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How to be courageous when writing content for your business

How to be courageous when writing for your business

How to be courageous when writing for your business.

When you are writing for your business (or when your content writer is writing), you want to play safe for obvious reasons. As it is you want to attract clients. If you piss off even those clients who are interested in doing business with you, this is not a good content writing and content marketing strategy.

In his latest update, Brian Clark asks, Are you a courageous content creator?

By being courageous what he means is having the courage to go against the tide. It means doing your own thing whether people agree with you or not. It means not giving in to pressure and sticking to your ground provided you are sure of what you’re doing.

How do you apply this attitude when writing content for your business? How do you become “courageous”?

When you are writing for your business, don’t always try to please your customers and clients. The purpose of writing for your blog or your website is to inform and engage. Give them the right information even if it means, at least at that moment, they decide not to do business with you.

For example, there are some clients who don’t need my content writing services.

A few months ago, a client sent me a “rough draft” to improve. The draft was so well written that I thought it would be a travesty if I meddled with it. I told the client that she shouldn’t get the draft written by me as she herself had written it so beautifully. She just needed to make a few changes here and there and it was perfect to be published.

Initially the client disagreed simply because she thought that she is not a trained content writer and she mostly deals with software. A good thing was, she trusted me as a writer and when I told her that her initial draft was quite well-written, she acquiesced and decided to publish it on her website. I lost an assignment and as a result, some money, but I had the satisfaction that I had been honest with the client.

Coming back to the original topic, how to be courageous when you are writing for your business? Since I don’t mean to write a lengthy post, here are a few things you can keep in mind:

  1. Believe in your abilities to deliver and write with that mentality – it will show through your writing.
  2. Don’t avoid disagreeing with popular belief. For example, I don’t believe that you necessarily have to publish very lengthy blog posts for better search engine rankings. Just focus on quality and regularity and your organic search engine rankings begin to improve.
  3. Always come up with something new, not just for the heck of it, but because you have some good ideas to share.
  4. Be yourself.

Some good thoughts to ponder when you are writing content for your business website or business blog.

Why quality content writing matters and how to maintain quality

Importance of quality content for your business blog

Do you think quality content writing matters? As a business vying to promote yourself through the power of content marketing, how seriously do you take the quality of content that you publish on your blog or website?

As a professional content writer I am routinely approached by clients looking for highly cheap content. This is also because they think that if they suddenly publish lots of content covering every possible keyword their search engine rankings will improve, but at the same time, they either don’t have the needed budget or they don’t have the inclination to spend enough money on getting the content written (because they aren’t sure whether it is going to work or not). Since they don’t want to spend much money on the content (due to whatever reason) they are often fine with publishing inferior-quality content, thinking that once people are drawn to their website, somehow they will end up doing business with them (the same sort of people are fine with spamming people with emails). Unfortunately (unfortunately for them, fortunately for people who take content writing seriously and would like to maintain a reasonable level of quality) this rarely works and even if lots of people end up on their websites, very few actually do business with them.

Regular interactions on social media and social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may give you an impression that people aren’t much worked up about what sort of grammar you use while expressing yourself. In fact, people who care about grammar in casual conversations are often termed as “Grammar Nazis”. Then why does quality content writing matter especially when it comes to promoting your business and generating leads and sales?

In the business world, quality means seriousness. If you are putting effort in producing quality content writing, it shows that you are serious about your business, and you also respect your customers and clients. If you don’t respect them, you don’t care about the sort of language they are exposed to. If you are not serious about getting business from them, you’re not going to spend much effort and money on getting quality content for your website and blog. You are fine with publishing mediocre content because you anyway have no confidence in your business. This is the message that you send when you neglect quality content writing.

So it has got nothing to do with how well you can write and what an impression you can make on your customers and clients. It is about conveying a message that you take your business very seriously, you take your customers and clients very seriously, and this is why, whatever it is they come across on your website, it is of high quality. When you respect your website visitors (or email recipients) it means you respect your own business and when you respect your own business, you take utmost care that whatever is present on your website is of good quality.

How to maintain the quality of content writing on your blog, website and emails

You can take care of the following in case you want to publish quality content:

  • Hire a professional content writer if you are not comfortable with the language you need to write in.
  • Avoid excessive use of jargon.
  • Always keep the central purpose of your writing in your mind if you are writing yourself and instruct your content writer to do the same in case he or she is writing content for you.
  • Although you don’t need to be a “grammar Nazi” be mindful of your grammar and don’t commit mistakes that reek of carelessness and ill-education.
  • Try to write in the language of the persona you are targeting.
  • Do proper research when writing.
  • Use a conversational style.
  • Continuously solve problems of your prospective and current customers and clients when writing content for your website or blog.
  • Use proper formatting such as headlines and bulleted points to organise main points of your content to make browsing and scanning easier for your readers.
  • Use interlinking (hyper linking to other important pages and blog posts on your website) to avoid content duplication if you need to explain a single point from within multiple pages and blog posts.
  • Try to deal with just one topic on one web page or blog post.
  • Use smaller paragraphs whenever possible and express just one idea.
  • Use images that help your readers understand your content better.
  • Thoroughly proof read before publishing.

25 reasons your business needs content marketing

Business needs content

Content marketing is one of the biggest advantages the Internet has brought to small and medium-sized businesses, but it also has a drawback – very few people understand it, and it takes time, effort and strategy to actually experience its true power. Another problem with content marketing is that it is mostly related to writing and there are very few who take writing seriously.

On the other hand, people take SEO very seriously because they think getting higher search engine rankings is a big deal. Sure, it is a big deal, but getting higher rankings doesn’t guarantee success in terms of increasing your sales or getting more leads.

I often say that the need to implement a well-defined content marketing strategy is same as actually recognising the impact of global warming and taking corrective measures. Very few individuals in this world take global warming as seriously as it should be because they think it is some distant problem. Since content marketing takes time to show some real results and a great amount of consistency, one, people are unable to understand it and two, even those who can understand it, find it quite overwhelming, despite the fact that there isn’t more effective way of marketing your business than content marketing.

Why your business needs content marketing

Here are 25 reasons:

  1. It is cheaper compared to traditional advertising and marketing (sometimes even free if you don’t count time as money)
  2. It is much more effective than traditional advertising and marketing
  3. It helps you consolidate your online presence
  4. It makes your brand relatable and recognisable
  5. It encourages people to do business with you rather than convincing them to do business with you
  6. It organically improves your search engine rankings
  7. It gets you more qualified traffic from social networking websites
  8. It helps you engage your prospective customers and clients meaningfully
  9. You get repeat traffic to your website
  10. Your online presence becomes more authoritative if you continuously write about a particular subject and people can use your writing to improve their life or their business
  11. Content marketing is self-sustaining – a web page or blog post that crosses a particular threshold level brings you business for months and even years without you having to spend any money
  12. As your content marketing succeeds, its cost moves towards zero
  13. It increases your sales as, the more people read your content the more they are eager to do business with you
  14. Content marketing generates more leads for you
  15. As more and more people link to your content you generate multiple traffic sources and consequently, you have to depend less on search engine whims
  16. With content marketing, as a small business you can compete with big business by making your content more approachable and personal
  17. It helps you build long-term relationships with your existing and future customers and clients
  18. It helps you create a helpful resource on your website or blog continuously drawing people to your business
  19. Content marketing gives you an edge because most of your competitors don’t have the needed patience to succeed at it
  20. It encourages your customers to reach out to you and share your content on their own social networking timelines
  21. When you encourage your employees to create content for your business website it improves their confidence and makes them more productive
  22. As an independent consultant or service provider, as your authority increases due to content marketing, you can charge more for your services
  23. As your audience feels more educated, they will be more inclined towards doing business with you rather than another website that doesn’t publish helpful content
  24. Every piece of content you create and distribute is an invaluable business asset
  25. Sustained content marketing builds you a broadcasting channel with your own dedicated audience through which you can carry out PR campaigns and product promotion campaigns without having to depend on third-party broadcasting channels

For medium-sized and big businesses, I personally believe that the 25th point is the most important. Content marketing helps you build a broadcasting channel which very few businesses have.

Often the problem is not with outsourcing

I was just going through a rant in an email newsletter about why businesses, especially small businesses, shouldn’t outsource and why it makes sense hiring people in-house.

On the surface there is nothing wrong in the argument because how you get your work done depends on your personal choice whether you want to hire someone full-time, part-time or outsource.

The problem is, when people have bad experience outsourcing their work, they start talking about how outsourcing sucks and why people shouldn’t indulge in it. They rarely try to observe the situation from the opposite angle, that is the person who is outsourcing the work rather than the one to whom the work is being outsourced.

There are innumerable, hard-working, sincere and efficient people on the Internet. Here I’m not going to talk about myself, but almost 3 years ago my client Steve decided to hire a programmer from the Philippines using an outsourcing company and we have had a great experience. He does such a great job that recently when Steve was contemplating terminating the contract (because he felt the job for which the programmer was hired is almost done) I convinced him into not letting the programmer go just because it is so difficult to get such people. You may say I’m contradicting myself (that it is very difficult to get good people to whom you can outsource your work and hence, they are an exception rather than a norm) but I will just come to another point.

The problem is people are either too lazy to look for good talent, or they are simply cheap. I have been writing content for the past 12 years and 70% of the queries seek “world-class content” at “cheap rates”. They actually expect me to create 1000-word “high-quality” blog posts for as little as $5. By offering $5, how much time do you expect me to spend on your blog post?

More than that, how much value do you attach to building your own business assets?

As a content writer living in a Third World country, I (I as any other person) may have my own compulsions for accepting such low-paying assignments and eventually screwing up everything because it is not humanly possible to create enough content to make a decent living with such a rate, what is your excuse? If you cannot afford to spend $35-50 on a decent blog post, why in the first place you are in this business? Either create your own content or hire someone who charges decently, and does good work. If you think that your blog post is worth just $5, if you think that your content writer can be so cheap, then feel fine about getting a cheap deal. Don’t crib.

Do you design your website around your content?

As a web designer do you design your websites around the content your client is going to use to communicate his or her message and make useful information available to its visitors, or do you first create the design and then want the content to fit into that?

If you’re doing the latter, you are not alone, and you’re also denying your client the ability to provide enough information to his or her customers and clients.

No matter what is the business, ultimately it is the content that generates leads and sales. People need to know what you stand for. They need to know what your product or service can deliver. They want to be able to trust you and they can only trust you if they can find the right information on your website.

Sure, when they come to your website for the first time they may get impressed by the design and layout but eventually they will look for the information they need. By merely focusing on the layout you are not going to be able to sell.

So whenever you are designing a website, take into consideration how your layout is going to accommodate the written content, whether it is on the homepage or other pages.

I myself have gone through such experiences. There are many clients – especially those who have purchased a ready-made template – who want me to fit content into the template no matter if on one page they can just have a single paragraph. No harm in having single-paragraph pages by the way, but what if you need to say more? We are not talking about Twitter where you always have to use 140 characters. Sometimes people need to know more. For that you need to publish multiple paragraphs.

This is why, no matter how attractive your design is, unless it is able to scale according to the content you want to publish, it is of no use. Whether you are a web designer or you are purchasing an off-the-shelf template, make sure that the layout accommodates content sections that can expand vertically to accommodate as much content as possible. Don’t use a design that does not accommodate your content well.