How to write great content for your business
Apparently, blog posts should be ‘ageless and evergreen’ – timeless in their value. Presumably not ‘soft as an easy chair’ despite the rest of the lyrics of that Barbra Streisand, classic.
I was referring to her song, Evergreen, btw.
I’m about to break that rule by mentioning Covid 19. I can’t keep ignoring how weird life is, right now and I hope you’re safely in your homes, eating your tinned goods. If you have some time on your hands you might want to work on your business as opposed to ‘in’ your business. Or drinking pints of gin whilst crying in the toilet might seem much more attractive.
Anyone can learn to write good content. Every goddam one of you. You don’t have to be a copywriter or a marketing genius to communicate your message well.
Don’t be intimidated
A guy once took the time to send me a private message (no, not that kind of message).
He felt so inclined to highlight a typo I had made in a social media post. I thanked him, it was helpful (and kind) that he didn’t shame me in public. It meant I could fix the error without too many people seeing it.
However, he went on to explain that as the typo was on a post about content writing he could never hire me, his conscience would not allow it. Furthermore, he was concerned many others wouldn’t hire me – you see, he was “helping” me. Just imagine being the sort of person to discount someones entire ability to do a job well based on a typo in a social media post. The kind of mistake that often happens because of an autocorrect fail.
I think I should mention, there are plenty of people not willing to hire me, a typo is never the reason.
I couldn’t be arsed to mention that I hire a proofreader for client work, partly because that seems fucking obvious. And whilst I’m mid-rant, if this guy thinks decent writing is just about the rules of writing, he’s a top-of-the-heap moron, who wouldn’t know good writing if it were etched into his corneas.
That feels so much better.
As humans, we make mistakes. We are particularly bad at not seeing the mistakes in our own work. A proofreader friend tells a lovely tale of her finding a typo in a presentation she was giving (yes, proofreaders make mistakes, I know, fucking madness). Did people stop hiring her? Nope. She used it to illustrate the point – even proofreaders miss their mistakes.
But what’s the point to this, Sarah?
You’ll make mistakes. And there will be self-styled ‘grammar police’ who will like to point out your errors, loudly in the comments section. The truth is, it makes them look like drab, uninteresting little busybodies who enjoy pissing on your BBQ to fill some void in their sad, lonely heart.
That might not be true at all, I just like to create a narrative. Hey, I’m a writer!
Know when to hire a proofreader
Marketing materials, PDFs, webcopy, and blog posts should be reviewed by a proofreader. Consider the words you write for your business just as important as all the pretty design stuff. I’d argue that it’s more important. People can move on from a dodgy colour palette but poorly written content has a bad effect, just remember me and my typo!
Getting a proofreader to check all your social media posts is hardly living in the moment and it will also get really fucking expensive. Check them, sure. Even get a friend to if you want but don’t let it hold you back from speaking to your audience. The free version of Grammarly can be helpful too.
Struggling with words and spelling doesn’t mean you’re not good at content. That’s bullshit and don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Example 1: Laura writes great content and it’s focused on her audience. Laura is also dyslexic. She works hard to get things right but mistakes still happen.
Example 2: Tim has an excellent grasp of language. But he has no clue how to engage the reader. The posts are all about him and how great he is. What a douche.
Correct grammar is pointless if your content doesn’t keep people reading
We play all kinds of different people in life. Sexy, come-to-bed you probably isn’t business you. And bezzie mates you isn’t (usually) how you talk to prospective clients. Find that comfortable tone that you’re happy to be when you wear your professional hat. I don’t think being ‘authentic’ means you have to reveal your inner being to someone who might just be paying you to unblock a toilet, install their WiFi, or write them some copy.
Only I could squeeze two toilet references into one post.
Who are you creating content for?
I write content for my ideal client – people with a sense of humour. But my content often helps anyone writing stuff for their business, I love that but it’s the funny people that I really have eyes for.
Like I do that hot guy, the one on the SKY Vegas advert.
Think about your ideal client like I do the hot SKY Vegas guy. What is that guy interested in? Are you his type? Can you find a way to being where he hangs out? Your content needs to be all about the hot guy/your ideal client. They will engage with it and contact you if they feel you’re talking directly to them. You need to get good at doing that and that only comes with practice.
What’s your purpose?
Do you want sales? Do you want people to view you as an educator, mentor, (god forbid, guru) or someone who knows their industry like their wife’s third nipple? Do you want all of that, do you want to make people laugh? Figure out what you want from your content and do that thing.
You need to commit to regular content writing.
A piece here and there just won’t cut it. You want to aim to be posting daily for your social media platforms and blogging as often as you have time for. Create a content calendar if it helps and mix it up with different styles of content. And if you can’t commit to that, hire someone to do it.
All your content should be your standard. It should be recognisable as you or your business. Let it be based on your values, writing style and words.
Use language that you would when talking to someone in person, this is especially true for social media posts. Being more formal might be more appropriate for your marketing and webcopy but that depends on the culture and nature of what you do.
If you want to know other content writing stuff, take a look at my blog.
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