Let’s face it, not all topics are equally punchy when it comes to content. Many areas of expertise can seem dry and technical, and creating content that is interesting, engaging and keeps readers’ interest can be quite a challenge.
The golden rule with all writing is to know your audience and to write for them, and this is especially relevant when you’re writing for a business-focused audience. Remember that your readers are experts in their fields, and that they will not appreciate being talked down to or hearing about things that they learned in the first semester at business school. Engaging them in your content needs to high on your priority list.
Not that creating engaging content means sounding like you swallowed a technical dictionary – the balancing act is in keeping it conversational and friendly, writing interesting and informative material in an informal and engaging way.
Why is good content so important?
We live in a world where social media is crucial and where internet users are inundated with content every single day. In order to stand out, not only do you need to use SEO to ensure that your content can be found easily in a Google search, but you also need to ensure that your readers stick around once they’ve made that first click. Major multinational companies have become wise to the fact that it is not simply about having the money to make slick websites; often on the internet, a small, little-known blogger has gained many thousands of readers simply by writing content that people actually want to read.
Grab your readers with an amazing headline
Before you start, ask yourself this: what is the purpose of a headline? Yes, it’s meant to describe what the article is about in the space of a few short words, but it should also do more than that: it should provoke curiosity, making the reader want to click on it despite themselves. This is what marketing people mean when they use the term “clickbait” – a sort of gentle manipulation whereby the reader is unable to resist the urge to read more. This is done with a headline that is easy to understand while at the same time is enigmatic, and both powerful and emotive.
Address the problems faced by your target audience
Many people search the internet looking for solutions to their problems, and when faced with an overwhelming number of entries that do not provide them with the answer they are looking for, an article that does actually address the issue in question and offer them a new approach or solution will never be boring. It will be precisely what they are looking for.
A good idea, backed up with accurate research
Writing good content is essentially based on two things: firstly, your initial idea must be viable and watertight, and secondly, you need to back it up with documentation that you are sure is accurate. Alison O’Riordan, a Dublin-based journalist, is an excellent example of a freelance journalist with a diverse portfolio covering everything from entertainment and travel to gritty news and politics features. She prides herself on her interviewing skills and attention to detail in her research. Follow her example and do your homework before you publish anything. Find an idea that is original and thought-provoking – and while it does not have to be a topic that has never been written about before, you should strive to approach it in a new way, whether with wit or hard-hitting punch. Finally, don’t forget to fact check because you can be sure that your readers will.
Consider illustrating it another way
The cliché “a picture says a thousand words” still holds true, and potentially technical or complex content can be distilled down with the use of images, tables or even videos and short films. Don’t just stick with one type of media, however; test out the effectiveness of articles, “how to” guides, first-person interviews, webinars and instructional videos. Don’t forget the graphical element: photos, illustrations or tables can break up a text-heavy article and keep a reader from clicking elsewhere.
A good summary
While almost everyone who has ever written a school essay knows that it must have “a beginning, a middle and an end”, a good content writer knows how to wrap up their articles in a satisfying way that summarises the points made rather than just repeating them. Your combination of a great headline, original idea, informative content and the perfect ending should be just what readers are looking for.