08 Mar 2012

Content Writing – Shortcuts to Success

Content Writing Shortcuts to Success

DoFollow Thursdays

With the rise of the Internet, everybody is now a publisher.

That means more content is pumped into existence than ever before as anybody with an idea can now get their voice heard in cyberspace.

For your content writing to stand above the muck, here are four shortcuts to success:

Write About Something Interesting

The first question I always ask myself when sitting down to write a piece of content is whether I would find that story interesting as a reader.

If you wouldn’t even read your own article, what makes you think anyone else will?

Write about a topic that is interesting or engaging in some way or present information in a different way than it’s generally discussed. Take a new angle on a common story or write about a new way to solve a problem.

Sure, it’s easier to come up with engaging topics on something like professional basketball (as I often do as an NBA blogger by night) than, say, industrial equipment, but interesting topics can be discovered in any genre.

Write About What People Are Searching for

This is the name of the game, according to The Sales Lion, Marcus Sheridan.

You can figure out what people are searching for in a number of ways, including taking a look at Google Suggest or seeing what kind of advice people are seeking from answer sites such as Yahoo! Answers or Quora.

If people are asking questions there, it makes sense that many other people are wondering the exact same thing as well. Therefore, it is particularly important to make the title verbatim what the question is, as then the article will likely rank for said title.

By providing those answers, you are asserting yourself as an authority in your industry, which can lead to conversions down the road as people will see your site as a reputable source of relevant information.

More simply, it is just a great way to come up with content about topics people are already asking about.

Write a Headline That Will Show Up in the SERPs

If you write a great piece of content but it cannot be found in Google, who will know it’s a great piece of content?

Writing a good headline will prevent your content from becoming the proverbial tree that falls in the forest.

My biggest piece of advice is to make sure that the headline opens with the keyword you are trying to rank for. More often than not, this will at least get the article in Google News, which has always brought me bushels of traffic if it’s a high volume keyword that I might not normally rank for.

I went into greater depth on headline strategy in a previous VM post, but to summarize my keyword selection thoughts, you want something that either always attracts a good number of searches on a regular basis or something that will during the time period in question due to its newsworthiness. Both Google Trends and a solid base of industry knowledge (for me I know stories with transaction-related headlines always spike around the NBA’s trade deadline and free agency signing period) can help you determine the kind of keywords to focus on.

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

You can write about a compelling topic that people are searching for and slap on a headline that works both for SEO purposes and for getting clicks, but you will still look silly if you’re your piece is riddled with typos.

If you want to be taken seriously by your audience, you MUST eliminate the kind of unnecessary errors that could easily be caught by spell check or a thorough read through of your content. If you don’t feel confident in your own proofreading abilities, enlist a friend to do the dirty work instead.

Don’t let laziness on this final step hamper the efficacy of your content.

What are you tips to effective writing? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Shamelle Mar 08, 2012

    Blog posts that educate, entertain and engage will keep your readers right there with you.
    Most of the time. That is, if you can get visitors there in the first place!

    You have heard the expression “Content is king” thousands of times. It certainly is true. Your content must be compelling, creative, exciting and extremely helpful to others. It must make sense on a persona level to your audience.

  • Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion Mar 08, 2012

    Michael, great stuff bud, and I really appreciate the kind mention!

    Continued success,


  • Ashley Neal (@smallbizatlanta) Mar 08, 2012

    Great post! I really agree with Marcus Sheridan’s tip…

  • Katie Mar 13, 2012

    This is great, thanks for sharing it. I’ve never used Quora before but I keep hearing about it. I keep thinking I don’t have time to use in any way that would make a meaningful contribution. However, I’ve never thought about using it as inspiration for posts and figuring out what it is people want to know. What a clever idea! I run a blog so I definitely plan on sharing this tip with my writers next time they ask for some ideas. Thanks!