to get into that.
What is Content Writing?
It is basically using the written language in any forum that will be read by the masses: websites, blogs, magazines, forums, social media, newspapers, flyers, and newsletters. After that, the definition can move into a thousand different directions.
- On blogs, content writers are not only bloggers, but also designers. They format their posts with images and video.
- In newspapers, content writers are journalists and editors.
- On websites, content writers can code HTML as well as write web copy.
- In sales funnels, content writers craft sales copy.
- On social media, they tweet, comment, post, like, share and write keywords for pins.
They work for government, grass roots organizations, small business, large corporations, newspapers, magazines, and themselves.
They can work for you.
If you are a blogger or contributor, then you are in the business of content writing. Though it seems that everyone is moving towards video, content writing is here to stay. Check out why your writing business could do well with video by reading this article by Social Triggers.
So How Much Should You Pay for Content Writing?
Here is an infographic that is a good benchmark (if you look harder and know what you are doing you can get it cheaper)
*found on business2community.com
Content writing can also be defined as the vital components needed to make it work.
- Writers – An experienced writer has the tools to do the research and can write about anything. Writers are a dime a dozen, but really good content writers are worth their weight in gold.
- Content – Not any old content will do. Content writing, in order to be effective, must be excellent, well-researched, written for the target audience and captivating.
- Research – This is needed to add legitimacy to your content. Citing your sources not only strengthens your argument, it also builds your readers' trust. Ashley Robison of Independent Fashion Bloggers dedicated an entire blog post to Reader Trust: Your Most Valuable Asset as a Blogger.
- SEO – Search engine optimization, keyword research, good keywords, and not keyword stuffing are vital for blogs and other online content. Understanding basic SEO is a must-have for content writing. Read this article I wrote about SEO for content writing.
How Does Content Writing Turbo Charge Your Business?
The right content can really give your business a boost. It can give your business the professional voice it needs, or be witty, conversational or scientific. Depending on your target audience and the goals of your business, great content marketing can go out into the world, get its attention, and bring back adoring fans and customers.
Here are some of the ways content writing can boost your business.
Increase your website traffic.
Combining SEO with great content can send you a steady stream of traffic long term. Small bursts of traffic can be attained with targeting trending (and relevant) topics.
According to William Jones at SEOIreland, “By producing quality content, not only are you able to gain a stronger foothold in the search engine rankings, you will also engage your readers more effectively. This, all things being equal, should lead to higher conversions.”
Planning is key to attracting a lot of traffic. If your content is boring, no one will share it and no one will come back to reference it.
Grow your email list.
Assuming you have email capture methods in place, once you start getting the traffic you want, you should automatically start growing your list. More traffic SHOULD mean more email subscribers. However, there is one important point that I have to make: It has to be good, targeted traffic.
If your content is good, your traffic is targeted then your opt-ins will be going up.
This is great, because as experienced marketers know, the money is in the list.
Remember, having good content is key to growing your email list.
According to Kenneth Chooks at The Traffic Police:
You have to write something very informative. Your blog post must show them the expert that you are. This is what will make them subscribe to your list.
You cannot write the same thing that is out there, except you do it in a unique way. Your blog post must wow them. Remember these are not just 10,000 emails. but 10,000 REAL people that would be spending an average of $1 a month with you and giving you the lifestlye of $10,000 a month income!!!.
Put that in mind and you will produce nothing less than a great blog post.
Position yourself as an expert in your field.
When your writing resonates deeply with your audience, it sets you up to be an authority in your field. Great writing backing you up will tell your audience with distinction that you are the expert. Expertise goes far in a world where many industries have fierce competition.
Jorgen Sundberg of Undercover Recruiter says:
“Creating … is where you produce content that secures you that expert status. Choose your channel wisely here according to what fits your audience. You could for instance write blog posts, newspaper articles, record podcast or produce video content. If you are really serious about becoming an expert, try your hand at writing a book. Whatever you choose to do, the results of your creative output will lead to further promotion of your personal brand and increased interest from customers.”
Your publications never stop selling for you.
If you have a blog (which is a really wise idea), then your content can be picked up by SEO, social media sharing and syndication. They are your sales agents, even if they don't have one word of sales copy. As mentioned above, they establish you as expert, so they are bringing interested, targeted web visitors to your business.
The point that I have to stress the most is that these pieces of written content, or as I like to call them, online real estate, are constantly out there, 24/7. They are accessed by anyone in the world with internet access. [pullquote]Most importantly, your online real estate is accessed anywhere in the world by your target audience.[/pullquote]
If you are doing everything correctly, eventually, increased traffic will convert to sales.
Written content can be recycled.
A fantastic piece of written content can be turned into an email broadcast, an ezine, a free report, or an article. It can also be stretched across media; talk about it in a video, discuss it in a podcast, or turn it into a series on social media.
Written works are relatively easy and inexpensive to market online.
If you are writing your own work, then it costs you nothing but time. You can list and share your written work around cyberspace quite a bit before having to pay anything. It is easy to do as well. The ways of sharing content writing online are in the hundreds, if not more.
How To Create Epic Content
If you love to write, you still may be facing the challenge of writing epic content. Why? Because no one wants to read boring, regurgitated text. The problem is that there is so much crappy, useless content out there that people are just tired of it.
Do you throw in the towel? Absolutely not.
This is your opportunity to shine. This is your chance to show your market that not only are you an expert, but you create captivating, useful content that they will want to reference again and again.
You need a game plan. You need a strategy to hook the thousands and thousands of people with whom only you will resonate.
Now, think about your target audience. Do you think:
- They are scientific thinkers who love nothing but text, facts, figures and industry jargon?
- They are mavericks, who buck the system and but still love a good intellectual challenge?
- Visual people who prefer graphs and charts?
- Members of Generation Y who love to consume video?
Only you know the answer to this.
Recommendations for epic content.
Here is a template of recommendations to use for your articles. You don't have to use them in every article, however, it helps to make your writing flow, and it makes it easier for your audience to read it.
- Shorten your paragraphs. For effect, you can use one sentence at a time. Large blocks of text can shut down your readers brain into thinking, “Oh this is too much trouble to read, better keep going.”
- Numbers and bullets are your friends. They create lists and content that is easy to skim. For people who are looking to read or just need the basics, bullets and numbers are a huge help. A person doesn't need to read the entire post to get some benefit out of it.
- Read the best content you can get your hands on. Online, it should not be too difficult to find, as they usually dominate the top five of Google for your search term. Otherwise, you can use Stumbleupon, Technorati, or other content aggregates. Reading the best content keeps you in the loop as to what works and what doesn't work, but it also helps give you fodder for future works you publish.
- The title has to be one of the single most important tools you can use. Your work can be worthy of a Pulitzer prize, but if the title sucks, no one will read it. Think about it. Would you rather read, “Make Money from Home” or “9 Dirty Little Secrets to Make Money from Home.” The title is super important – make it count.
- Don't publish right after you write. Sit on it, even for a couple of hours if you can. Trust me, you will always find a way to improve. At the same time, don't sit on it so long that it goes stale. Wait a couple days at the most.
- Grammar, spelling, punctuation. Look, you don't have to be a grammar Nazi in order to publish great content. But you should at least have the basics down.
- Finally, add lots of data – pictures, video, charts, graphs, colors, infographics, memes, links to your site and others, rhetorical questions, calls to action and whatever else you can pack in that your readers will love. Keep building your expectations.
Courtesy of ContentVerve.com.
Where To Find Great Content Writing
Aside from writing it yourself, how do you get a hold of some super hot content writing? There are several ways.
If you are looking to hire someone, Kristi Hines of iAcquire lays out a strategy to find someone in content writing:
- Look in-house first – Ask people who work in your own company. Benefit? They already know the company culture and how things are done to make the business run. You also already have a relationship established with them.
- Don't just hire any writer – Find someone who has the skills you need (for example, knows basic HTML, legal terminology, fluent in Vietnamese, etc.).
- Look in social media – Many professional writers advertise on social media and they are very easy to find, especially in Twitter.
- Ask around – you never know who is in your social media circles, professional network or even family or neighbors.
Where Else To Find Content Writing Online?
I've used Elance for years to do a variety of tasks but one of them is content writing with Elance.
Here are a couple tips to Hiring a Content Writer on Elance or any sourcing site:
- Hire SLOW and Fire FAST
- Set expecations EARLY, not after you hire
- Look for established writers vs training someone new
- Ask for sample work
- Have your topics and keywords ready before hiring
I have a 90 min Outsourcing Training In a Module in this audio serious on May 8th, 2014. I cover how I use outsourcing and what I do to hire the best candidate for my business -> Click Here
As of August 11, 2014 on Elance Here is How Many Freelance Writers There Are
*Find A Writer Today on Elance – Click Here
Hiring content writers from freelance sites.
There are several sites like oDesk, Elance, Fiverr and more where you can hire people. oDesk has an excellent tutorial
that has videos, FAQs and articles on how to find the right person for your project or longer-term.
I personally have been using Elance for years.
Finally, you can use guest bloggers. Find some great bloggers who love to guest blog and start contacting them. It is only a matter of time before you establish a good relationship and have a steady supply of awesome content writing.
I'm personally using content writers for niche products and also my main business opportunity.
Helping me build my brand, increase leads, and make more sales through content writing.
I use content marketing to make sales in one my income streams
Do you have any more tips? Has this article helped you? Comment below and let me know what you think.
SEO Smoothie · March 8, 2021 at 11:08 pm
Reading is sexy too.
SEO Galway · February 13, 2021 at 11:06 am
Sheena · March 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm
love these tips and strategies on content marketing. I believe content marketing is great for having an online presence
Alecia Stringer · January 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm
Great tips. It’s good to see the options that people should consider in content creation. Thanks for sharing.
Freddyjr · August 12, 2014 at 2:52 am
Great Post on Content Writing Lawrence!! … very valuable tips to help you build a successful blog online and get results with content marketing! ..
Thank you for the awesome tips man!
Keep it up!
Lawrence Tam · August 12, 2014 at 8:15 am
make sure to get your content outsourcer asap 😉
Freddyjr · August 15, 2014 at 12:44 am
yup!! … I’m working on outsourcing some of my content soon! .. your tips are coming very handy Lawrence! .. thanks!
I kind of hesitated in hiring a content writer before because of low budget issues – I didn’t want to almost ‘lose’ money and that was my mentality in the past – of course doing it wrong, outsourcing might not get you the results you were expecting… but done right I know is the best investment to scale up fast online!
That’s why I follow you man! .. I’ve learned a lot on outsourcing from you ! 😉
have a great weekend!
Lawrence Tam · August 17, 2014 at 3:01 pm
all through testing… I have a ton of training on hiring… dive in and crush it out
Alecia Stringer · August 11, 2014 at 10:58 am
Great tips and strategies to make sure you are looking for the best resources for your needs. Thanks.