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The Content Creation Cheat Sheet: Writing for the Web and Social Media

23 Mar

Let’s cut to the chase: when you’re creating content across your website and social media outlets, focus on your readers. Write for them first, and Google’s robots second.

While relevant keyword inclusion is important in terms of search engine ranking, don’t forget about the humans that are visiting your website, reading your content and buying your product (and, ultimately, making your business money!)

Internet users are ruthless: they will have no hesitation in clicking the “back” button and leaving your website if they can’t quickly identify how your business, through your web content or through a particular blog post, can provide some sort of value to them, and can unfollow or unlike your page as quick as a wink!

Read on to learn how you can craft the right kind of content for the web as well as throughout your social media posts.

How can you craft the right kind of content for the web and social media? [Click to Tweet]

Read on to find out!

Content marketing: writing for the web and blog posts

Write in plain English

Readers don’t have the time (nor the patience) to figure out what you’re talking about.

Explain things in simple terms, use everyday language, and avoid jargon. (In fact, business jargon is often seen as annoying and frustrating)

Avoid the “executive” tone: write conversationally

Pretend you’re writing for one particular person.

Be casual, informative and friendly.

Don’t try to impress readers by using complex, indigestible words – how many times have you abandoned a page because the language was so complicated, you ended up reading the same thing three times without even understanding the point?

Of course, the degree to which you follow this will depend on your business and its pre-existing tone, but in general, speaking in a more casual tone means your writing will be clearer to readers.

Provide a solution and communicate key messages

What can your product do for a reader? What problem can it solve, and why do they absolutely need it?

Not every content marketing tactic needs to sell a product.

For the ones that do, though, make sure you outline straight up the purpose of the blog post, fulfil that purpose, and end with a straightforward call-to-action.

It’s a simple formula – one that can be easily followed – but it is often convoluted with tricky content formulas that really aren’t necessary.

Use inbound links

These are great for readers as they show relevant, related and in depth information.

If you’ve mentioned something in passing and your site has another page that goes into greater detail, link it! Internal links provide a good overall user experience by providing relevant, helpful information.

They can also keep a visitor on your website for longer!

Format your content and blog posts

Online, people don’t read – they scan. That’s why formatting is important. Keep paragraphs and sentences short, and break up blocks of texts with headings, subheadings, lists, and bullet points.

There’s nothing more unappealing online than a blog post or article that looks like one solid slab of black and white text.

Include clear calls-to-action

A clear CTA tells users exactly what you want them to do and can act as a prompt to gathering a visitor’s information (and thereby turning into a lead!)

You could ask readers to:

✓ Subscribe to your blog

✓ Share the article on social media (using social share buttons like the ones at the top of this blog post!)

✓ Request a call for more information

✓ Request a product demonstration

✓ Get in touch with a team member

✓ Sign up for an upcoming event

Creating social media posts

Social media is an amazing way to increase brand recognition, build awareness, and engage with your fans and customers in a fun and interactive way.

You’ll find some social media posting guidelines will differ slightly depending on the chosen platform, but here are some of the best overall tips for creating social media content.

Vary your content

The most common social media posts include:

– Image posts

– Text-only posts

– Link shares

– Questions

– Infographics

– Videos

– Promotional and marketing posts

Mix up what you share to keep it exciting and interesting, and to promote engagement.

Be wary of the promotional post – don’t overdo it! Yes, you’re on social media to ultimately promote your business, but if that’s all you do, people will quickly tire of the all-about-me attitude.

Determine your company’s tone

You’ve got to determine a tone that not only aligns with your business and industry, but that is also appealing to your target markets, and suitable for the platform you’re on.

A silly video you might share on Facebook mightn’t be appropriate to share on LinkedIn, for example.

Keep posts succinct

While you’ve got to adhere to Twitter’s 140-character limit, other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are less restrictive in the length of a post.

Having said that though, keep in mind the users accessing these platforms on mobiles – they want to be able to quickly scan a message as they’re scrolling through their feeds.

If they’re not using language that captures attention, long and text-heavy posts can sometimes be overlooked, particularly on mobile.

Experiment with paid advertising

It really can work!

On Facebook and LinkedIn, you can promote your page or specific posts, and the best part is, you’re in control: you can choose your own budget (start small when experimenting) and there are no lock-in contracts.

You can also create ads that point externally, so social media advertising is a great way to experiment with landing pages – can social media send quality leads to your landing page, where they’ll fill in a form?

On Facebook in particular it can be difficult to reach your fans organically (that is, with no paid advertising).

Facebook reach has consistently been decreasing, with Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team claiming that users prefer to see posts from their friends and families than posts from pages they have liked.

This is why it’s wise to dip your toes into advertising and try putting a few dollars behind a few posts to reach more of the people who care about your page and business.

Monitor and understand your metrics

Some social media platforms provide great insights so you can see how well your page is doing overall, and you can break it down post-by-post!

There are heaps of practical guides online which effectively and simply explain how to digest the free metrics some platforms provide.

Some of the main metrics that matter are:

    • Post type: what type of posts are your fans interacting with the most? Do images appear to be more enticing than links, or text-only posts?
    • Reach / Impressions: how many people are seeing your posts? The more people that see a post, the more likely you’ll see a higher interaction, known as …
    • Engagement: Can you see a correlation between the times you’re posting and the engagement you’re receiving? Think about your audience: are the more likely to be online in the morning on the train to work, or during the day when they’re working from home?
    • Demographics: are you reaching more men or women? And how are they reacting to your content? People from what industry are interacting the most? Is there a certain region that stands out? (PS: businesses that target internationally – don’t forget about time zones!)
        Fan or follower count isn’t the be-all and end-all of social media brand-building, so don’t get hung up if you’re not reaching big (how big is “big”, anyway?!) follower numbers.

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