content writing

The perfect content checklist for writers

Writing compelling, effective content is a craft that can reap huge rewards for companies in every sector. But how do you make sure you’ve got all the bases covered when it comes to tackling each project? Here are a few of the key factors you’ll need to consider before undertaking your masterpiece.

1. Think about who’s going to read it

Before you start, take time to think about what you want to say and who it’s aimed at. It’ll save you time later, and avoid having a somewhat rudderless article that doesn’t hold the reader’s attention, or even reach the right audience in the first place.

2. Hook them early

Capturing the audience’s attention early is key. The first couple of lines are really important – that’s where you can lose people if the writing isn’t compelling. If you haven’t added the meta description, make sure you do, as this will be what’s visible when viewing your post on social media.

3. Keep them interested

Effective, strategic copywriting can achieve amazing results in a crowded marketplace. Good writing is tightly crafted to engage the reader with elements that affect them, in a style that’s concise, easy to read, and keeps on-point throughout. Attention spans are short these days – too much waffling and they’re gone.

4. Get focused

Rather than writing for a generic group, try creating a list of characters, as suggested by Copyblogger. Think about certain hypothetical traits, then tailor your words to them. This makes it easier to focus your words, which helps readers relate to your message, and therefore feel more connected to it.

5. Go deep

A common problem with content is for it to highlight the features but not focus on the benefits. Get around this by diving deeper into exactly what you’re selling or promoting to get to the root of what it really means to the reader, and why they should care.

6. Don’t forget about the offer

If you’re writing for a business, explain clearly what it offers and make it as easy as possible for your audience to buy. Don’t be afraid to sell, but don’t over-do it either, and be sure to sign off with a compelling Call to Action.

7. Optimise for SEO…

It doesn’t matter if you’ve written one of the finest pieces of content ever created if nobody sees it. Getting keywords in there is essential – in your title, the headers and throughout. Longer posts of around 1,900 words usually get ranked higher, and links to other sites are also imperative.

8. …but write like a person

Keywords are important, of course, but if your content sounds like it was written by a robot, nobody will believe in it. Innocent Drinks, for example, has a lovely tone that’s well worth studying – it’s not only entertaining, it’s also very relatable, and paints a strong picture of the brand.

9. Prove it

Writing about a topic from a position of knowledge is engaging, but quite often content is written as fact when it might just be opinion. It’s wise to back up any statements with facts from relevant, reputable sources – this adds links to the post, too, which is helpful.

10. Control Alt Text

A small point, maybe, but as HubSpot explains, alt text is still a factor to consider. If an image that accompanies your copy can’t be displayed, it’s good to have some strategic text there. It helps the search engines know what the page is all about.

Writing targeted, compelling copy isn’t easy. But if you craft a good strategy before you start, stick to the point, and maximise the reach with a few key tricks, you’ll be well on your way to grabbing – and holding – the attention of the people you want to talk to.