As a content writer, you hold a big responsibility for the brands you write for. It’s your job to accurately capture their brand voice, personality, and value proposition in the content you create. Given that content does much of the work to engage audiences throughout the buyer journey, you’re also responsible for how well they connect with their potential customers.
The following content writing tips can be applied in any niche or industry, and for any company you write for. They’ll help you gain:
Higher visibility and rankings on Google results in pages
Better engagement with readers
An optimized writing process to make your workload easier
Let’s get started!
What Is Content Writing?
Content writing is the process of planning, writing, and editing web content, typically for digital marketing purposes. It can include writing blog posts and articles, scripts for videos and podcasts, and content for specific platforms, such as tweetstorms on Twitter or text posts on Reddit.
SEO is the key to making content visible on search engines and earning organic web traffic.
Headlines must capture reader attention, create urgency to read the content and promise the value that your content delivers.
The best content is clear, concise, and does not contain extra fluff.
Writers should take time to get to know their niche by reading their clients’ existing content and that of their competitors.
Visual content earns significantly more views than text-only content.
Content should always be written for humans first. Search engine crawlers use AI to recognize value for human readers.
Eight content writing tips
Start with Your Goals
No matter how skilled a content writer or creator you are, you’re bound to fail if you don’t have a clear set of objectives.
Firstly, without goals, you have nothing to measure your success. You also have no direction.
We recommend using SMART objectives to kickstart your content marketing plan – that is, your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
To ensure they are, answer the following questions with your team:
What do you need to achieve, and by when?
How will you measure your success?
Can you do it with your current resources?
Does it further your primary business objectives?
Know your SEO
Your content won’t — can’t — perform without search engine optimization behind it. SEO is how you earn the search engine rankings that drive organic web traffic from results pages (SERPs) to your website. Given that 93% of web users will never go past the first page of Google results, SEO is essential if you want your content to see by its target audience.
But what exactly is SEO by definition?
It’s a combination of tactics that, when implemented together, grab the attention of search engines so that they can find, crawl, and rank your content.
Common SEO tactics include:
Keywords – the words and phrases that define what your content is about
Link building – earned links from other reputable websites back to your site
Metadata – HTML elements (like titles, tags, and alt-text) that tell search engines what your content is about
Image optimization – aligning image qualities (like size, alt-text, etc.) with SEO standards
Long-form content – longer content (typically 1500-2000+ words) that establishes authority with search engines
Mobile optimization – optimizing content for viewing on mobile devices
Featured snippets – crafting content intentionally to earn featured snippet highlights at the top of Google SERPs
SEO is so important to content writing success that innovative companies are now creating a comprehensive content marketing strategy to streamline their tactics and maximize their content marketing ROI. As a writer, it’s good to familiarize yourself with every client’s SEO strategy, so your content aligns with it appropriately.
Nail your headlines
Did you know that you only have about 10 seconds to make an impression on your readers? If your headline doesn’t draw them in (AKA, get them to click) and demonstrate the value they’ll get from reading your content; they’re likely to leave and keep browsing.
When developing your headlines, think about exactly how your content delivers value. What problem is it helping your readers solve? What interesting topic is it covering? Which must-have information does it include? It’s often helpful to finalize your headlines after you write your content to understand the answers to these questions better.
Note that Google only displays 60 characters of your headline. Keep them to 6-10 words, and put your most interesting comments at the beginning.
Beyond that, you can use the cheat sheet below to be sure your headlines are checking the most important boxes:
Use trigger words to evoke emotion and catch interest.
Convey urgency that makes people feel like they need to read your content.
Make a promise on what your content will deliver (and follow through on it).
It can be tempting as a writer to show off our vocabulary chops, but the truth is that fancy words and extra fluff hurt content performance. Nielson’s Well-Cited research found that web users only read about 20% of the text on any given web page.
There’s a clear solution here, and it’s to always get to the point.
When a user clicks on your content, it’s usually to solve a problem or get a question answered. They’re there for the main ideas, and they don’t need or want much beyond it. This doesn’t mean you can’t write in your unique style or voice — you can and you should — but also be sure that every section and sentence in your content adds value to the topic.
Get to know your niches
One age-old debate in content writing is whether or not writers need to have a niche to be successful. I say it’s somewhere in between. You don’t need to specialize in one place, but you shouldn’t spread yourself so thin that you don’t have enough expertise in the topics and industries you’re writing about.
Fortunately, getting up to speed in any niche is pretty easy. One great place to start is with your client’s existing content and their competitors’ content. Once you have a good idea of the essential topics and keywords in your niche, do some searching and read the articles that rank high on Google.
Once you’ve got a good foundation, make sure you stay up to speed. You can:
Subscribe to newsletters and emails from leading brands
Read about industry news and current events
Attend webinars or online events about essential topics.
Support your text with visuals
Visuals give your content writing performance a serious boost. More and more, they’re becoming essential if you want your content to compete. Cisco research predicts that video content will account for 82% of all web traffic this year, and blog articles with images view 94% more than those without them.
Not to mention that people remember 80% of what they see, compared to only 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read.
Visuals do a few important things for your content:
Call out important key takeaways and data points
Present complex information visually for easier understanding (infographics are a great example)
Make long-form content and heavy text more digestible
A common myth about visual content writing is that professional designers need to include them. While it’s true in some cases (like a branded infographic, for example), there are many other opportunities to source images from reputable sources.
Write for humans first
There’s an important balance that every content writing must maintain. They must optimize for search engines while also writing for humans first.
That’s right — write for humans first, not search engines or algorithms.
Search engines are smarter than ever, and they’re not looking for content that takes SEO shortcuts like keyword stuffing. They’ll penalize you if you try them.
Search engines now use AI to identify which content adds actual value for its human readers, and that’s the content that ultimately earns the best rankings. Your best strategy as a writer is to focus first on authenticity and relevance, then factor in supporting SEO tactics.
Grab Your Reader’s Attention
The most important part of any article?
That’s right. It’s what gets people to click and start reading great content in the first place.
The same goes for a compelling email subject line. Without one and your newsletter will be left unread.
There are whole master classes dedicated to writing great headlines and subject lines, but a few well-aimed tips can wipe years of hard trial and error off your plate:
Controversy, questions, humor, shock-and-awe, contrast, uniqueness, and emotion are big headline attention-grabbers. But also note that numbered lists outperform regular titles. In fact, according to our research, they get 80% more traffic.
At the same time, your H1 must be descriptive of the content – and unique. The content will be clear to the reader but to Google too. Ultimately, articles and guides that deliver on the headline get a higher quality score than content that does not.
But it’s not only about headlines. Don’t forget images. Select photos or illustrations that stop the thumbs on social media. Without a picture to tell your story to, you’ll go unnoticed.
Do not think about content alone to get your readers hooked on your writing. Think about how you will research it. Think about how you will write it, and lastly, think about how you will edit it. Remember that brilliant writing isn’t anything fancy; it’s more about how you present the point of view!
Today, “best” should be your focus when writing a piece of content. You can move the world with your words, and we hope these tips will guide you through the process! Cheers!