The eternal question that clients ask once they have a website is how should they write their content with the aim of bringing users and potential customers to their website. Our answer is always the same, write content that is engaging! Write content that adds value to the lives of your users and visitors.
Bonus points if it’s incredibly detailed. Give them a reason to come back to it again!
What is engaging content?
At first glance, you might misunderstand the word and think oh, we should make the user feel like they’re actively participating with the content! Those websites which feature top ten lists but make the user click through to the next one instead of just showing them all ten on a single page.
That’s not engaging content! Most of those websites simply did that to be able to serve more advertisements and get more page views. Not to mention that the practice of hiding your flagship point behind a collection of mediocre ones was also incredibly effective at making users click through to the end.
Imagine a title that says “Ten celebrities that spoiled movies like no tomorrow, Tom Holland drops Spiderman secrets!”, at that point it doesn’t matter who the other nine are. It doesn’t matter if the Tom Holland spoiler is from two movies ago. Because people that are interested in knowing what happened will not only open your article, they’ll also go through it to find out what Tom Holland said.
The user is hooked, they are interested in the content, they will read it, watch it, listen to it, or whatever else means you’re using. This doesn’t only apply to written content either, it applies to YouTube videos, podcasts, even emails! You’re asking a user for their time. If your content isn’t worthwhile then they’ll simply head over to the five other tabs they have open.
How do you write content that is engaging?
Remember when we said your users don’t actually need to be engaging with your content? We only meant active engagement. You can and you should treat your readers as individuals that are interested in what you have to say.
In all our time writing affiliate content, the most successful articles and guides were those where we genuinely wanted our readers to go home fully satisfied. We researched the products. Found out the tiniest details that may not be known to everyone, and we gave our opinion on everything.
Let’s now answer the question we asked. How on earth do you write content that users actually read?! Well with more questions of course.
Why do users look for what you have to offer?
This is where we ask our clients to put themselves in the shoes of their customers and clients. Take a step back, clear your mind and think of yourself as your own customer. What do they do? What are their interests? And at last, what would they be searching for?
Businesses can significantly improve the numbers of leads they receive by writing content that their ideal client would be looking for.
They need a guide for something they wish to do themselves
This category will cover most of your “how to” posts. When these users head over to Google they are looking for a guide to either improve their skillset or to solve a problem they might be facing.
Every single business has “how to” guides to offer which would provide value to users without harming their core business. But oh! You might ask! If a person visits my website and I help them fix something, isn’t that me helping them for free?! Am I not losing money? No.
Two reasons. Firstly, the type of customer that’s looking for a “how to” post will end up doing it themselves with or without your help because even if you don’t write content to help them, there are countless other businesses out there who will.
Secondly, no one’s expecting you to help customers with everything they could ever need. Solve problems that are already easily fixable for you and not profitable at all. This gives you two benefits, you don’t lose out on money, and you get higher search rankings because you’re actually providing value.
There is a problem that they can’t fix on their own
These users are looking for a service provider to fix their problem for them. The scope of this problem does not matter. They simply can’t complete it on their own. Maybe they lack the necessary skillset, or they don’t have the time. Perhaps they lack the resources or tools. The reasoning does not matter either.
There is only one thing that matters, and that’s your answer to a simple question, “can you do it?”
For these users, your content needs to reflect your expertise and your ability to solve their problem. They are looking for services that you can provide. They are looking to acquire these services. So make sure that the content on your website speaks for itself. There should be no doubt in their mind that you are the right business for this job. Ensure that your content is well organized. And if these potential customers are looking for your previous work, that they can find it easily.
They are looking for nearby people who can help them
Not all tasks can be completed remotely. Yes you can write content remotely. Develop software for a client that’s in another country. You can even be a personal assistant remotely. But for services that need physical attention, simply writing excellent content is not going to be enough.
The ideal way to target these customers is by ensuring that your business is visible on search engines like Google along with all the various location services that people use. Let’s be honest, Google Maps is the only one that really matters but you should still make sure that your business is on Apple Maps as well.
Most people prefer having a face-to-face meetings with their clients. It’s recommended that you provide your customers with an accessible means of reaching out to you.
They need an expert to answer their questions
Remember that when someone’s searching for information, they are looking for information. People search for things like “wood or metal posts for fences”, or “WooCommerce vs Shopify for a startup”. A random person can not exactly answer these questions. There’s more! More often than not, someone who gets stuck on these questions simply doesn’t know anyone in their life who might have an answer.
So they head over to the internet to find answers, on YouTube, Social Media, good old search engines, or whatever else they most commonly use.
These users need to be given thorough content that leaves no room for speculation over the fact that you are the expert in this field. Affiliate content is written in this tone. Where the writer attempts to provide their expert opinion in favour or against one product and recommends what the readers should purchase. The affiliate content industry is massive, and the writing style required for such content is equally difficult to master.
Are you looking for an expert in content writing and SEO? Reach out to us.
Should you write your content differently for every type of user?
Generally speaking, no.
We believe that you should provide the best content you can to every single user and then let the users themselves decide how much they’re interested in reading. There’s a few ways of doing this, we ourselves follow one of them!
- Write long-form content and provide a table of contents to your readers. They can go to whatever part they’re interested in.
- Short posts which are precise and answer a specific question.
- Long posts but provide a summary at the start for readers who are not interested in reading lengthy content. This can still be combined with a table of contents to make both types of users happy.
With that out of the way, let us quickly go through how or what you should be writing for each of the different types of users.
Users which are interested in your services
These users are interested in the services you have to offer and they:
- Need to know what your services are.
- Might be interested in your prices to know whether or not they can afford you.
- Should be treated as potential leads and should be able to contact you easily.
Users which come to your website for knowledge
These users simply want to learn something from your website and they:
- More often than not will ignore any Call To Action and absorb the content.
- Are interested in what you have to say and wish to do something on their own.
- Their skillset might not be enough to accomplish the task in which case you might be able to convert them into a potential lead depending on how confident you are in your content and how difficult the task at hand may be.
Users which don’t know about your services but would be interested in them
These users usually come to your website looking for information about your services. They are interested in what you have to offer but don’t know what to expect. Often because they do not have much knowledge about the subject. These users are complete wildcards. They are not targeted because of how vast the demographic may be. But you can still write content with them in mind. They:
- Often look for a pricing page to see if they can afford you.
- Will read through what you’re offering for different prices.
- Are not actively looking for your service.
- Might be more intrigued if there’s a sale or limited-time offer.
Should you try to convert readers into leads?
Is that not the whole point of writing content?
Most users understand that if they’re getting guides, knowledge, or advice for free then it’s expected to be sold something midway through, or towards the end. Providing users with a quick Call To Action doesn’t hurt their experience on your website. Doing so through pop-ups and massive headache-inducing blinking images? Yea that’s probably going to rub your readers the wrong way.
We could write a thousand words on the perfect way to present your users with a Call To Action but then we’d be undermining our own ability to pop in these quick buttons everywhere.
How long should your content be?
There is no upper limit to how long a long-form content post should be. However there is a limit on a post’s scope. You shouldn’t divert away from your core objective much. As content gets longer though, it becomes acceptable to talk about related topics and their effect on your core objective. Similar to how rivers twist and turn but ultimately reach the ocean, your text should too. Not reach the ocean though, just your conclusion is enough.
Writing content in this way also allows you to get inspired and discover more topics that you wish to talk about. Long-form content often gets re-written and improved on over the years and it gets filled with valuable links to posts which cover more specific topics.
How long is too long?
There is no upper limit to how long a long-form content post should be. We do believe that if you’re heading into the territory of a novel then it’s much better to break up your post into chapters. Purely for user-experience because:
- You would need a table of contents for the table of contents if your long-form text post has over ten thousand words.
- Users should be able to use the browser’s scroll bar and if that bad boy is just ten pixels tall then we might have a problem.
Some users are put-off by massive walls of text. For those users it’s important that you head on over to a service like unsplash and get some high quality stock images to break down your text with.
Keep your content updated
This is a point that needs to be mentioned often and repeatedly. Stale content is damaging to you and your business. It might even cause problems if you have technical details about your services on your website that are not up to date anymore. Instead of focusing on all the negative effects of having outdated content, let us tell you about the benefits of keeping it updated:
- Search engines love content that’s iterated on and improved on to be useful in all seasons. No, search engines do not understand your content or know if it’s up to date or not. But search engines rank content based on how satisfied users coming to your website are, and ensuring that your content is up to date is the first step of achieving that.
- Readers and potential leads will trust you more if your website is up to date with the latest information. If the world has moved on from the WordPress vs Blogger debate, and you are still focusing on it. Potential leads that have technical know-how might just think you’re a tad bit outdated.
Write content timelessly wherever possible
Writing timeless content is one of the most difficult writing jobs. It’s easy to make your landing page timeless. Simply focus on your services and use professionally vague descriptions of what you provide. But posts and articles on your website and supporting content needs a more delicate touch.
Art styles change, websites become outdated, search engines change the things they care about. Not long ago we lived in a world that only cared about backlinks. Now we have algorithms and factors determining search ranking that even Google doesn’t know about.
But there are things that we do know. Things like, a good search engine gives its users what they want. That’s why two different people searching for the same keyword on Google will get different results. That’s why we recommend that our clients write content by first thinking about the user. Because that’s a factor that will always be significant in determining your website’s ranking and your user’s satisfaction.
You can provide timeless content no matter what your market is. The first step to providing timeless content? Disable the visibility of publish dates on your blog posts.
Set aside one day a week to review your existing content
Grab a notebook, a pen, and open up your website. Note down the bits and parts that you are not happy with. Make the necessary changes. You don’t need to spend more than an hour maintaining old content. One hour a week? That is nothing.
For most businesses, we know that within a few weeks you’d have gone through most of the content on your website.
How often should you post?
As often as you can. Unless you have automated notifications going to users with your posts.
If the content that you are posting is relevant to those users? Schedule it for a future date. Users do not want to be bombarded by notifications one after another. That is how you get them to unsubscribe! On the other hand, if the content is new and irrelevant to your existing subscribers? Turn off the notifications and start posting to your heart’s desire.
Honestly! Who else apart from the search engine bots and crawlers will even see your content? No one! Posting content quickly will let you find out if it is ranking well or not. You can review it, make adjustments, show it to people, update it, demand that the crawlers come back to it!
What time should you post?
We recommend that you read the last question before reading this. Do you have notifications enabled? In that case you should also know where most of your subscribers live and when they visit your website. Simply setting up Google Analytics can provide you with that information. Use it.
Post your content fifteen to thirty minutes before your daily bump in traffic.
What if I don’t have an audience yet?
Well, why are you even worrying about questions like these then? Go write content until you have an audience. It won’t matter what time you post your content. You can come back to this post when you do have an audience. Who knows? We might add a couple thousand more words to it by then?
Does my business website need a blog?
Yes. It can get you customers.
What happens if I don’t have a blog?
Make one. It can get your customers.