When it comes to small business owners and their marketing needs, the most important thing to know is that content writing is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The type of writing that works for one company might not work for another, and the tone you use will depend on your brand’s personality. However, there are some general rules that apply to all businesses when it comes to creating effective content, so let’s take a look:
Figure out which tone is best for your brand.
Tone refers to the personality of a piece of content, or how it sounds and feels when you read it. An easy way to think about this is in terms of humor: A blogger who writes posts that are consistently funny will come across as having a lighthearted tone, whereas someone who tends toward sarcasm will have an edgier one. Tone can also be used to differentiate your business from others in your industry—a brand with an irreverent and wry approach might stand out from competitors who take themselves too seriously (or not seriously enough).
When choosing content words, keep in mind what kind of message they send and how they fit into your company’s overall voice. For example, if you want to convey friendliness but still sound professional, avoid slang terms like “dude” or “y’all,” which may not come across as friendly depending on context; instead try using more formal-sounding nouns such as “customer” instead of “client” or verb forms like “ask” rather than “inquire.”
Be consistent with your voice and your topic.
Consistency is key to a strong brand and an effective content strategy. You want to convey a consistent message, tone and voice in all of your content, whether it’s on social media or in an email newsletter. If you aren’t consistent, you will damage your credibility and perhaps even lose a potential customer.
Make sure that everything you put out into the world reflects your brand identity. If you’re trying to build trust or credibility with customers, this includes not only what you say but also how it’s said.
Consistency lets your audience know what to anticipate from you. Your brand identity is important, and if it’s positive, people will want to talk about you and connect with you. You’ll build a stronger relationship that leads to more business, as well.
Be clear about your target audience.
When creating content, it’s important that your small business is clear about who your audience is and what they need from you.
Know who the target audience is. In order for a piece of content to be effective, it needs to hit the right people at the right time with the right message. This means knowing who those people are and how they want information delivered.
Know what they want. If you’re not sure what sort of information your target audience finds useful, ask them! Ask friends, family members, coworkers—anyone who could potentially fit into that category. You’ll quickly get a sense of their preferences and expectations when it comes to the type of content they’d like to see coming from your business.
Know how they want it delivered—and when! Think about the mediums through which potential customers usually access information: are they more likely to read articles online or peruse websites on desktop computers vs mobile phones? When do these users tend to seek out this type of material most often (during lunch breaks? After work)?
Know what to write about and what not to write about.
Your content should be tailored to your audience and your brand. For example, if you’re a law firm, your audience will be people who are interested in legal matters. Your brand is serious and trustworthy. You probably don’t need funny memes or trends on Instagram because they don’t align with the image you want to create for yourself as a lawyer or law firm—that’s just not who you are.
To write good content, it’s important that you know what people are reading and what they like (or don’t). To do this, look at what the competition is doing—what kind of content does each platform have? What do people talk about?
Make sure your content is authentic and helpful.
You need to be truthful and honest. Don’t just write content that you think will get more traffic or make more money for you. If you do, your readers will see through it in an instant and leave your site quickly. Even if they don’t, they probably won’t come back to read another article from you because they’ll assume that the rest of your content is no better than what they just read.
Your content needs to help people learn something new or solve a problem for them in some way—that’s the whole point behind writing articles in the first place! Your audience might not know much about the topic at hand and may have lots of questions about it; therefore, your job as an author is to answer these questions as best as possible and provide useful information so that someone who reads your article will feel like he/she has gained knowledge from reading it (even if this is only a small amount).
Avoid writing for SEO alone.
SEO is important, but it’s not the only thing. SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of improving your website’s visibility in search engines such as Google and Bing. It’s important to remember that SEO alone won’t get you more traffic or sales. You still need to make sure your content is engaging, helpful and provides some value for potential customers if you want people to actually click through to your site.
Writing good content is one of the most important skills for a small business owner. It’s the way you connect with your audience and tell them all about your products, services and brand without sounding like an ad. The key is finding a tone that works well for your brand—and sticking to it!