A business’ website establishes them in the digital space. Hence, it’s imperative that the content is done right.
Step 1: Understand the offering
Talk to your client, understand the offering, the brand value proposition, and vision, inside out.
Based on the discussion, collect the following info:
- Key Offering
- Benefits of the offering
- Features that make the offering special
- Pricing/Free use
- Testimonials (if any)
- Client logos (if any)
Ideally, your website homepage should contain all the above information.
Step 2: Decide a keyword apart from the brand name
Focus on one keyword per page and that should be built around the key offering of the brand.
Step 3: Decide the sections of your homepage
It should have a headline (Key-offering), subheading (USP), and conversion-driven CTA (call to action)
The sequence of the sections has to be decided based on your own judgment. The best way to go about it is first to decide the headings/subheadings for each section of your homepage, setting flow, and then filling in the content.
The inverted pyramid approach
To decide which information comes where- use the inverted pyramid style. Think like your audience and figure out which information would be the most valuable to them in conversion and then arrange information in descending order of importance.
Tips to keep in mind
Check your competitors
Always do a competition analysis to know what kind of content they have and do keyword research on their website to know which keywords are they ranking for. Then chose the ones that work with your brand as well.
Always be precise but informative
User’s skim through a website at first glance, you have 6 seconds to catch their attention. So, make sure that you have short, informative headings on your website to guide the reader’s eye. Only if these headings interest the reader, they’d read the subtexts.
Show don’t tell
Website content should be always written keeping the visuals in mind. You need to build content in such a way that the text supports the visuals and vice-versa. If you’re saying, we provide live chat support, show your chat support screen.
Experiment with CTAs at the end of multiple sections of your homepage. These CTAs could vary depending on the content of the section they follow but do provide the visitor the chance to click on the CTA at regular intervals to drive better conversions.
Put adjectives in the right place
Here’s a great piece of advice that we came across-
Think about the reader
What audience are you writing this content for, and why should they care about your article? The best way to position yourself as an expert is by addressing common pain points and problem statements that your average reader faces.
For example, consider that you’re writing something directed at a B2C audience, and mainly mid-level Sales Reps. You’re expected to put yourself in the shoes of a mid-level Sales Rep and consider all the challenges they face on a day-today basis like prioritizing leads, getting a response from prospects, identifying/engaging with decision-makers in the company, managing multiple customer accounts, achieving bottom-line targets, etc.
You can also share some stats and real-life examples to make your case about how prevalent a certain problem is. For reference, this Hubspot article on Top Sales Challenges Facing Salespeople in 2020 is spot-on for relevant stats.
The end-goal is to avoid generic/vague subheadings and writing only actionable content.
Creating a brief outline of your article is the first step to ensuring that you are headed in the right direction when it comes to content structure and “flow”. Your outlines should cover the following points:
- Introduction: Number of paragraphs + general overview of the information you’d be sharing + references.
- All the subheadings: You must specify the number of paragraphs + general overview of the information you’d be sharing + references for each subheading.
- Conclusion: Number of paragraphs + general overview of the information you’d be sharing + references.
Remember, a person should be able to take a quick look at your outline and understand what your article will look like. Therefore, outlines are expected to be short, succinct, and skim-worthy.
You have the opportunity to go into more detail during a walk-through/discussion about the outline.
It goes without saying that your introduction is a sneak-peek into what the audience should expect from your article – which means, your opening paragraphs must be strong and encourage people to keep reading. You must establish context without giving too many details away – mostly because you will be covering the topic at-length later on. Including 1-2 stats from recent studies/research is recommended.
A good starting point is highlighting the current/past industry trends in the topic you’re writing about to further demonstrate why learning more about the topic in question is important in the first place.
On a similar note, your article should also end on a strong note, and give readers something to think about. An ideal conclusion summarises all the subheadings and presents the general crux of the content in 2-3 short paragraphs.
Lastly, you must read (and study!) introductions/conclusions of articles written on similar topics from reputable publications (Hubspot, Muse, SingleGrain, McKinsey & Co, Social Media Examiner, Neil Patel, for example) to structure your introduction/conclusion. Remember, only by reading good content can you write good content, so streamline your research to focus on content that you admire, and want to emulate.
Regardless of how good your content is, presentation plays a crucial role in how it will be received by the audience. Nobody likes reading walls of text, so it’s important that your article is divided into small paragraphs of 2-5 sentences each.
You should also use a minimum of 2-3 visual aid (infographics, videos, images, etc) to not only lend credibility to your content but also to make it more engaging. Try to include statistics + real-life examples whenever possible (I personally aim for at least 1-2 stats and/or examples for every sub-heading).
Brevity encourages readability, which means, avoiding long-winded sentences that don’t necessarily have a huge payoff in terms of actionable information. Hemingway Editor is a great tool to check your readability score and adjust your sentence structure.
Other miscellaneous guidelines:
- Show, don’t tell: One of the most common mistakes people make while writing is constantly telling the audience what they should do without showing them how to do it. Addressing the ‘how’ should always be a priority.
- Avoid fluff/filler content: Every sentence you write should add value to your article. We strongly encourage using stats and examples to back all your claims, because, we believe in creating actionable content. Readers should have clarity on the next steps once they’re done with your article.
- A good format to follow when you’re still learning is starting with a problem statement and then following up immediately with a solution. For example, Sales Reps usually have trouble prioritizing leads – write 1-2 short paragraphs on why this is a problem, and then the next 1-2 paragraphs cover the many ways Sales Reps can prioritize the leads.
- Streamline your talking points: Having strong, actionable, and engaging talking points is only the first lap of this race. It’s important that you present them in a cohesive manner. Often, writers jump from one talking point to another without spending time on connecting the dots – a flaw that becomes glaringly obvious to a reader. The best way to structure your talking points is by paying close attention to how more experienced writers do it.
What is Tonality?
In simple terms, tonality is your brand’s voice and determines how the brand you’re writing for communicates with the audience. The right tonality plays an important role in connecting with the audience on a deeper, more personal level, and ultimately, drive conversions. Think about it: When you talk to people in a language they understand, they’re more inclined to buy what you’re selling.
You must be mindful of tonality regardless of whether you’re creating content for blogs, social media, ebooks, whitepapers, ads, and other marketing collateral.
- Know your audience: Always remember who you’re writing content for – for example, if your audience is primarily millennials, then most brands like to adopt a more quirky, humorous tone, whereas, with a much-older audience, the tone is more professional, straight-forward, and tech/data-heavy.
- Consistency: Once you’ve established a certain tone, it’s important to stick to it, which means, your brand’s voice should be the same across all content collateral. Sometimes, the tonality can undergo minor changes depending on the channel (social media, email, blog, etc), and campaign goal (brand awareness, or driving conversions) however, it’s important to remember that the changes will be concentrated more on CTAs than the actual content.
- Empathy over everything: Regardless of who your audience is, it’s important that your content always has a “human element” to it. For eg, when you’re talking about pain points, problems, and challenges, people should feel that you actually understand what they are going through – after all, why would you seek and follow advice from someone who has never gone through a similar struggle? Our content is always meant to be actionable and is often tech/data-heavy, so it’s easy to forget to talk to people like people.
By approaching tonality from an empathy standpoint, you’d also have a better hold on content structure and flow because you’d be thinking about approaching complex talking points from a layman perspective.
- Side note for content in times of COVID-19: It’s of utmost importance that we have an extremely sensitive tone whenever we talk about how COVID-19 has impacted people’s lives (personal/professional), and businesses. Acknowledging that everyone is going through a challenging, mentally exhausting time should be a priority, however, at the same time, there should be “light at the end of the tunnel” – meaning, you shouldn’t become so engrossed with the negatives, that you forget to convey a much necessary dose of hope/positivity.
Tonality during this time is tricky because you have to talk about the hard things, but also end on a positive note without sounding nonchalant or “too cheery”. You also shouldn’t come across as dismissive – for eg, “it’s a challenging time, but not all is bad”. A better alternative would be, “it’s a challenging time and we have a long road ahead of us, but having a definitive starting point to problem-solving will help you handle things better”.
- Tools/apps: Grammarly is excellent for keeping your tone is check – for eg: informative, joyful, neutral, persuasive, etc. Install the Chrome extension for Grammarly so you can easily write/edit content anywhere, including GDocs.
- Audit your communication every once in a while: It’s easy to lose focus, especially with tonality, when you’re constantly creating content for multiple campaigns, brands, and channels simultaneously. Conduct a personal/team retrospective on a periodic basis to ensure tone-related consistency.
Here’s a quick checklist to tick before publishing any content. (Some of these may be specific to WordPress)
- Formatting: Define Title, H1, H2, H3 in your article.
- Alt-Text: Alt text is the text that displays if any image on your article is not loading. Make sure all the images have alt text to them.
- Slug: It is the part of the URL of your article apart from the domain name. Ideally, a slug should have the keyphrase in it and include only functional words.
- Author: Add the right author. By default, your name would be displayed as the author.
- Banner/Featured Image: This is the banner of your article which is displayed as a thumbnail wherever you share your article.
- Categories: If your blog has been divided into separate categories, make sure you add your article in the relevant category.
- Tags: You can add metatags to allow easy navigation of content on your blog but tags don’t add SEO value to the article.
- Google Preview details: WordPress allows you to edit snippet details of how your article will appear as a search result. It includes slug, meta description, and SEO title.
Search Engine Optimization of your website and blog in totality takes a lot of strategy and planning. But there are certain set hacks that ensure that you are making your individual article SEO friendly.
- Keyphrase: Before writing an article, ensure that you have one primary keyphrase that’s the focus of your article. Your key phrase should ideally be not more than 2-4 words long. A single word keyphrase is too broad to rank for and anything longer than 4 words is difficult to optimize for.
To optimize your article of a selected keyphrase you need to add it a couple of times across your article. Your keyphrase should ideally be present in:
- Introduction Paragraph
- 1-2 headings and subheadings
- Meta description
- Alt description of the images in your article.
- Slug (the URL of your blog)
- And a few times in your body text depending on its length (Ideally 5-6 times for a 1000 words article)
- SEO Title and Meta description: SEO title and meta description are displayed when your blog comes up as a search result.
Ideal Length of SEO title: ~50-60 characters
Ideal Length of Meta description: ~155-160 characters
- Links: Add as many outbound and internal links as possible to your article but they should be relevant to the content of your article.
Outbound links are those links that link to other websites.
Internal links are the ones that link to pages and articles on your blog.
While it may be difficult to include and adhere to all of these, try to follow as many as possible to get a good SEO score for your article.
Types of Marketing Emails
- For a one-time offer.
- Includes sales, discounts, and premium rates.
- Keep these direct and get to the offer instantly. The copy should be directly persuasive for conversion.
- Used to drive regular engagement and remind your leads, prospects about your brand.
- The content for these can vary depending on the brand
- Grammarly sends “Weekly Writing Insights” to its users that have details about the users writing performance, common errors, and some articles from the Grammarly blog.
- Medium sends in blogs with customized reading preferences to its subscribers.
- Emails that you get while interacting with a brand, are transactional emails.
- Everything from Sign up to Reset Password emails is transactional emails.
- Keep them short, to the point, and with clear next steps or action to be taken.
- Emails that you send to drive a particular behavior.
- These include Referral emails, Customer feedback emails, or Subscription renewal emails.
- Keep the tone of these emails persuasive and focused on the “why”- why should the customer take that action.
- Define clear CTA and don’t ask them to do two things. For instance, either ask them to refer you or renew their membership. Not both.
Lead nurturing emails
- These help you make a lead into a customer.
- The content of these emails should be informational and persuasive.
- Ideally, talk about your brand, your product, and clear all doubts that might be preventing them to make a purchase.
- You can experiment with a long-form copy in these emails.
- Always talk to the receiver in these emails. Try to personalize them as much as possible.