The online existence of today’s businesses is dependent on quality content. More than ever, businesses are tailoring their content to meet the demands of their customers. Today’s society need only reach for their mobile devices to gain access to the largest collection of information in history. Search engines have become one of the most valuable tools for the online customer and businesses are prepared to do anything to guarantee their products show up for those customer searches. Because of this, quality content has become a major priority for any business wanting to expand their brand.
Previously, I had discussed the importance of businesses developing voice and tone in their writing. I encourage you to read Creating a Voice – Part One and Creating a Voice – Part Two for a better look at the necessary steps businesses should take to construct an ideology and be able to express that ideology to multiple audiences. In this blog, I will discuss six helpful writing tips to increase the quality of your content and help you to rank higher in a search engines.
#1 – Do the Research
In a world that’s constantly evolving, staying relevant in the latest trends is vital to stay alive. Whether you’re writing blogs or articles, in depth research produces valuable information which you can echo in your writing. This in turn will support your statements and strengthen your argument.
Research can also help when deciding what to write. What’s the hot topic? What are people talking about? What questions are customers asking? These are the questions that people want to read about. The more research a person does, the more comfortable they will be when writing.
#2 – Create an Outline
Outlines are an important part to organizing your message. Separating your thoughts and supporting them with sources and data will produce quality content by creating a structure for which your argument will be well-rounded and clear. Outlines can be as simple or complex as you like, but the function of every outline is the same – to clearly organize your thoughts to make the writing processes easier.
- Create an engaging introduction that pulls in the reader
- Support #1
- Support #2
- Support #3
- Wrap up your main thought and restate your supports
#3 – Edit Ruthlessly
Do not fear the red pen! Read your material as an editor. Nothing’s personal when you’re correcting your own mistakes. This will lead to a more finely tuned message and content of higher quality. Phrases that sound out of place can be rewritten. The structure of your content can be edited to support the overall message in a clear and easily understandable way. Try reading your content out loud. Your material should be easy to read; hearing yourself speak the words out loud will force you to choose words and phrases that are more conversational.
#4 – Eliminate Unnecessary Words
The online landscape is full of technical jargon and words that have different meanings to different people. In George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language,” he criticizes the English language for evolving to nothing more than meaningless phrases and useless words. People would use jargon and unnecessary words to make themselves sound more intelligent. Orwell’s writing philosophy holds as much meaning today as it did in 1946. In his article, he breaks out a checklist for creating quality content that we can utilize when writing today.
“Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.”
#5 – Get a Second Pair of Eyes
No matter how many times you’ve looked over your content, mistakes will always slip. Showing your work to a coworker or another editor will provide a different perspective on your content. A second pair of eyes can help notice a missing comma or provide input on the flow of your writing.
#6 – Create Multiple Drafts
It’s important to understand that writing is the practice of creating AND deleting. Almost always, the first draft of a blog or article will look completely different than the final copy. Creating multiple drafts will allow you to see your own writing process. Words or phrases that are erased in the second or third draft may not fit the voice or tone of your business. This will tighten the message of your article and create quality content that will rank higher in search engines.
The ability to create engaging content is the goal of every business with an online presence. Today, people look for life’s answers online. Search engines’ SEO algorithms search massive amounts of data to make sure that when a person uses their search engine, they receive the most accurate and helpful content. Taking the necessary steps to format your content to rank high in searches will lead to more engagement with customers.
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