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Digital marketing—especially for those using an inbound strategy—has an emphasis on written material, typically through blogging and content development. The way your company portrays its tone and overall “voice” makes a big difference when building engagement and trust. The content you write can vary across a number of pieces—direct mailers, emails, and blog posts are just a few examples. Here are 4 content writing best practices you should be following for your digital marketing.
1. Always proofread your writing out loud
Spell check can become a repeated habit that some writers rely too heavily on to fix their errors. We’ve all been there before. However, spell-check and grammar tools—such as Grammarly—won’t always correct every mistake. Reading your work out loud allows you to not only visualize your writing but hear it as well.
If it helps, try to imagine that your content piece is going to be read at a fancy business meeting—and you are the speaker! By getting into the habit of reading out loud, you provide more opportunities to catch your mistakes—and ensure your content is in top shape for your audience.
2. Follow SEO best practices for your content writing
While your content can always be promoted via email, social media, or simply on your website, your company will want to make the most of organic traffic as well. Even a well-written article can go ignored if it’s difficult to locate via a search engine. That’s where SEO comes into play, and it’s a strategy more than worth investing in. Some of the top best practices we often see with SEO include:
- Implementing topic clusters: linking similar content shows search engines that specific pages are relevant to one another. More content around a similar topic can help search engines display your company as a thought leader by showcasing more of your content pieces in search results.
- Unpublishing low-performing blogs: it can be hard to say goodbye to a blog post from your website’s humble beginnings, but weak, outdated content doesn’t look good to search engines. These pages can even drop your website’s overall credibility if left collecting dust in your blog, so it’s important to clean out or update posts that are no longer relevant.
- Keeping meta descriptions at a proper length: while your content itself may take the most time and attention to detail to develop, this doesn’t excuse slacking off when it comes to a meta description. Typically, you want a meta description to stay within 120-158 characters and relevant to the page itself. Search engines can be picky with these, so take your time when crafting the perfect description.
3. Don’t just spend all your time writing; read more content as well!
It takes time to master your own writing style and tone, and you should certainly keep practicing. However, you shouldn’t let writing be your only focus; you’ll want to observe how other writers have perfected their craft as well. In other words, hit the books (or webpage screens) and start reading more!
By engaging with other writers’ content—such as articles from thought leaders and influencers—it helps inspire your own writing and allows you to learn more about your industry. Consider subscribing to other company newsletters or following online blogs, to keep a steady flow of content for you to digest each day. Exposing yourself to different writers can help you find a better frame for your voice—just don’t try to be a copycat in the process!
4. Find your content writing voice
Just as artists need to craft their own drawing style, content writers shape their voice through years of practice. Yes, that’s right—years. The way you write now is not the same as it’ll be in the future. Here’s what you can do to work on the voice of your content.
The digital marketing industry can be surprisingly diverse, in terms of different topics to write about. You’re guaranteed to have hundreds (or even thousands) of competitors writing about the same content as you, so it’s important to narrow down your own playing field. Consider how a person may search for a topic such as “best practices for designing a landing page.” This is a rather broad search, as there are dozens of factors to consider when laying out a landing page. Instead of titling your content piece in a similar manner, try digging deeper into a more specific area such as, “how to prioritize a content offer on a landing page.”
Above all, personality should always shine through your content. Share personal experiences you’ve had involving some of your audience’s top pain points. Maybe you’ve had a poor user experience on a company’s website, or you’ve seen one weak call-to-action too many. Your audience wants to read and learn from someone who not only has a solution for solving their pain points but has been through them as well.
Any opportunity to write is a chance to grow and develop as a writer. No one’s first piece of content comes at ease; the more you write, the more confident you will become. For more digital marketing tips, download thinkdm2’s eBook, and learn how you can implement topic clusters into your content strategy.