If you’re a small business owner, it’s imperative that people can find you through a website and social media accounts. If you can pump out regular content via a blog, guest blog posts, and industry articles, even better. It’s free marketing at its finest.
Surely, you know a lot about your company, its products and services. I can guarantee – you have an audience. With the power of the Internet, you have the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with people all over the country, if not the world. Why not harness that power from the comfort of your home office, your favorite café, or steps away from the putting green?
In order to deliver that information directly into the hands of the people who want it most, you have to put on your writer’s hat. Scary? Perhaps, but if there’s a will there’s a way. You have a wealth of knowledge, but putting it into blogs and articles that people actually want to read without boring the reader, inundating them with technical terms, or losing their interest because you go off topic can be the real challenge. If the thought of writing makes you sick to your stomach, or if you have no clue how to write “quality content,” don’t worry – you can learn!
I’m a firm believer that when it comes to content, quality is more important than quantity. If your content doesn’t get the point across, or if it’s dull, or if it’s overly wordy and nobody can understand it, it’s not going to capture people’s interest. Readers are not going to find it valuable, it’s not going to be shared, and it’s not going to rank well on Google. If it doesn’t rank well with the search engines – very few people are going to see it.
Here’s my advice on how to make your content stand out so it will rank well on Google, and your readers will be able to find it:
1. Know your audience.
First thing first: know your audience. Before you write, determine who you are writing to. Once you determine who your audience is, think about their pain points. What are their problems? What are they trying to solve? For example, if you have a plumbing company, your customers may be married couples in their 30s and 40s with children at home. Perhaps their problems have to do with clogged kitchen sinks and shower drains. What can you write about to answer their questions about plumbing?
Or, perhaps you’re a plastic surgeon who just opened your own practice. If you have a constant stream of female clients who want Botox, then by all means, write blogs about Botox because it interests your patients. The key is to know your audience, their ages, what kind of car they drive, where they shop, where they eat, what music they listen to, and what issues concern them in their daily lives. You essentially want to get into their minds – that’s marketing mastery. Once you know your audience, you can tailor your content specifically for them.
2. Answer the right questions.
When you write an article or blog, you want to answer people’s questions. A simple topic may seem insignificant to you because you’re a pro, but to the average person, it’s not that simple. Sometimes, you can take a subject, break it down to multiple categories and literally write about each category. It can be as simple as, “How to write a Twitter description,” but you’d be surprised how many people NEED that piece of advice. When it comes to offering useful information, sometimes the simplest posts get the most hits.
The goal is not to just answer any random question; the goal is to answer the right questions. What questions do you hear over and over again? Write about those issues. If you need help coming up with ideas, put yourself in the shoes of your clients or customers. What questions do they have? What problems do they have that you can solve? What advice can you give them that would save them time or money?
3. Be a storyteller.
When you write, be a storyteller. When people read, they want to enjoy what they’re reading and a great way to do this is to have them relate to what you’re writing in some way. It doesn’t have to be a longwinded story – just try to sprinkle in something that humanizes you and makes the reader connect to you in some way. You can mention a personal experience you had, something a customer said to you, or something humorous that happened to you. Or, you can use descriptive words to paint a “word picture.” This enables the reader to “connect” to you. If you can make them laugh, cry, or think, “Oh yeah!” you’ve succeeded in your writing; you’ve captured and held their interest.
4. Be unique in your writing.
You may be tempted to look up your competitor’s blog and practically rewrite it – don’t! Not only is that a bad practice, but the search engines will be on to you and they’ll punish you for it. If you want your work to rank well on Google (which you definitely do), you need to be 100 percent original; you have to be authentic.
Obviously, certain industry tips will use a lot of the same processes and language, just make sure you’re not rewriting someone else’s work. Google rankings are important; if you are on page 10 of Google because you said nothing new, nobody’s going to find your blogs or articles and that defeats the whole purpose, now doesn’t it? So, be unique and answer people’s questions in your written works.
5. Solve people’s problems.
People generally hit the Internet to: 1) answer questions, 2) learn how to do something, and 3) to better understand a subject or topic. When you write, the goal is to offer valuable information that people want. Since you’re going to be writing about your area of expertise, do so with the intention of helping people. Think, what information does my audience need? What are their problems and concerns and how can I help them? Once you have those answers, start writing your blogs and articles around those issues.
6. Keep it simple.
Regardless if your audience is college educated or not, resist the urge to use fancy language and words that people have to define to understand. If you feel compelled to use an industry term because there’s no other way, explain it. If you throw big words around, your readers are either going to have difficulty grasping what you’re trying to say, or they’re going to lose interest and find their answers someplace else. After they read your content, are they going to remember you as a valuable resource, or are they going to be driven away from your site…permanently? Don’t use big words without a simple explanation or you’ll likely lose your audience for good.
7. Strive to educate.
When you’re writing a blog or article, strive to educate your readers so they can extract value from your content. In reality, when you provide value to others, it naturally drives people to your business. People like to do business with people they trust, like and respect. That never changes.
When people see that you know your business, and that you go out of your way to help them, they’ll rave about you. Through word of mouth your name will spread, and your business will grow. As you focus on giving out free information with the goal of helping people, you will become an authority in your industry – and you will earn far more respect than if you guarded all of your knowledge like some prized possession!
Elainna Ciaramella is an independent journalist, business blogger, and ghostwriter for entrepreneurs and business professionals nationwide. She has written extensively on the topics of business, entrepreneurship, law, and medicine. She is well-versed in search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and Instagram.
Originally published on LinkedIn.