A great deal of content is published on the web every day. The list is endless with blogs, newsletters, ebooks and social media posts. 70 million posts are written on WordPress on a monthly basis. But not every piece of writing is effective enough to resonate with the reader, provide value and create an impact.
Writing is an important skill today for any individual who wants to grow, gain more visibility online and drive sales for their product or services. But simply knowing how to write isn’t enough. As businesses strive to create stellar content for their readers, it’s important to leverage tools to help enhance the overall impact of content.
In this guide, we’ll zero in on some best practices for content writing to help give your content creation process a facelift. Stick with us till the end, and we’ll also talk about some tools to automate time-consuming aspects of the process.
5 best practices for impactful content writing
Most blog content is unfortunately synonymous with “generic” and this considerably tanks audience engagement because your content isn’t adding value.
As brands strive to keep readers engaged enough to go further down the funnel, creating “original” content becomes a need. In fact, 58% of marketers say original written content is more important than other content types.
Here are some pro tips to move the needle towards a content writing framework that creates value-driven content for your audience:
1. Conduct in-depth research about the topic
Opening the first 10 websites that pop up on Google when you search for a topic or keyword and using them as research is barely research.
Why? Because after a couple of sites, the information starts getting repetitive and if you refer to the same for writing your content then you’re not providing anything new to the audience, so they’ll likely bounce.
So how do you tackle this and conduct original and relevant research? Combine different sources of information like books, podcasts, newsletters, communities, and social media.
If you are a subject matter expert on the topic you’re writing about, that’s even better because you can draw lessons and insights from your own experience to add originality and authority to your content. However, if you’re completely new to the topic or are writing an in-depth piece of content where your knowledge alone isn’t enough, you can leverage qualitative data collection methods.
Find internal or external subject matter experts on Twitter or LinkedIn using keywords or job titles and interview them. You can also create a survey and distribute it in communities to get additional tips and quotes for your article like this:
This will help you collect enough data and insights to write a meaty, high-value piece of content that’ll make your readers stay on the web page.
2. Use outlines as stepping stones for your content
After your research is done, it would be difficult to compile that information and create value without knowing the angle you’re aiming for, or how you want to break down the content with subheadings.
So, instead of jumping headfirst into writing after the research phase, tie your research together and segregate it into sections with a detailed outline.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Your outline should include:
- A thesis: what you’ll talk about in the article
- Relevant statistics or industry reports around the topic
- Headings and subheads
- Bullet points under each subhead outlining exactly what you’ll cover
- Scope of collecting quotes or adding visual media throughout the article
The outline will lay the groundwork for your piece, and ensure you have all the information you need in one place to produce an excellent first draft. Moreover, since the research phase involved collecting information, with an outline you can make sense of them, place them in a logical order, and also structure it in a readable format.
If you don’t want to create an outline from scratch, you can also use our Blog Post Outline template to start working with a fully customizable structure right away.
3. Follow the PAS formula to write the introduction
The introduction to any piece of content you write—be it a blog post, whitepaper, or video script—needs to hook your audience’s attention. Without this, your readers might bounce solely on the basis of the introduction, no matter how value-packed the rest of your article is.
While there are many hook-worthy copywriting formulas you can follow to write your opening paragraph, Problem-Agitation-Solution (PAS) is a popular, and effective one. Here’s how you can use this:
- Problem: Start your piece by highlighting the biggest problem or pain point of your reader. You can use statistics, or form a narrative to emphasize the problem and get your readers to think about it.
- Agitate: Next, you need to agitate the problem by focusing on the importance of arriving at a solution so the reader gets pushed to pursue a solution.
- Solution: Highlight what you’ll cover in your content—a solution to the problem and how it’ll help them out.
HubSpot’s blog post on brainstorming ideas to inspire brilliant pitches is a case in point of using this formula to write an intriguing introduction.
Apart from creating an interesting start to your piece, this formula will also communicate to your readers that you understand their problem, empathize with it and have the authority and credibility to provide a solution.
4. Prioritize formatting!
Imagine this: you’re facing problems with your laptop and can’t seem to figure out how to fix it. You go on Google, type in your problem and a bunch of search results show up. You hurriedly skim through a couple of them, and then find one with good information that perfectly solves your problem. But once you start reading it, you find that it’s awfully difficult to read—unreadable font, lack of white space, clunky paragraphs, and no structural organization.
Would you continue reading this or recommend this to a friend, even if the content was good? Not quite, because your reading experience wasn’t good enough.
So, apart from thinking about what you write, you also need to take care of how you write it. Here are some best practices you can follow to format your content well:
- Add a table of contents to allow readers to skip to the part in the article they want to read specifically.
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. You should have no more than 3 sentences in a paragraph.
- Use headings and subheadings with the proper title hierarchy such as H1, H2, H3 and so on.
- Add white space between paragraphs for easy skimming.
- Use bullets and numbering to breakdown steps, processes or unrelated bite-sized insights.
- Bold mark important sentences.
- Add visual breaks throughout the article like infographics, images, or YouTube embeds.
- Add internal and external links.
Overall, formatting also gives your content a reputation. If it’s well-presented, and professional-looking, it will create a good first impression on your readers and add to the value you’re already providing with the content. It will also help improve your SEO score, and help rank higher on search engines.
5. Write a strong wrap-up section
Like the introduction, your conclusion also needs to be highly engaging as it brings your content full circle to deliver value. Ideally, your wrap-up section should mention key takeaways, directions on how to use the content to solve their problem and a Call-To-Action (CTA) that pushes them further down your funnel.
Make it crisp by cutting down on fluff, and being mindful of not repeating what you’ve already said in the article. And you don’t have to write it from scratch, just use our Blog Post Conclusion Paragraph template to quickly write an impactful wrap-up section.
3 tools to assist you in the content writing process
Writing is a habit. It’s a healthy habit which when you invest in, pays dividends for years to come. But let’s be real—producing quality content consistently isn’t a cakewalk.
However, there are many tools that can simplify the process for you and help you write stellar content, even if you’re not the best writer.
Here are four tools you can begin with:
Jasper is an AI writing tool that helps you create original content, based on your niche, allowing you to produce content faster, and with quality.
For example, if you want to write an SEO article on “real estate marketing strategy” and you are facing a creative block about the best way to begin the article, Jasper can help. You just have to type in your company name, topic and tone of voice and the AI-powered tool will start typing out paragraphs for you.
It also supports 25+ languages, so rest assured, it’s a versatile AI writing tool that produces plagiarism-free content in minutes.
Pricing: The Starter plan starts at $29/mo for upto 20,000 words/mo and the Boss Mode starts at $59/mo for upto 50,000 words/mo. Start your free trial today.
When you talk about editing and proofreading, and Grammarly is the first product that comes to mind. This AI digital writing assistant helps you spot grammatical and punctuation errors, voice and writing style inconsistencies, spelling mistakes, readability suggestions and also plagiarism reports.
It’s a great tool for beginner to professional writers to refine their draft and integrates with Google Docs, so you can get suggestions while working on the draft.
Pricing: The free plan only includes basic proofreading. Premium costs $12/mo (billed annually) and covers everything from plagiarism checks to active and passive voice suggestions.
3. Hemingway Editor
Hemingway is an easy-to-use app that helps you simplify your content and enhance the overall readability score. You can either type your draft from within Hemingway or copy paste it after you’re done writing to make readability changes. It highlights suggestions based on sentence length, sentence complexity and difficulty level.
It’s a great add-on for content writers and marketing teams who want to make their content more readable.
Take your writing up a notch!
Content writing is a crucial factor in the success of any online business. You need to write well-crafted, in-depth and valuable content to build trust with your audience, showcase your authority, empathize with them and convert them into customers.
Use the pro tips mentioned in this article to write high-quality content that helps solve the reader’s problem, and positions you as the thought leader in the industry. At the same time, start building your writing tech stack to automate and simplify the process, without skimping on quality.
And if you want to scale your content production process with original, and well-researched content, sign up for Jasper today!