Writing Effective Web Content As Part of an Authentic Communication StrategyBy Michael Sammut
Today, having an authentic conversation is not confined to the spoken word. The majority of us communicate across multiple channels every day, inviting others to engage.
Web content, the quality of what you say and how you say it, has quickly become one of the most important types of conversations in the world. It can bring your website to notoriety, allow you to share your opinions with the world, or shed a little extra light on your brand.
Knowing the fundamentals of how to craft an effective conversation via web content is a powerful skill set that can change the way that others see you. More importantly, it can determine whether others see you at all, which is why it is so highly sought after at this point in time. In this article, we will talk through the most important parts of creating web content so you can wield this powerful tool for yourself!
Figure Out Your Audience
When creating effective web content, identify “the new friends you haven’t met” or prospects. Many new writers make the mistake of simply writing content for themselves, and while this can work sometimes, it pays to know your audience instead. This will help you to differentiate between what you find relevant and what your audience will find relevant.
Before you begin writing, investigate the prospects you are trying to reach and what brings them together. Some people write for an audience that is a certain age, while others focus on an audience that has a shared interest. You don’t need a full demographic breakdown of your audience (though it can help), but you do need to offer value and shape your conversation for a specific group.
By knowing your audience, you empower yourself to choose the right approach for your content based on them. Not only does this make writing easier, but it also helps you to make sure that everything in the content has something of value. Whether you are writing web page content or a blog post, you want to provide information that is relevant for your audience.
Web content without formatting is unreadable, and it will have potential visitors running for the hills. When you open a website and all that you see is an unbroken wall of text, chances are that you look for other kinds of content on a different page too. Formatting makes content much easier to read through and can help your visitors to absorb your content more effectively.
- Title and Subtitle: Having a clearly defined and recognizable title makes web content look much better. Whether it is adding a category to a landing page or writing out a hard-hitting title for a blog post, it needs to be there. Make sure your visitors know what they are there for. Not every article needs a subtitle, but they really can help with reader interest.
- Headers: Using headers of different styles is one of the best ways to make your web content more approachable. A header is used to break down your web content into easy-to-read sections. While it is important to announce what the section is about and headers are aesthetically appealing, they also support readers who are looking specifically for that section. Some web content can get fairly long and your reader might only need a certain bit of content. This makes it easy for them to find so they don’t run to someone else with a shorter article.
- Images: While adding high-definition images to content isn’t necessarily writing, it is a trick in every good writer’s toolbox. Images can work wonders for making content more approachable. Many bloggers rely on compelling stock photos. Website owners use images to showcase products or share their brand further. Either way, it is a common standard in the writing space.
Use the Right Keywords
Keywords are quickly becoming the most important deciding factor between those who are writing popular content and those who aren’t. While we are all very familiar with the concept of “tags” in content, not everyone realizes that keywords are the new tags. If your content is filled with valuable keywords that suit the interests of your audience, you are more likely to land your content in front of them.
Today’s search engines are looking for keywords—and these words are dictating what search engines serve up when people start searching. There are, of course, other factors at play, but the fact is that keywords play a fairly large role. Choosing the right keywords can help you to suit those search interests that your target audience is presenting. Keep an eye out for strong keywords while you explore content in your niche. When in doubt, a keyword tool can work wonders for improving the reach of your content.
Word count is a tricky subject for a lot of new content creators because they don’t quite know where to start. In general, most people simply write until they have made their point. While this can be beneficial for some content, the truth is that it generally just makes your brand inconsistent. It would be silly to assume that every single piece of content will fit into an exact word count. However, keeping in a general ballpark can help your brand to appear more reliable and consistent. It is a great way to keep readers coming back for more.
When choosing your word count, you will generally want to consider what kind of information you intend to share. The depth of your content will often play a role in how long an article is. For a very quick article that really only shares highlights, less is often more. However, if you intend to share quite a bit of information with each subheading, it is important to expand that length. You might even use different lengths for different kinds of content—that’s okay too!
Being able to effectively write long-form content is a valuable talent that can come with quite a few exciting perks for content creators. In general, long-form content is somewhere between 1000 and 2000 words, though this can vary depending on how many topics you intend to cover. Crafting an article of this length that is compelling all the way through can concrete your role as a reliable source in the mind of your audience.
Long-form content is about more than just the length. It is mostly focused on creating an article of length that is absolutely filled with value. For most of us, reading short content is fairly easy. Even if we don’t like what the person says, we didn’t really waste any time.
This changes with long-form content.
Given the length of long-form content, readers will not stick around if you are not immediately presenting authentic value. Well-written long-form content is focused on what readers need to know—and it must remain interesting from start to finish. Using long-form content as a place to ramble will send your audience running for the hills, so avoid this at all costs.
The written word, like the spoken word, carries a tone put there by the author. Make certain your style is welcoming to your audience. For example, analytical professionals might expect formal wording; but today, most people respond to a warm and casual style.
Some Closing Thoughts
Having an authentic conversation via web content is an art and a science. Researching and writing effective web content involves many steps. After a while, this process will become routine and the more you understand your audience the easier it will become. However, do not let it become so easy that you take for granted your own engagement in each of the steps, the tone, and the importance of giving your readers great content every time they visit your website.