There seems to be, at least from my point of view, a general consensus on content writing within the marketing industry – nobody really wants to do it. We all acknowledge that it’s essential to have great content and we all like to think that we’re pretty good writers (or at least not utterly rubbish ones). But very few of us actually want to do it as it seems to drag on forever.
This won’t come as a shock to any other content writer out there but I came up with the idea for this blog article after a good half an hour of being frustrated with not being able to come up with an idea for a blog article. Quite funny how it worked out. To outsiders or leisure writers, writing may seem like an easy activity but it really isn’t, it can be very hard at times. That’s why I’ve put together a handy list of tips and tricks that can help make content writing for the web easier; from tips that help you generate ideas to tricks that can help you write high-quality SEO-optimised blogs and articles.
How to Generate Content Ideas
1) Check out the competition
Rather vague advice I know but it’s the easiest way to generate new ideas. Open up a new tab and use the ‘spray and pray’ technique – that is, search for whatever comes into your head, and hope that something triggers your brain to have that ‘ahh haa’ moment.
For example, if you’re trying to come up with football blog article ideas then try searching for just that. Open up google, Twitter, and perhaps some sites which you already know write football-related blog articles. Search for any terms which come into your head such as ‘best teams this season’ or ‘which formations are best’. Skim read through anything interesting and hopefully, it gets those brain gears turning.
2) Put yourself in the client’s shoes
I’m assuming that you understand what your business sells and who it targets. Put yourself in the client’s shoes. Expanding on the football example above, let’s say that your company sells football boots. If you were a customer looking for a pair of football boots, what kind of blog article would you find helpful? After giving it some thought, you may come to the conclusion that you would find ‘top 10 football boots for Astro pitches’ useful. Just like that, you have a blog article idea.
3) Utilise AnswerThePublic
I’m sure that many marketers and content writers already know about this and utilise it a lot but for the benefit of those who haven’t heard about this beautiful tool, I’ll summarise it. AnswerThePublic is a tool that auto-completes search queries from Google and other search engines to give you an insight into what people are searching for. In other words, it’s a literal goldmine for content ideas.
SEO Blog/Article Writing Tips
1) Plan a structure and wing the rest
In order to write an SEO-optimised blog or article, you need to know what your target audience is searching for. There’s no better way to do this than getting stuck into some keyword research. I usually start with a list of ‘seed phrases’ – keywords that I think will be relevant. Next, I will search those terms and make note of what else Google mentions. When I have a long list of seed keywords, I will then head over to Google’s Keyword Planner and enter all of my seed keywords. By the end of this process, I should have a fairly long list of keywords to choose from. Now it’s all about which keywords I want to focus on. For example, my chosen keywords for this blog article are ‘SEO blog writing’ and ‘SEO article writing’. Incorporate your chosen keywords into your structure and build it out from there.
2) Write a simple and interesting headline
The goal of your headline is to turn the potential reader into a reader so keep it simple and tell them exactly what the piece of content you’re writing is going to do for them. The aforementioned football boots article ‘Top 10 football boots for Astro pitches’ is simple and straight to the point – you know exactly what you’re going to get when you click on the article. It’s also worth mentioning here that it’s best to keep the headline shorter than 60 characters so that it can be used as the header on the search results page.
3) Optimise your header tags
Optimising your page not only makes it easier for Google to feature you in SERPs but it’s also very convenient for readers as they can quickly scroll through your content to find exactly what they are looking for. The general rules are as follows:
One H1 tag – This being the title
Two H2 tags – The two most important parts of the content being written. In this article, these would be ‘ Generating Ideas’ and ‘Writing the content’.
Three H3 tags – these will often be sub-sections within the H2 tags.
Four H4 tags and so on until you get to H6 tags.
Not all articles will be the same and you may have to get creative with it but trying to assign as many Header tags as possible (within reason) will benefit your page.
4) Make it simple
I can’t stress this enough, don’t write your content like every single person who will read it has gone to grammar school and is an expert in your field. This is turn off the vast majority of your audience, even the experts. Make your content easy to read and understandable. Avoid using jargon but if you absolutely have to, do explain what it means.
Hopefully, anyone who reads this article has found a little bit of information that will help them with either generating ideas or writing content. By no means is it an extensive list of everything you can do to make sure that you write top-notch content but it definitely contains some good tips and tricks on improving it.
Looking for more ways to improve your SEO? Check out the following articles: