Content marketing isn’t easy, especially if you have no formal training as a writer. For newcomers to the industry, learning how to be a successful content marketer requires both an understanding of how to develop a strategy and strong written communication skills.

Users read differently on the web – unlike when they are reading a book from cover to cover. On the web, users don’t read word for word. They skim content, trying to get a quick impression of what it’s about.  They scan for the bits they are interested in and ignore the rest. You need to understand how users read on the web, and then write content in a style that makes it easy for them.

This summarizes to:

  • Be direct
  • Start with your conclusion – this is called the Inverted Pyramid style
  • Limit each paragraph to one key concept
  • Use meaningful headings
  • Use bullet points and numbered lists
  • Include summaries or overviews

Be brief and concise. Reduce your word-count to a minimum. Write clearly and simply. If you are writing for an expert audience explain your terms. Give your users links to simple background information, so that the most casual visitor can work out what you are talking about.

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What does this means?

  • Be factual and accurate. Where appropriate, prove the verity of your information with links to trusted websites or by quoting trusted authorities.
  • Include only content which conforms to the purpose of your website.
  • Protect privacy and respect copyright.
  • Keep your content up to date.
  • Publish your contact details. Provide users with a sense of knowing who is behind the website.
  • Spell-check your content.
  • Invite people to report errors, then fix them.

Users value expert knowledge.  It can be a draw-card for visitors to your website and it helps to build credibility because it establishes you as an authority on your subject. Don’t give your expert knowledge all at once.  Organize it into digestible pieces. Give a summary first, and then let your users drill down for more details.

Final Steps:

  • Put conclusions at the beginning
  • Write only one idea per paragraph
  • Use action words
  • Use lists instead of paragraphs
  • Limit list items to 7 words
  • Write short sentences
  • Include internal sub-headings
  • Make your links part of the copy

Don’t write lengthy sentences. You’ll lose people. Stick to a 5th grader’s reading level and vocabulary. A great way to make sure you’re writing at a proper level is by simply running your articles through spell check on Microsoft word.

Aside from identifying any spelling errors, spell check will show your readability statistics. This is a great tool to help gauge your content and make sure it’ll be fully absorbed.