In this article, we are going to cover the following Topic:
How To Improve Your Writing Skills To Increase Likes / Shares / and Retention
Table Of Contents: You’re Not…
- Giving Them What They Want
- Injecting Your Personality
- Using Proper Grammar
- Writing an Eye-Catching Headliner
- Using The Right Keywords
- Writing Engaging Content
- Providing Evergreen Content
- Searing It Into Their Mind
I don’t have to tell you how important writing unique, quality content is for traffic, personal fulfillment, and ultimately your income. Every post you write, should be treated as though you are writing for the NY Times or your version of it. In other words, consider yourself a professional and use professional tools when you can. It may take time to determine what works for you, so create a generic list to keep your mind focused. This is something you can’t function without if you are serious about this type of work. A checklist is a huge time saver, so consider it. There are many lists on the web, find a few and consolidate them into your own master list.
Mike Murray who has helped Fortune 500 companies and former Journalist wrote a nice article on how to go about writing your checklist with various examples. However, these 9 topics should provide you with a solid beginning!
1. Give Them What They Want
I started this blog because I wanted to help people skip the hours upon hours of reading endless nonsense when it came to starting a blog that makes money. I didn’t have anyone holding my hand, showing me the ropes, or mentoring me. I spent a lot of money on “gurus” and then I flipped a 180 determined to find as much free information on the web as possible. During this time, I was writing what I thought was great content, but for whom was I writing?
It took time, but it eventually began to make sense. The importance of considering your readers in your writing cannot be overlooked. Do you know who your readers are? Even if we think we do, there is always more research to do, especially since things change. As our site develops, it begins to take on a certain voice. Take the time to reread some of your earlier posts and go through your topics to determine your voice. From there you’ll need to do some research to discover the profile of your audience. Here are some tips:
1. There are some excellent tool on the web. Some of the best bloggers are using these sites to spy on their competition, find more content to write about, and develop a profile of their audience. A gentleman by the name of Tim Soulo developed a hugely successful software called Ahrefs. This started as a backlinking tool, but has many other features now, including: Content Research and Competitive Analysis. What this does is allow you to spy on your competitors to see what is working for them.
You can search content by adding in your competitors URL to see how many backlinks their hottest post has and from where these links are coming. This is helpful for many reasons, but to stay on topic you can see which posts are generating the most traffic and ranking the highest. From there you can reverse engineer their content to see where yours could be enhanced.
Another great tool is BuzzSumo. I actually feel this is the tool to use. You can check a URL just like in Ahrefs, but you can also check for keywords and topics. When you plug in a topic like “Paleo” you get a list like this:
You can see the results below for “Paleo”. The first one is a post from mywholefoodlife.com. It’s a post about Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes. It’s total shares are over 400k. Pretty awesome right? Visit the page and read the post to see what was so awesome. But also notice, most of the shares were from Pinterest and Facebook! You can also check to see who shared it and as well as the backlinks pointing to this post. This information can help you later when you promote your work of art!
So what does this have to do with finding your audience. You have a lot of information here. If you are selling Paleo cupcakes, you can use the backlink and view shares tools to learn about the type of person that shares Paleo cupcake posts. Then build a profile from there. Look the web is a scary place, but the tools are here already, so use them to your advantage. In case you are curious:
Who uses BuzzSumo: IBM, Yahoo, National Geographic, RollingStone Magazine, CapitalOne, Expedia, to name a few.
2. Inject Your Personality
As you grow your site, it will take on it’s own voice. This will be part of your Branding. Don’t be afraid to express yourself, but do it so that it adds to your content vs. taking away from the message. I mentioned Howard Stern in one of my earlier posts. He is an artist at using his voice to Brand himself. He is not loved by many, but he is undoubtedly interesting. I am not saying emulate Howard, this is just food for thought. Have some fun when you write.
3. Proper Use of Grammar and Punctuation
Ok, so I am not going to spend too much talking about this for two super outstanding reasons.
1. I believe the topic is self evident. If you are not sure about how to write something… well while you are on your computer, Google it! Takes 2 seconds. For the most part, get the basics down. “A lot” is 2 words! (Not alot).
This bothers me and for many people less patient than myself, it is a huge turnoff and ultimately kills your message. Take a moment to proofread or have another set of eyes look it over. Easier said than done, I know.
2. I myself, am not a master of the art. We are all human, and therefore prone to making mistakes.
I read an article about proper Grammar on Entrepreneur.com. Guess what, the sentence prior had grammatical errors. Writing something interesting, is far more important than writing something in perfect English. However, terrible grammar will kill your content swiftly, so make your errors something your readers can live with. Savvy?
4. Writing an Eye-Catching Headliner
This is AWESOME and SUPER SIMPLE to do! (hmm that looks like a headline already). There are headlines EVERYWHERE! Get your ideas from the best. Remember, there is nothing wrong with copying the best, in fact is done by the best. Just do it in your way. The best headlines can be found in your favorite magazines and newspapers.
When you get your morning coffee, take a minute to read the newspaper headlines. There are some eye-catching, curiosity probing, need to read-oning professional-been-in-the-business-forever type work going on there! Learn grasshopper, from the best and use it to your advantage. Quick example. Have you ever heard someone say “Top That!”. If your blog is political, a great Headline might be “Trump That!” after he won (I am not getting political nor expressing any viewpoints).
(Dude Tip: Writing Headlines with the word “Me” and “I” are 3 times less likely to be read vs the pronouns “You” and “Your”)
5. Using The Wrong Keywords
I guarantee you, right now, right this very second, whichever keywords you think are stellar-like uber super fantastic, are quite likely, horrific or mediocre. When I first started writing content, I didn’t even consider keywords. “Hey, I know how this works. Write great, unique content, and Google will find me. Boom, done! Next subject” Unfortunately, this is not even remotely the case. Aside from all the numerous things necessary just to be indexed on a Search Engine, writing great content is the literally the last thing that will get you page ranking. However, once you are being searched, excellent unique content is vital and the strongest of the 200 ranking signals. Which matters to nothing, if you are never found in the first place.
Therefore, let’s choose the appropriate keywords. You need to use either Ahrefs, BuzzSumo, or Google Keyword Planner (which requires an account and a credit card. No need to pay for anything, but you will be asked for a credit card). Since Google is free, let’s go with that one. In the keyword planner you can filter for various things, but first and foremost you need to add the keywords you think pertain to your content and research how many people are searching that term.
If 0-100 are searching on a monthly basis, you should scrap that word. However, if over 1M people are searching for this term every month, but competition for this keyword is High, you might want to scrap that word as well. So try to choose a list of keywords that are popular, with minimal competition. From there you want to plug into Google search to see which sites populate for these keywords. If nothing comes up remotely close to your content, scrap those words as well. You’ll be surprised at what you find.
All that said, if you are using software like BuzzSumo, you can find the hottest topics for your content and make life a lot easier. But, it is not cheap. So if you don’t have a little extra every month to cover the subscription, you might want to put in the extra effort. They have a trial, so maybe use that. However, the information you get from using this site is quite honestly, priceless. But, get your content structure down and your site optimized before you get carried away with paying for subscriptions. This tool is to be used when you are seeing traction with your site and you want to take it from the minor-leagues into the pros (MHO).
6. Interactive Content
This is so great, I definitely haven’t used this, but I will be implementing this strategy. Interactive Content is writing content that gets your readers engaged on another level. A perfect example of this would be a mortgage calculator for a lending site or money saving site.
You visit the site, read some information on how to save money by refinancing your home. You see a calculator titled “How Much Can You Save?”. You plug in your figures and there’s the information. Another example, might be a quiz or interactive infographic. Get creative and you will find this content will be shared more frequently.
7. Trendjacking AKA Newsjacking
I love this strategy and it is ridiculously simply to implement. Trendjacking is the art of taking trending news and spinning into content for your site. Veinteractive.com has some great examples of this. My favorites are in regards to Brad Pitt and the Dress (blue/black or white/gold). When Brad and Angelina broke up, Norwegian Airlines took an Ad that just said “Brad Is Single. Flights to Los Angeles starting at $169”. Pretty awesome right? Google Trends is a great place to see what is buzzing on the net. I use google trends, twitter #’s, and Facebook Groups to see what is trending. You can also set up Google Alerts to get popular information on a daily basis. Google Alerts is simple to set up, especially if you already have a google account. Just type in keywords for your blog. If you write Book Reviews, set up a keyword for new book releases. You’ll get an email in the morning, and this will have you laser focused for what you need to be working on that day.
8. Write Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is something that never goes out of style, it’s ever-green. Here is a quick list of Evergreen content:
- Lists: Anything that is a list. 101 sites that give away free stuff
- Top Tips: Find the best tips on a topic. Top 6 Methods Used by Athletes to Get Into Shape After the Off-Season
- How To: You know this all to well. How To Lose a Man in 10 days
- Videos: Cat Videos never get old!
- Product Reviews: One of the best methods to making money online. Buy or get a demo to review products and provide your recommendation
According to Garret Moon, founder of CoSchedule, analyzed over 1Million headlines to find posts with 10 Tips were performing the best. (I suppose I need to update this to 10 reasons…)
9. Sear It Into Their Mind!
Make your post memorable. One of the best ways to do this by preparing ahead of time for this type of content. You may have to do some research for these, but I will provide you another quick list here:
- Perform a case study: People love real life examples, with evidence. Keep a log of your experiences and use them to develop your content. How I went from 0 visitors to 1,000/ month. Here are my stats from when I started (Screen shot from Google Analytics showing 0 visitors and another showing your success).
- Be Descriptive: If you are showing people how to do something, explain it great detail from beginning to the end. Assume your audience has no basic knowledge of the subject.
- Make it incredibly unique: Something so creative and unique that people can’t help but remember it.
In conclusion, if you hit all of these points, your post will have excellent potential to be an all-time great. This is hard to do, consistenty and well. But give these ideas a chance and keep working at it until you get this down. After that, it is smooth sailing and all you’ll need to do is tweak it from time to time to make it more search engine friendly.
Now it’s your turn!
Have you tried any of these strategies? What are some examples of things you have tried, regardless of success. I’d to hear some examples good or bad.
Check Out These Other Related Articles:
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- Content Writing and Thought Leadership
- Google’s 6 Rules For Choosing The Right Domain Name
- Getting Google Ranked
- Where To Get A Free Website, Host, Domain Name, eMail, and Advice
Write-On My Dudes!
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