Content Writing: How, Why & What Is Content Writing? (+ Examples)
Whether you like it or not, you probably consume online content daily. In an ever-growing digital world, content writing has replaced old traditional outbound marketing strategies and paved the way for increased customer loyalty.
So, what is content writing?
Content writing is one of the best ways for your audience to notice you. Content writing can take several different digital forms and is used for marketing purposes.
In this blog, I will give you a crash course introduction to content writing. I am not expecting you to be an expert by the end of this blog. However, I have pulled together my years of industry knowledge to help you as much as possible. I’m hoping to teach you as much as possible.
So, we’re going to also be touching on some SEO aspects as it goes hand in hand with content writing. I will also discuss the do’s and don’ts of content writing, content marketing strategies and how content writing can help elevate your business.
At least by the end of this blog I hope you have a good understanding of what content writing it, how you can get started, why you should use it for your business and some of my best strategies for creating high quality, readable content.
Let’s dive right into what is content writing before I talk anymore!
Table of Contents
What Is Content Writing?
Right, let’s start with answering the basic question.. What the hell is content writing?
Simply put, content writing is the digital process of creating, editing, and publishing content. You can create content in various formats like blogs, social media posts, newsletters, articles, and e-books.
Most people think of content writing as just writing physical articles, but it is much more than that. Content writing can range from several different formats such as:
- Email newsletters
- Blogs (just like this one!)
- Social media posts
- Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
I have probably missed a few, but you get the gist. Think of content writing as storytelling. Storytelling comes naturally to humans and is what grabs our attention most of the time. Content writing is all about telling a story to your audience.
Content writing is the process of writing, editing and then publishing content in a digital form. Content writers use this channel to convey insightful, helpful and inspirational messages to move their audience to take action. This action, you hope, is a conversion.
The aim of content writing is to share information about a brand, product, or experience and earn the customer’s trust, increase engagement and create an opportunity for a sale. It is a form of inbound marketing designed to attract people to a product, company or digital location.
Is It Easy To Get Started With Content Writing?
Like anything, practice makes perfect.
Any business can get started with content writing. I would suggest creating content on topics your customers want to know about or questions you usually get asked in your business. This gives you a basis to start from and build on.
Content writing is easy to start with as long as you have a natural gift for writing or extra time on your hands. By easy, I mean it is easy to start, not easy to be good at. Sure anyone can pick up a laptop and start writing, but being knowledgeable about making successful content is a skill.
Now, if you are keen on getting started with content writing, I’d suggest your first step to be keyword research. This is vital when it comes to trying to get your content to be valuable to your consumers. This applies to SEO, social posts, emails content and most other areas.
If you don’t know where to start with keyword research, you can begin by checking out a few tools. The MOST valuable way I still think is actually asking your customers questions, or seeing what questions or topics they are asking you about.
Here’s a quick list of some keyword research tools for content writing:
- SEM Rush
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
- Google – suggested results
- Google Search Console
- Answer The Public
Who Can Content Write?
If you have access to a laptop, phone, or iPad, you can write content. Literally, anyone can start content writing. However, the performance and results of writing will be different to an expert who has been doing it for years.
Now, I am not assuming you will be bad at content writing at all. I am saying that it can take time. If you are looking for long-lasting results quickly, you must hire an expert. However, if you want to keep it in-house, just keep in mind results won’t happen overnight.
Remember, you are the expert in your industry. At the end of the day, you probably know the more technical questions and topics customers might want to know. So start with answering some of these common questions and see how you get on.
With the recent updates with E-E-A-T on Google (Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness) having a qualified expert in your industry create content, or by writing it yourself you are giving yourself a better chance of ranking above those who don’t have qualified authors.
I suppose the same applies with emails. Your customers are going to want to hear from people that they can trust, and have first hand experience in your industry.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is content that is created by those who are legit in your industry is going to be much more effective compared to content created by a freelancer, or rookie with no experience in your industry.
Content Writing Article Outline
Content Writing Guidelines
Why Is Content Writing Important For Businesses And SEO?
Let’s assume you know what SEO is right, if not I’ve written an article on what is SEO here. Jump over and give this a quick flash read and then come back. Alternatively, here’s a quick explanation:
SEO helps by increasing the traffic to your website and the number of users you have. It goes hand in hand with content writing. You can have the most amazing content, but if you have terrible SEO, it won’t get the recognition it deserves.
Content writing is vital for a business to ultimately give you a competitive edge over those in your industry not doing it. I have listed below the key benefits of content writing alongside SEO for your business.
- Allows you to communicate with your customers
- You can influence customers to buy your products or services
- Provides value and trust to the customer
- You have control over your content writing assets and can reuse them over and over again
- Generates more traffic to your site and increases sales and visibility.
- Allows you to become an expert in your industry
You should view content writing as an investment. In return, customer loyalty and trust in your product or service will create a solid online presence for your brand. According to Hubspot, 70% of marketers are currently investing in content marketing. It helps you reach out to a new audience you might not be reaching at the moment.
Basically, it is super important. With the new digital world, you need to be online. A digital presence not only helps you build a relationship with your audience but helps you build that audience.
When Should You Consider Content Writing As Part Of Your Strategy?
Many variables go into creating digital content. Consider this if you are looking for a comprehensive SEO strategy. For example, suppose you have a high-ticket item that requires people to research. In that case, you should really consider content writing in your strategy.
Essentially, you want to dominate your industry and capture those in the research stage. In addition, you want to build your trust and authority in the industry and on Google.
If you think about it, say you are looking to buy a second-hand car, and every time you research, the same company’s page keeps coming up. You are more likely to go for that than a company on page 5 of Google.
Unfortunately, we are all guilty of only looking at page one of Google, so your aim is to get your content there. In fact, 75% of internet users never even scroll past the first page.
That will ultimately build trust and credibility with the audience as it ranks high on Google. People are unlikely to buy off a company that is not ranking on the first page.
You will start tucking into the 80% of cold traffic that consider your product/service
To quickly brief you on this strategy I focus on with my clients, and with my own marketing agency. When you begin content writing, you are tucking into the 80% of cold audiences who may be considering your services/products but are still unsure.
This is free traffic, compared to the 20% of hot traffic that you might get through running ads on Google for example. Overall, this means you’ll be able to capture leads early by providing value whilst they are in the research stage.
Although they may not turn into a sale within the first 3 months, you will still be at the top of their mind when they do come to consider you. Not only that, but if they have signed up to any newsletters, free lead magnets or submitted a form you can put them into a long term lead nurture in emails, socials or other channels to convert them at a later date.
Essentially, it’s important for a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
What Are The Factors That Make Up Content Writing?
So, I have spoken loads about content writing and SEO; let’s talk about what makes good content writing.
Anyone can put some words together on a page, but optimising your content to ensure results needs to be crafted. You can do certain things that ultimately make Google like your content over competitors.
Keyword & Topic Research
While your SEO strategy will focus on keyword research more, content writers must consider this when writing.
The keywords are a very crucial part of your content. These words should be the base of your whole content. It is the terms and phrases you want to be ranking for on google. Now, if you are writing about a topic you have experience in, these keywords should come very naturally.
Google has been very funny about this over the years due to black hat techniques in keywords stuffing. Try to avoid overusing your keywords and just writing as if you are naturally talking to your customer about this topic or keyword they are interested in knowing about.
How to find keywords for content writing
To be honest, there are 2 simple ways. I’ve touched on this briefly above but I’ll go into more details now. The best strategy I’ve found is finding existing blogs (written by your competition) that are already ranking #1 on Google.
This is a good indication that your customers are searching for these topics and Google is showing these keywords or topics. If there are multiple blogs on the same topic, this suggests it’s a hot topic with lots of traffic. Get started with one of these, but make yours better.
Secondly, you can use keyword research tools. Explore your Google analytics to find any keyword gaps or areas you are already ranking on, and double down on creating content around this. Another useful tool is Google Search Console to find these keyword gaps.
You can also use paid tools like Ahrefs, SEM rush, Answer the public etc to find keywords with 3rd party metrics like volume, keyword difficulty and link opportunities. However, remember these are 3rd party metrics and not 100% accurate to what Google has.
Engagement Of Your Content
Do not make the mistake of making AI generated robotic, boring content. Now, Google has announced recently that it will NOT penalise AI generated content as long as it’s engaging and provides value to your audience.
With this being said, you need to ensure that you are making the correct prompts in AI and factually checking your content. This also applies to any content you make for emails, or social media posts and other areas.
You want to engage the audience from the offset by keeping the tone conversational. You want to be relatable to your reader and make it easy to read. Add interactive features such as short questions users can hover over.
Use imagery and videos, or even consider creating an audio file where users can listen to your article if they are short on time or don’t want to read. Focus on keeping your users on your page for as long as possible.
Create internal links so users can follow through on other areas they may be interested in, and explore your site more. If your content is useful, users will continue to read through and learn more from you.
One of the most significant ranking factors on Google is time spent on the page and the number of pages read. This could be the clicks through your site or minutes spent reading. It all adds up. So, if your content isn’t engaging, you are less likely to rank high on google.
Headlines And Subheadings
Headlines and subheadings are more important than you think in content writing. As I mentioned early, the slight change in your heading could be the difference between your ranking on page one or page 10.
The title should always be in H1. It was always recommended before to only use one H1 tag, however now studies suggest it’s ok to use multiple across the page. Subheadings should be in H2 or H3. You can go smaller if necessary, but you will primarily use H2 or H3.
The correct structure of your content on SEO writing should be set up in sections. Tackle each question or area of a topic using a section. Within this section you can have H2, subheading like H3 and finally any further subtle back up points as H4.
This will make your content much more readable, nowadays most people scan through content only reading the headings and subheadings. Make sure these are engaging and answer the questions they are looking for, so they continue to read.
They can also help you with SEO by helping you rank for secondary keywords or phrases. Using semantic keywords and long tail keywords in your headings and subheadings allow you to rank for more niche terms and provide more traffic overall.
Trustworthiness And Reliability
Ok, so this is becoming a bigger and bigger factor with SEO and content writing in general. As I mentioned above, E-A-T on Google has been pushed quite a lot lately. I think with the rise in AI generated content, this is only going to become more and more important.
Be honest. Don’t publish fake content because it can help your rankings or you want to convince your users to take a specific action. This may affect your trustworthiness.
Be credible. Ensure your content is factually correct and backed up by other sources to prove you are providing credible documentation and content.
Be authoritative. Lead your industry by showcasing your studies or first hand experience in your chosen topic or keywords you are writing about.
To help improve your E-A-T score you can create an author page with a bio about yourself, showcasing your experience, qualification and expertise in your industry. This way, when Google crawls your content you are confirming you have expertise and authority in the content you are writing about.
Try to avoid monetizing your content because this can put users off and make them lose trust in you if it becomes too pushy or salesy.
Internal Links And References
What better way to show your credibility and trustworthiness than by backing your points up with proof? I touched on this briefly above. Make sure you are linking internally to any other articles to back up your points.
It’s what I’ve been doing all across this blog. When I make a point or statement, I’ll back it up by a blog or article which has a study on this, accrediting my answers and proving it’s factually correct.
If you don’t have any other articles on the topic of the point you made, then link to someone who has written one about your point to back it up. That way you provide your credibility.
One strong strategy that we use is the reverse silo method. In this strategy we link from our strongest articles back to our sales pages to try and generate traffic and drive sales. Not only this, but this also passes the link juice from our high authority page, through to our sales pages and helps them rank further.
I think internal link building is overlooked in content writing and should be always included. It’s important for so many different ways that can help you rank, drive sales and improve your credibility.
It also allows Google to understand and crawl your website more easily, the more you link to a specific page internally, Google will understand this is an important page for you and know that you want it ranking higher. This helps structure your website more.
Simplicity Of Your Words
Keep it simple. You will hear me say that throughout this blog because that does the best content writing. Short sentences. Straight to the point. Answer the question.
This is also super important for emails and social media content as well. Ensure that this is simple and gets someone’s attention without losing it too quickly.
Aim for a Flesch reading score of 70. All this means is the readability score of your content. If it is 70 or above, it is easy for the reader to read.
There are tools you can use to make your content more simple and more optimise like:
- Surfer SEO
- Chat GPT
Comprehensive SEO Strategies Always Include Content Writing
In my opinion, SEO strategies should always include content writing. I have an example case study of where my client was using an SEO expert who only focused on on and off page optimisation and some link building here and there.
When I took over, I started content writing and creating blogs. Along with a strong link building campaign, we managed to take the traffic from 2,000 per month up to 7,000 per month. We started to capture the colder audience which they were missing and started to drive more sales through content writing.
Take a look at your competition who are leading the industry and check out their content writing strategy. See what type of content they are creating and the blogs they are writing. There is an old saying; if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.
With this being said, if you are considering SEO then content writing should be at the forefront of your strategy. As mentioned before, you are tapping into a cold audience which has a lot of search volume and views. Yes, you might have a low conversion rate but it’s scalable.
Create Content Writing That Is Going To Be Easily Understood By Google, But Created Around/For Your Customer
First and foremost, create content based around your user with a human in mind. However, don’t forget you need to optimise for google. Google only knows what you tell it, so ensure you cover all areas.
Make sure you include schema with your content writing to allow search engines to understand what your content is about. You can find the list of schemas here.
By using schema, you can ensure you are focusing your content around your users and then allowing the schema to keep it optimised for Google.
To be honest, nowadays Google has such strong algorithms and structures in place that it’s able to understand your content easily, and it’s able to understand when your content is written for humans and your users.
Include your opinions, emotions and studies. Create content that people are actually wanting to read or listen to. Once you master this, your content writing really will be king.
What Should You Avoid In Your Content Writing?
As mentioned before, becoming an expert in content writing right is challenging and can take lots of practice. This is why it is sometimes better to invest money into an expert content writer rather than wasting time and money doing it yourself. However, you can be the judge of this and what works best for your business.
If you are looking to give content writing a go, here are some things you should not do.
Unnatural Keyword Stuffing
Too many keywords will harm your SEO. If Google comes across an article, blog or webpage with a ridiculous amount of the same words, it will flag it as spam. Simple as that.
This is called keyword stuffing and makes your content look unnatural and forced. People think if they do this, it will help to boost their rankings on Google, but it will just harm all your hard SEO work.
When you read content the last thing you want to keep seeing is a random keyword pop up where it shouldn’t be. It just makes no sense. Don’t bother with this black hat method.
Don’t trick your audience!
Clickbait can be very annoying for a reader which goes against Google guidelines. Don’t use a headline just because it has a high click rate or search rate on Google and then not write anything about the title in your content.
Again, people do this to try and increase the number of clicks on their content. When in fact, you will get more people exiting your content (This is known as the exit and bounce rates). This sign to Google that the content must not be good and actually move you down the rankings.
It gives you a bad reputation because it makes your site look like spam and gives your audience the wrong impression. You want to build trust with your audience, and this won’t do that. You can also be penalised for it.
Commercial And Monetised Content
Content with ads and monetisation is not user-friendly and may cause users to leave. I find myself on blogs that have all of these ads across the page and when I scroll and oh my god, it gets so frustrating.
Also, sponsored or biased paid-for guest posts are not the best type of content to be put on your site. Yes, this is a huge thing that’s happening right now but I don’t see it lasting forever.
If your content is just created to try and generate money or other people’s money then it’s not going to provide much value to the user which Google will soon find out through its algorithm and data points and begin to derank you.
Content Writing Can Help Reach Your Customers Whilst They Are In The Research Stage
I know, I know. I’ve said this so much already in my article. But that’s because I want to stress it the most. You can literally help your audience consider your service or product more through content writing.
This is why I love content writing because it allows you to create content around your customer’s pain points, questions and problems. So you can educate them with a solution while at the same time building your user’s and customers’ trust.
Content writing helps you move your customer to the next stage of the customer journey and further down your sales funnel. Content marketing allows you to build brand awareness, which is the first stage of the funnel. It should help you increase the number of customers that then go on to consider and decide to invest in your product or service.
Hypothetically, of course. I am not saying this will always happen, but it is more likely as 54% of decision-makers now say they spend more than 1 hour each week reading content writing. This is huge!
Maximise this if you want to get better at digital marketing and boost your brand’s online presence.
Content Writing & Social Media: Create Content That Can Be Easily Shared
In a world where anything can be shared at the tap of a button, more and more, we are seeing word of mouth come to life.
Before, it would be people telling their friends and family in person, which is excellent and still happens. However, sharing digital content with friends and family online helps to boost your business even more. Let me explain.
Good content writing should be easily shareable across social media and helpful for those reading. This signals that your content is quality, and people want to read and share it for others to see its benefit and value.
This helps to boost your visibility online. The more shares it gets among different platforms will drive more people to your site. More visits mean more clicks. And more clicks mean Google is going to like you more.
Although Not a Ranking Factor, Sharable Content Across Socials Is a Good Signal To Google
Even though it’s not a direct ranking factor, it’s an indirect ranking factor. This is because it shows that people are seeing value from your content and tells Google that the content is readable and engaging. Also, social media traffic may decrease bounce rates, increase page time and other big ranking factors for Google.
To put it simply, shareable content is good for your audience as it means it’s interesting and valuable to read. It is also great for you as not only do more people come to the site, but Google will start to like you more.
Content Writing Can Create Assets You Can Use Across Different Strategies In Your Business Such As Email Marketing, Social Media & More
Once you have created content writing, it can become an asset you can use when you need it. Yes, that’s right. You can recycle your content over and over to new users through your other channels.
You can share your content writing asset in email marketing, lead nurturing or sharing it across social media accounts. This helps to build traffic, social proof, brand awareness, page likes or even generate leads.
If you think about it, social media platforms such as Instagram, predicted to have 1.1. Billion users in 2022, are massive. So if you can share your content there, if you already have a following, it will help to increase traffic to your site and products.
It can help in a lot of ways. Content assets can be used in the sales processes to help with objection handling and educate the customer on topics, services or products you sell or provide.
When Will You Start To See Results With Your Content Writing?
I don’t want to burst your bubble, but results don’t happen overnight. Well, not usually anyway.
However, you can see results pretty quickly by sharing content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn if you are running engagement or traffic campaigns.
That’s for content writing. For SEO, it can take a little longer, but something I could not recommend you invest in enough.
From my experience, if your site has some authority and gets crawled regularly, you can start to see your live indexed page within 30 days. Indexed is when Google starts to recognise you and your content which can take a while initially, but once indexed, you can only go up. If your site doesn’t have authority, it can take much longer.
Consistency is KEY!
It can take 6-8 months to see results as long as you are consistent. It is not to say there will be no results in that time; I just mean that getting consistent traffic to your site can take that long on average.
I would not see this as a bad thing as it gives you a lot of wiggle room. It filters out the not-so-good SEO freelancers or makes you realise you must invest in a proper SEO strategy.
So, if you stay consistent with your content writing SEO strategy, you will see a return on your investments in 12 months.
Google Is Now Beginning To Rank Articles With 0 Links, Meaning You Have a Good Chance Straight Away
For those who want to start content writing, the good news is that google has now said it ranks content without any links. So, if the content is high quality and people are reading it and prefer it over other content then you are in.
With saying this, you will need to pick hot topics that are coming up in the trends and have low competition. This way you can rank your article quickly through content writing without the need for a large link building campaign.
This gives you plenty of time to build up your skills and become an expert content writer with all the tips and tricks. Having the first 6 months to help sharpen your content will only help you in the long run.
My Best Tips For Getting Started With Content Writing
Now, I know that is a lot to take in. I am not expecting you to be an expert content writer overnight, but I hope it has helped answer ‘what is content writing’.
These are my top tips for getting started with content writing. We all start somewhere, and these are some of the things I wish I knew when starting:
- Create natural content- No AI-generated, robotic content. Write as if you are writing to someone you know, natural and confident!
- Make sure you cover all areas; blogs, email newsletters, social media posts etc. The more areas covered, the more likelihood of success!
- Begin writing technical pieces that will help your customers- Don’t just write anything because it sounds good; write pieces that will help your intended target audience. Keep your brand voice consistent throughout.
- Don’t keyword stuff- Don’t panic, and try and throw the keyword into your content as often as possible. Don’t be that content writer.
But most of all I would say start now! I know it seems daunting, but the best thing you can do is just start somewhere. Whether that be starting to write the content yourself or investing in a good content writer and strategy.
Consistency, consistency, consistency.
My best advice is to stay consistent and don’t fall at the first hurdle. It is easy to see weeks of hard work with no progress as a failure. But it is not. Play the long game, and I promise you it pays off.
This is just my experience from being a content writer and doing SEO on my own for years. I hope it has been helpful, and as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.