Content writing is an important component of your digital marketing portfolio. High-quality content helps to improve your search engine optimization (SEO), increasing your online presence and making it easier to connect with your target audience.
For content marketing to be most effective, it has to be impactful and well done. Here are some general rules for content writing you can use to improve your work and reach your marketing goals.
What is Website Content?
Content refers to anything published on your website. Some types of website content include voice, written, and visual content.
Blogs are the most common form of content. Blogs can be informative, long-form pieces of original content that improve the SEO of your site. A piece of content typically uses long-tail keywords and various search terms to increase its chances of ranking on search engines.
However, it's not easy for a content writer to create engaging posts regularly. Some people hire content writing services to maintain a constant stream of blog posts and articles.
The 9 Rules of Content Writing
Whether using a service or creating content yourself, there are certain rules to always follow when writing content. Below are a few content writing tips and rules to ensure your website content is as engaging as possible.
1. Bring Value to Your Audience
Above all else, create relevant content for your audience. Give your readers something that they can use, actionable advice, and
2. Do: Polish Your Pieces
People have different writing habits. You might be the kind of person who sits and writes a blog post as soon as it comes to mind, taking a stream of consciousness approach. Or you could be the kind of creator who thinks of ideas and breaks them down, outlining each section of the post before writing it.
Whatever your approach is, always have someone else proofread your work for clarity before publishing. Something that sounds understandable to you might be difficult to understand for people who aren’t in your industry. Having someone proofread your work helps you identify where to simplify and how to make the piece flow. It also helps you spot potential typos, which are easy to miss during the writing process.
3. Create Fresh Content
Offer up a good variety of content. You can revisit topics more than once and even refresh older pieces, but don’t keep publishing blogs about the same subject unless you have fresh takes. If you’ve been publishing your blog for a while, look at your analytics to generate ideas for new subjects.
When you identify topics that were more popular than others, see if you can spot any trends. There might be similarities within your most viewed blog posts that drive people to your website. For example, IKEA’s blog offers regular case studies from satisfied customers, which inspires others to decorate their own spaces.
You might notice that timely pieces get more clicks than evergreen posts, but this traffic surge is usually only temporary. In general, evergreen content, which is relevant for a long time, will drive more consistent traffic to your site.
4. Use Target Keywords
One of the main reasons you’re publishing content is to improve your SEO and move your website to the top of search engine rankings. Adding relevant keywords selectively throughout your pieces is one of the main rules for content writing.
Don’t add your keyword too many times or your site could be moved lower into the search rankings because of keyword stuffing.
If you’re not sure what long-tailed keywords to use in your content, get an SEO auditing tool or a keyword generator, like Answer the Public. These tools will help you come up with new topics to inform and engage your audience while improving your SEO.
5. Be an Expert for Your Topic
You can veer out of your lane a little to keep your blog fresh, but make sure each topic is still relevant to your industry as a whole. You are using your blog and video content to improve your credibility and enhance your brand.
If you’re a real estate agent specializing in commercial real estate, you wouldn’t want to post residential content to boost your SEO. You could, however, post blogs about some of the popular new retail tenants in your area or how to choose the best commercial office location for your business.
Allstate Insurance sells multiple types of policies and coverage levels. Allstate’s blog features articles for potential customers across its practice area. Plus, the blog includes a handy navigation tool so customers can filter the types of content they'll see based on their interests.
6. Don’t Plagiarize
Aside from potential copyright infringements and legal trouble, plagiarism is not ethical. You can reference other people’s content as yours. If you do, make sure you attribute it, add a link to the original site, and put any word-for-word references in quotation marks.
You’ll probably post content that is similar to other businesses in your field, which is fine. But don’t try to pass off someone else’s content as your own. Think of new and fresh perspectives on different topics.
7. Make Sure Your Content is Easily Readable
People like reading pieces that are easy to digest. When you work in a highly technical industry with a lot of jargon, you might understand what you’re writing, but your readers may not. Use online readability tools to examine how difficult your content may be. Your target customer will appreciate content that's easy to read and understand.
Use simple sentences and keep your content easier to read. You can’t use any image that pops up in a Google Images search. You can, however, filter results by permissions, or use a free platform like Pexels or Unsplash where you can add free images to your posts.
8. Use Content Writing Services
If you’re not the strongest writer, or you just don’t have time to keep up with your blog, hire a content specialist to do the work for you. There are content writing platforms that create content at scale for your website. Instruct professional writers to use your target keywords to increase the SEO of your content.
Set up SEO content writing guidelines for your preferred tone and work out whether you’ll be providing topics or if the writer can generate ideas of their own.
9. Help Your Readers
Content is a great way to engage your customers and strengthen your relationships. Address their common pain points and problems in your blog posts.
Product demonstrations are some of the most popular video topics; they let customers learn about complex products at their own pace. Show your clients that you care by posting blog posts that show them how to use your product or service to solve their own needs.
Getting Started with These Golden Rules of Content Writing
Understanding the importance of content along with having some website content ideas is a great launching point for your blog. If you’ve been writing a blog for a while, audit your analytics. Review your past posts and see which are driving the most traffic. Look for patterns or trends in these features and brainstorm similar ideas to keep the traffic flowing.
Refresh or repurpose older content that didn’t perform as well. Come up with a new perspective to freshen up the piece. Give it another read to see if you can make it more dynamic and interesting.
If you’re not already writing content, use an SEO audit tool to see where your website is short on keywords. Use those results to come up with topic ideas. Explore your competitors’ blogs to get a sense of industry trends as well.
Look through your social media posts and see what kind of content receives the most likes or drives the most engagement. Are there certain topics that spur intense discussion? Do a deeper dive, then post about it on your social media feed.
Content can be tricky at first. But once you’ve mastered the rules for content writing, you can create pieces that strengthen your brand and connect you with new customers.