Having written more than 150+ blog posts, I've curated a list of top 7 content writing tips for articles and blog posts. Using these tips, I've been able to increase my blog viewership by 164% and number of visitors by 210% in April 2020 over the previous month.
7 Content Writing Tips
1. Sourced Question
Initially, I used to write blog posts on the topics that I thought added value to others' lives. But, over the course of 4 months, I realized that what I think as a blogger may not always be what my readers think. I used to often receive suggestions from my blog members on what the next post could be. But, for the larger part of my journey, I chose to ignore their suggestions. Big Mistake!
When blogging, always start with a sourced question. Start with a question that any of your blog reader or someone on the internet has already asked. It will always be better than the question you come up with because at least one individual would need an answer for it. Now, I know what you must be thinking: "But, I don't need just one view on my blog post". Don't worry, you'll soon figure out that many people were looking for an answer to that question and just because you're in the blogger's shoes, you couldn't realize.
One of the ways to verify how many people will be interested in the sourced question is to hold a poll on your social media handles like this one:
I'm not just saying this for the sake of it. I applied this tip to my previous blog and noticed the difference in three parameters: views, likes and comments. It is only after noting the difference in numbers (shown below) that I decided to incorporate this technique of content writing in all my articles and blog posts:
2. Include at least 2 Insights
If you have read Google's SEO Guide, you would know that Google values fresh and original content the most. But, coming up with fresh and original content is not an easy deal because of two reasons:
It takes time to observe, record and synthesize information out of personal experiences.
It requires research of similar blog posts that already exist on the topic you're going to write about, else how will you ensure originality?
If your objective is to help your readers, then you should focus on sharing at least 2 quality insights in your articles and blog posts. Those insights should not be available anywhere on the web. You can ensure this by including your personal experiences in your blog posts, e.g. I shared a table of comparison for the first point. Now since the data is internal, only I can make that analysis for my previous blog. This ensures originality.
3. Share Data/Facts
No matter which topic you're writing on, if you cannot back it up with data or figures, your readers are less likely to trust you. I did my Sales & Marketing Internship at Mondelez International. On one of the days of my internship, I went to my mentor and suggested an idea. I said, "I think this may solve our problem". My mentor smiled and gave me a tip that was going to help me throughout my blogging journey. He said, "Shweta, you should not suggest any idea unless you find at least 30 people who say they like it."
When you back your claims or personal opinions with data, you solidify them. It is okay if you don't have the time to conduct primary research to add facts or figures to your articles and blog posts. You can simply share external links to quality websites where the research has already been done.
Whenever you are writing any fact or a figure in your article or blog post, don't forget to mention their source. It increases the credibility of your content and also saves your readers the pain of finding relevant external links to verify those facts or figures.
4. Offer Variety of Posts
Monotony is the biggest enemy of a content writer. As a content writer, there is always a risk that you may get too comfortable with a particular style of content writing. This can lead to boredom for the readers and a loss of traffic, in turn, for the content writer.
Thus, you must offer some variety in your posts to keep your readers hooked to your blog/website. Variety can be ensured by mixing and matching the type of content that is written on your blog. For example, you may choose to include the following types of posts in your weekly plan:
It is a good strategy to create a balance among them by keeping a gap between 2 posts of the same kind. For example, if you have two interview experiences ready in your drafts, it would be a better idea to keep a gap in between them and create a filler post of some other kind. That will ensure that the boredom doesn't kick in for your readers. Here is an example on how I ask my readers what they'd like to read next to get an idea:
5. Structured Content Writing
This is one of my favourite tips that helps me structure my thoughts better and eventually produce high quality content. Most writers face this trouble of not being able to pen down even a single thought when they initially have a lot in their mind to write.
This happens because as a content writer, you spend all your time in bringing structure to your thinking when the right approach is to pen down your thoughts in a flow as and how they're coming to you and then structure them once you have everything on the paper.
I absolutely love this technique and before writing any piece of content for my articles and blog posts, I use a paper and pen to copy-paste my thoughts in text and then I structure them. This technique does wonders to the structure of your content. It also reminds me of a beautiful saying by Peter Marshall:
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.
If you keep thinking about thinking in a structured way, you're never going to finish because you can't think structurally. However, you can definitely bring a structure to your thoughts once they are on paper:
6. Flow of Writing
Every content writer has a flow of writing, it is a pattern that he/she unknowingly follows while writing the articles and blog posts. As a content writer, you may not realize it, but your readers get comfortable with it and any dissonance in the pattern may come across as irksome to them.
I realized this tactic when one of my previous blog members messaged me:
That is when I realized that I may not be taking a note of it, but my readers do. Let me give you an example to help you understand what I mean by pattern. If you scroll up and start from the beginning, you would notice that my articles and blog posts always begin with a brief introduction to the problem/question. In the same paragraph, I also set the expectations for the readers as to what is going to get covered in the post.
This gets followed by a photograph, which is often the same as the cover photo of the article or blog post. Then I insert a line. I try bifurcating my article or blog posts by using green H2 sized headings and I simply use bold for any sub-headings. My blog posts contain some ads, images for illustration, internal and external links marked in green. The post ends with a line followed by a summary of what I had covered in the post or simply how it may help the readers. In my previous blog, I also used to share some further links for reading but since this blog is fairly new, I'm not mentioning that as of now.
So, by now you must have got a sense of what a writer's flow means. This flow or pattern is unique to every writer and the readers generally get comfortable with it after reading 2-3 posts. This technique will immensely help you retain your regular readers by not causing any dissonance to their reading.
7. Review in Multiple Modes
Most of the content writers preview their content before publishing it. One of the most common mistakes is to not review it from different browsers, devices, etc. Sometimes, your content might be seeming perfect in the Desktop Mode but in Mobile, it may be causing readability issues. You must take a note of it and edit.
Let me share an example of a simple yet crucial mistake I figured through this technique. If you notice carefully, I have not used the numbered list for writing the points 1-7 for this blog post. Instead, I have simply written the numbers (without using the numbered list option).
I switched to this method when I realized how my points were looking in the Mobile Mode:
Because the points contained long sentences, a gap appeared on the left of the text due to the numbered lists in the Mobile Mode. I started using numbered lists only for shorter sentences or points and whenever I had to write longer points like the ones in this blog posts, I stuck to writing the numbers manually. So, you can only figure out such errors by reviewing your articles and blog posts on multiple modes.
Hope you found these points to be useful for content writing of your articles and blog posts. If you found at least two quality insights in this article, do let me know what they what in the comments below :)