The main threat to content writers today is an identity crisis.
As in, failing to recognize what we are at our chore.
Because when we stop writing as humans, for humans, and let algorithms dictate our texts, we err.
Ironically, in our learning how to communicate with machines, we have forgotten how to talk to our own kind. By letting metrics and keywords replace ingenuity and passion and grace, we produce results that are formulaic at best.
In order to write content that will get noticed, you'll need to:
Studies have shown that people don´t actually read on the Internet, but scan. According to some estimates, people will only read 2 out of 10 titles, and skim through the other 8 titles. So, what are you going to do to make them STOP-AND-TAKE-NOTICE? Throw the word “sex” in every title and paragraph? Unfortunately, that old trick won´t work for every product or client. But, it does pays to provoke, to argue an unpopular point, to be scandalous, especially at the beginning of each text. You will explain yourself afterwards, of course.
Here is good example of a counter-intuitive title:
Even when referring to “newsletter overload” on the title and first couple of lines, this writer actually talks amply about how to receive and read newsletters using Curation Tools. However, he does discuss how to quickly get rid of unwanted newsletters too, thus making good on his title´s promise. So at the end, he delivers an attractive, informative, and pretty well balanced post.
Who is your client? The savvy lawyer with a heart? The real-estate agent who will go the extra-mile? A great writer will not only take the time to understand a product or service, but his client´s persona. He or she will be able to craft an appropriate voice to use in all communications. The writer will have a clear idea of whom these professional´s or company´s clients are, and direct communications to them –not to their competitors or neighbors (unless of course, they constitute their target market).
3. Never underestimate an audience
A good writer treats ALL readers as smart. A reader´s age, educational and socio-economical background, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he or she can recognize sloppiness and cheapness in anything they consume, be it a product or a written idea. And even if they don´t know how to spell a word correctly, they can sense when it´s wrong.
4. Respect the media channel too
Social media is not a one-size-fits-all. The extension, detail and graphic elements of the post should be custom crafted for every channel. You wouldn´t think of squeezing your LinkedIn bio in 140 characters or less, would you? Why would you post an image on Facebook containing more than a 20% text? (that you would not be able to boost, by the way). Online content writers are trained professionals, familiar with the best practices for every medium.
5. Use formulas –not abuse them.
Marketing formulas are effective. That´s the reason they are created and shared. But, what happens when everyone uses them? How many of the “7 wonderful budget family destinations for forever memories” and “8 costly mistakes while vacationing with children?”…will attract our attention?
This is not to say, absolutely, that writers should ignore the rules. Yes, the best writers know their keywords before hitting the blank page, and should be able to use them strategically for SEO purposes. But if Google is smart enough to chastise us for overusing them, so are our readers.