It’s complicated, isn’t it? To create an article that generates massive web traffic, a content writer needs to have a fool-proof plan and stick to it all the times. Right from coming up with eye-catching title through to the end, a writer should remain alert like a mother-deer protecting her fawns (readers) from deadly predators (distraction).
So, the question is, “Do you have a perfect plan for writing engaging posts consistently?”
Before you skip and move on to the Tips, there’s a reality check for you.
The most important factor that determines blog’s success is the human psychology.
- Readers expect you to amaze them with jaw-dropping facts and mouth-watering opportunities
- You expect your blogs to transform into the Eighth Wonder of The World
It gets more complicated when we look at the trends.
We expect too much from our work, put our best efforts in the content, thinking that other things (like promotions) are not as important as the main content.
These time-wasting attributes lead to blog’s failure.
Balance between content and promotion is all what it takes to get the desired results. Not to mention, starters have to be as patient as a python to reach a respectable position. Let’s find out what professionals do to create engaging articles.
10 Professional Tips to Create Must-read Content
Relevant and trendy Content is undisputed King on the Internet, and these tips will help you join hands with the King to get to the top.
- Be Consistent with Research
For a successful blog, you need to keep coming up with fresh content ideas related to your niche. To do that, you need to act like an opportunistic entrepreneur finding ways to spread your brand’s awareness.
Keep your batteries charged and keep learning about the field you’re in, even when you’re not writing. It’ll help increase the quality of your posts. Follow these steps to do just that.
- Jot Down Ways to Develop Your Ideas: Consistent research always helps building a strong foundation around your ideas. It is the best way to avoid (or minimize) “type-n-delete” frustration and will definitely save your time.
So, as soon as you get an idea, go to the research mode and start jotting down important points about the topic. Find URLs to learn more about the topic. Most often, professional bloggers finish their outline way before sitting and writing the topic. Here is the example.
The basic idea has other supportive ideas that will be used to elaborate it. So, make sure you write them too. It will help you choose direction of your article and go on with more specific research.
- Gather Web Resources For Reference: In connection to noting down URLs, don’t forget to add some of those as references. These references will add value to your post. Professional’s approach is to note down those URLs under the point and add comments to find out why they were added. It will help you write your articles quickly and most of the research would have been completed by the time you sit to write.
- Google+ is Very Simple to Save Research Work: What if you’re still looking for an idea to finally create content for your blog? What will you do with all the research you did earlier? Or sometime, there is good read on the web whether or not it’s related to your field.
That’s where Google+ and Evernote come in handy. You can save references and webpages in following ways:
Google +1 Feature
Google keeps a record of every post and image you +1’d. You can see all the pages you have +1’d by going to your profile and clicking on the tab just below the page banner.
The snapshot below shows the list of +1’d pages with most recent listed at the top.
This is the simplest way of keeping a record of your search. So, if you find a +1 option on any post, don’t forget to +1 it so that you don’t have to search it in future. But, you cannot add notes or even categorize the page. For that, you can use the following technique.
1. Create Your Personal Google+ Circle (Not to be shared with anyone)
This is more advanced technique of saving searches. You can create a circle titled “Ideas” only for yourself.
Once you find a good-read article or post, share it with “Ideas” circle. Follow these steps to create your own circle:
To save content for future reference:
- Simply press “+1” button available on the webpage (if option is not available, copy/paste URL on your Google+ post)
- Write down the idea into the post
- While posting, make sure to remove “Public” option and select “Ideas” (or the name of the circle you’ve chosen) from the list of your circles.
- Click “Share” button.
You can later add comments to the post to elaborate your idea.
To review saved searches in your circle:
- From your homepage, go the “More” option at the top of your page.
- The dropbox will display all the circles you’ve created. Select the empty circle you’ve created for content writing ideas.
- To return to normal stream, click “All”
2. Write in Your Own Voice
Your own way of writing is the best way to express your ideas. It’s a skill that keeps on evolving with the passage of time. Your writing style is your own possession, a gift that no one else has. The central idea is that you should use your copywriting skills in such a way that you can express your ideas in a better way.
While starting a new project, the problem that most writers face is to find their own voice. So..
How Can You Find Your Own Voice?
Your own voice is very important particularly when you’re maintaining a blog. It won’t be long when readers realize that you’re not sharing other’s point of view, instead of your own.
Professional bloggers and writers follow three-step process to come up with articles of their own. These steps are: Copy, Mastery and Innovation.
- In the first phase, read, study and learn how your favorite writers write.
- In second phase, develop your own unique style based on what you learnt.
These guidelines will help you find your own way of writing.
Find 5 best content writers whose writings attract you: They may or may not be the most popular ones. But, it will be better for you to learn from those who have the ability to attract the masses.
Select Best Pieces from The Posts of Each of Them: find their best posts (one for each). You may also select articles that you enjoyed reading.
Choose Your Favorite Writing Sample and Read it Word-For-Word: now read the best of the five pieces you’ve chosen and read it thoroughly. You can also add notes on important places so that you can refer to them when you write your own piece.
Learn How the Post was Written: keep your focus on following things.
- How was the starting sentence structured
- Introduction format
- Article structure
- Presentation of ideas
- Topic development
- Call of action
Now It’s Your Turn To Write: Based on what you’ve just learnt, write an article or blog post about your brand. Your article should look identical to the one you read, in terms of format and structure.
Repeat This Exercise for Other Samples: Now, do it for the rest of the pieces you chose in step-1. You’ll end up with 5 different writing pieces for the same brand.
Review All Articles: Now review all the articles you’ve imitated. Categorize them in terms of likeness and pick your “Most Favorite One”
Write Another Article Out of The One You’ve Chosen: This time, add “More of What You Are” in the article. Slight changes to the article will do. Make sure your personality comes through the piece of writing. That’s where you create your own writing piece.
Now, Do the Same With Other Ones Too: In the similar manner, repeat this exercise with other articles that you’ve written in Step-6. Make all of them “speak out your thoughts”.
3. Discuss Only One Thing In Every Content You’ve Written
Each piece of writing Must contain only one aspect of your brand. The easiest way to do that is to think of the last line (bottom line) at the time you start writing your first sentence.
The bottom line is the “Call of Action”, and the whole article revolves around how your readers can do what you want them to do.
After you finished writing, start with ruthless editing so that your writing sticks to one point.
Don’t even think twice to “Kill Your Darlings” if you think the point is irrelevant. Regardless of your likeness, any word, sentence or paragraph that deviates slightly from the topic should be deleted (or perhaps you could save them for future posts).
4. Match Depth With Length
There are two main reasons why people find blogposts difficult to understand or boring. One is too little coverage of the topic that makes it next to irrelevant. In contrast, too much detail that makes it hard for them to follow.
Length is not an issue, but you have to clear the topic within the length you have chosen.
- If you’re writing a short article, either give most important aspect with high-level of discussion or cover one aspect with in-depth detail.
- If you have large space, you can dig deep inside to make difficult topic easy-to-understand.
5. Come up With a Unique Angle
The content of the post can be divided into three aspects
- Topic – the main subject or the point of conversation
- Point – the idea which you want to share
- Slant – the point of view in favor or against the topic.
Writer’s Digest published Adair Lara’s article on this particular topic. The author has given few great tips to cover an article from different angles. Style By Joanne also published a shorter version with slightly different angle.
6. Title Takes A Lot of Time: Spend As Much As You Can
No matter how good is your topic, a bad title can ruin your expectations associated with it. According to David Ogilvy
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar”
Michael Keene and Maxine Hairston explained 4 significant functions of a good title.
- It must predict the content
- It must be catchy
- It must reflect the slant or tone of writing
- It must have keywords
Title takes a lot of time. Jeff Goins thinks headlines and titles are not considered important. Unlike most of the writers, Jeff consumes 30 – 60 minutes on headline.
Here are 10 types of titles that perform well:
- # of (Useful or interesting things)
- Top 5 or top 10 list
- How to (Do something interesting and useful)
- Best of (brand / category / type)
- How (Industry leader/celebrity/brand does something that your readers want to do)
- Why (something) is (popular/trendy/the way it is)
- Interview with (any important person): (catchy topic)
- Breaking News
- Secrets of (Something really famous people are dying to know)
7. You Have 3 Seconds to Grab Attention With your First Sentence
If you think you have done all the hard work, just ask someone to read the first sentence of your topic. Then ask him if that sentence was enticing enough to keep his interest in your topic. If the answer is affirmative, you’ve just won a 3 second battle to take your reader down to the rest of your article. Otherwise, you should create one really interesting sentence.
Take a look at this opening sentence from CopyBlogger, don’t you think you should read more of it?
The opening sentence of your post should give the reader an idea about the main point. At the same time it must be catchy enough so that they couldn’t resist reading a bit more.
You can start with a question, a quote, something that readers have not heard, or anything that force their minds into thinking. The moment they start thinking of the sentence, they are hooked.
8. Write an Irresistible Introduction
Introduction is a lead to your subject. It should play like an experienced cold-calling agent in “Wolf of Wall Street” that never takes “No” for an answer.
For a short article, an introduction could be the first paragraph, or at most, first two paragraphs. For long posts, it could be first 500 words (3 to 4 paragraphs). If you’re writing a book then your first chapter will be the introduction.
What kind of introductions do well?
Some popular leads or introductions are as follows:
- A fascinating story
- Little fact or few facts
- Contrarian views
- Something unique, with a promise that it is not available anywhere else
- A breaking news
You can learn how to write good introductions with the help of following:
9. Don’t Create Hype; Keep it Reasonable
Do Not exaggerate! Don’t stretch your content too much and stay away from hype.
Your readers don’t have time to read something they don’t trust, or something inaccurate.
Keep your content simple and believable by maintaining smooth flow of information. If you present anything they don’t know, provide them with proofs to believe. Add statistics and examples to support the facts you shared in your post.
If you failed to do so, they won’t believe and may not come back.
10. Pay As Much Attention to Closing As You Did With Your Introduction
It depends upon you how you close it. This is where you can create a difference between a good content and a great content. Conclusion of a good content summarizes the details whereas, that of a great content tells “So what”. Adding a bonus tip, an extra advice will be helpful.
The Writing Center published an article on writing interesting conclusion. It shares four different types of ineffective conclusions. So, avoid writing any of these types of closing.
- Keep Your Writing Plain and Simple
Readers like to read simple and easy-to-understand text. So, instead of hard rocky mountain, you content should look like a plain field. Here’s what you can do:
- Paragraphs should not exceed 6 lines
- Keep your sentence under 25 words with 1-2 syllable
These things will help keep your readers read more and remain on your blog for a longer duration. Neil Patel also shares his thoughts on how you can keep your visitors longer.
- Killer Editing
No matter how good you are, you cannot come up with a finished content without edits. So, why waste time while you’re writing. Professionals always spend more time on content after they finished writing – on edits.
- Be quick to write down your ideas
- Keep up with your ideas
- Put your effort into editing
Great content is not too hard to create. You just need to be consistent with your effort. The more you learn, the more you discover and adopt, and it will polish your writing skills. Don’t hesitate to bring in something out of the box, then build on the thought until you’re convince yourself about the idea.
Yes, the exercise takes a bit of time, but once you start doing it regularly, you’ll soon have a treasure of information to share.
What have you earned?
You’ve just created a plan of writing a great content. Not just one piece, 5 pieces of great content. So best of luck with your posts!