If you’re feeling lost when it comes to content writing, you’re not alone. Between limited resources, a seemingly uneventful industry, and a busy schedule, content development isn’t always a top priority. If you’re thinking about starting some content development of your own, which we highly recommend, you need to go into it following these 8 content writing guidelines.
Know Where You’re Going
Content development is important, but consistent content development is essential! Before you start to execute your content marketing strategy, you need to know where you want to end up, so to speak. To have successful and impactful content, you need to follow a set list of content writing guidelines.
Start out with a brainstorming session to begin collecting topics for potential blog posts. You can write about anything that’s relevant to your business or your customers. You should also be reading the news to keep up to date on any new governmental policies that could affect your work, new products or technologies coming into the scene, news on industry leaders etc. There is no supply of what you can write about.
Once you have a good potential list of topics, you need to develop an overarching theme to them. This will help connect your content together and will also help you develop new ideas for future writing. Your overall theme can be broad, and then you can develop sub themes for specific groups of content afterward.
For example, maybe your broad content theme for 2018 is “New York Manufacturing”. From there you can further group your topics together to create sub categories like “Product How-tos”, “Advice from Industry leaders”, “Best Reviewed Products”, etc. Develop a few of these smaller theme groups to last for about 3 months of content production before you switch to a different small theme. Breaking up your content into smaller sections like this will help it seem more manageable.
Once you have your themes and topic ideas in place, then you can move on to actually beginning your writing.
Stay On the Path
Think of your content development strategy as a journey. You’ll need a map to figure out how best to get to your end destination (producing valuable content). Creating and then following specific content writing guidelines will help to keep you on route and away from distractions and procrastination.
Start by creating a general format, which your posts will follow, an intro, a body, and a conclusion. Place your images in the same place and make your use of header tag size consistent. Having a consistent format will help you order your articles or other pieces of content you create. This will also present a more professional face for your company and gain visitor approval as well.
If breaking things down into steps is helpful for you, keep reading!
8 Content Writing Guidelines to Get You Started
If you’re going to produce good content, you need to have a focus and stick to it. You can get content inspiration from pretty much anywhere (social media, forums, comments, FAQs, news) as long as you keep your ears and eyes open. Choose topics that are important to your business and your audience, so your content will be sure to get traffic.
Step 1: Decide on the purpose for your writing
Are you answering a client question, explaining how to properly use a new product, detailing a specific company/community event, etc?
Step 2: Choose a product or service as a focus
Narrow the focus of your article. This will help you create a longer length, comprehensive article that will actually benefit your readers
Step 3: Narrow your topic focus to a specific audience
You need to know who you’re writing to. Is it co-workers, clients, the general public? Knowing your audience will help you determine what language and tone to use in your writing
Step 4: Write 3 points you want to communicate with short explanations
Go into your writing with a clear goal of what you want to achieve. Set a “hit list” of the topics you want to address and then hold yourself accountable.
Step 5: Write your introduction
Step 6: Write about your 3 main points (this will be your “body” of the article)
Step 7: Write a closing to the article
Steps 5-7 can be written in whatever order best suits you. Many writers complete the body and then write the intro and conclusion once they have a better grasp of their subject. Personally, I tend to write in chronological order, but it really is up to you. Find an order that works for you and then stick to that.
Step 8: Combine your introduction, body, and closing for a completed article
You need to make your article flow seamlessly from one paragraph to the next. Edit, edit, edit! You may need to reorder some of your writing, delete certain sentences, or add additional segments in. If it helps, ask others to read your article and give feedback, or get someone’s input and ideas. You can always ask your IMC to work with you to on developing a content plan too!
If you want to start producing content for your website, you need a plan with standardized content writing guidelines that you can adhere to. The above content tips will help you to create thorough and useful content for your readers. Remember, “failing to plan is planning to fail”!