Content writing for websites is all about the reader. Engage, inform, and entertain the reader to hold his attention and move him through the marketing funnel. There are many types of website content, ranging from short, graphics-heavy infographics to deep, data-driven white papers. No matter what kind of content is being produced, content writers need to keep the following 10 steps in mind:
1. Get to Know Your Audience
Before content production begins, writers need to know who they’re talking to. Understand the demographics of the audience and create content specifically for that target market by using familiar language and crafting content that engages the audience.
2. Identify the Value Your Website Offers
The first rule of writing effective web content is putting your product’s benefits front and center. Create content that focuses on how your product helps potential customers, viewers, and users.
3. Audit Existing Content
Content management is crucial. Evaluate existing content before creating anything new. Identify content that needs to be refreshed, reworked, or replaced to get a good start.
4. Organize Content Strategically
Keeping the audience demographic in mind, content writers should create a sitemap and content structure that groups pieces by theme, and organizes it using easy-to-follow categories and subcategories. This helps users easily find what they need.
5. Match Content to the Funnel
Marketers aren’t the only ones who need to consider the funnel. Content writing is most effective when it addresses the reader’s questions and concerns at their particular stage in the buying process. Content promoting awareness of a product is typically geared differently than content aimed at consumers ready to purchase.
6. Focus on Quality
Above all else, website content should guide, inform, and educate its audience. Proofread every post, incorporate statistics and research whenever it’s relevant, and make sure the message is clear and focused on the reader. As an “Entrepreneur” article on the subject points out, which would you prefer: “We can deliver cars in 24 hours” or “You can drive your new car tomorrow?”
7. Don’t Underestimate SEO Importance
When SEO first emerged, keyword stuffing was the norm and quality content was hard to find. While today’s content marketing strategies place higher value on the quality of the content, SEO still has an important role. Content writing should begin with keyword research. Ranking isn’t everything, but it does help more people find the content they’re looking for.
8. Break It Up
Web writing shouldn’t look like your favorite novel, with long blocks of text. Readers on the web have short attention spans, and want to scan the content. Keep paragraphs short, and use visuals like bullet points to help break things up. Keep it short and you will keep their attention.
9. Answer the Readers’ Question, “Why Should I Care?”
Content writers should keep this in the forefront of their minds as they approach each piece of content. To achieve this, most content should include the essential information first to grab and hold readers’ attention, and to give them valuable information even if they only read the beginning of the piece.
10. Include Multiple Types of Content
Engage, educate, inform, and entertain readers by using multiple forms of content on the website. Examples of effective forms of content, along with where these forms typically belong in the funnel, include the following:
- Content to promote awareness: Blogs, interviews, infographics, instructional videos, and eBooks.
- Content that establishes buying criteria: Whitepapers, product guides, case studies, FAQs, and webinars.
- Content to facilitate decisions: Consultations, coupons, trials, and quotes.