Tag Archives: Content Writing

Writing content for a Mass Control Bait digital asset

Writing content for Mass Control Bait digital assets

Writing content for Mass Control Bait digital assets.

Digital marketers often talk about Mass Control Bait. What is it?

Although the phrase “Mass Control Bait” sounds quite ominous, it is simply an offering that you make to people so that they share their email ID with you.

Many websites entice you to download that awesome e-book or white paper but before you do that, you need to fill and submit an online form with your company details, contact information, designation, and profession.

They are gathering data from you and in return, they allow you to download something that you think may be useful for you. In return, they ask for permission to subscribe you to their email updates or send your routine marketing messages.

What are different types of Mass Control Bait digital assets?

Mass Control Bait can be anything you can offer for which people will gladly provide you their contact details.

As mentioned above, it can be an e-book or a white paper carrying useful information or industry data.

It can be a poll result that can reveal crucial market trends or user behavior traits.

It can be a webinar or a workshop recording that was previously exclusively available to paid members, but you are offering it to all those people who subscribe to your mailing list.

It can be an auto responder course. I remember a few years ago I used to offer an auto responder course in SEO content writing to all those people who subscribed to my newsletter.

How to write effective content for your Mass Control Bait digital assets?

First of all, create a digital asset people would desperately want to download.

Your piece of content must have the ability to make a real difference in people’s life otherwise, they will not download it.

In the past couple of years, I have written multiple e-books, case studies, and white papers for Mass Control Bait campaigns.

In most of the cases clients come up with their own content ideas and unless they are paying me, I do not interfere much except for doing my best writing for the topic.

Two things are very important for creating effective Mass Control Bait digital assets:

  • The topic (so that they give you their email ids).
  • The quality and relevance of the content (so that they remain your subscribers).

Some people think that they can create a very attractive and irresistible and once people have submitted their email ids, they should not bother much about the quality of the actual content. Wrong approach.

Do not consider Mass Control Bait digital assets as an actual “bait” to collect email ids. You do not want to spam people. You want to build relationships.

Offering them to download a Mass Control Bait digital asset is like giving them a gift to agreeing to keep in touch with you.

If you give them lousy content, they will make it a point to not only unsubscribe themselves as fast as possible, but also make sure that all email messages from you go to their spam folder. Much deserved.

Take your Mass Control Bait digital assets seriously. They represent your brand.

When people read your business e-book or white paper or a report, they are forming an impression of you even when they do not realize it.

For example, if I ask you to download an e-book from my website, the sort of experience that you have with the e-book will reflect on the attitude you have towards me or my content writing services.

Hence, writing content for your Mass Control Bait digital assets should be taken as seriously as you take the content writing of your main website.

Content writing advice: In the beginning it is important to associate your name with what you do or offer

Yesterday I was explaining this concept to one of my clients. He had sent me links to websites like Accenture and Bains and said that he wanted to emulate their writing style and terminology.

These websites have good content and copy. But they use lots of fluff and jargon. They can do that. They are known brands. Even if they indulge in abstract content writing, people know what these companies do.

When you are a new business, it is very important that your message is unambiguous.

For example, I can throw around big and impressing words on my website, but by the end of the day, I am providing content writing services, or copywriting services for marketing purposes. These terms are important for me. These terms are also important for clients looking to hire a content writer or a copywriter.

Once you have built a brand for yourself, once people know what you do (you do not need to tell what Google does), you can be creative with your language, but for the time being, when you are a new business, use exactly the words and expressions that convey what you do and what you deliver.

7 things about content writing your schoolteacher never taught you

7 things about content writing your schoolteacher never taught you

7 things about content writing your schoolteacher never taught you.

In the beginning itself I would like to say that content writing is not taught in schools, at least not in normal, conventional schools. What I’m writing here is about “writing” and not necessarily about content writing. But, since content writing is mostly writing, they can be interchanged without losing the meaning.

I was just out of college and my first article was just published in a local newspaper. It was a humorous piece on how I kept falling at very odd times.

My early schooling was done in a special school for children with disabilities (I have cerebral palsy) and due to the emotional and social connections that I had made over there with other students and teachers, I regularly visited my school even when I had started my business after completing my college.

When I bumped into my old English class teacher, she exclaimed, “Hey Amrit! This is not the English I taught you. Where did you learn to write like this?”

There was a look of pride in her eyes. One of her students was writing for a newspaper.

Ever since then I have come across expressions such as, people saying that the stuff they are writing, they never learnt in school.

Though, this can be applied to any field. Unless it is a professional course, the schooling never teaches you things that can actually make you money. Can you mention something that you learned in school and now it helps you make money? I guess not.

So, what is there in content writing that you never learned in school. I can think of 7 things. I explain below.

1. Avoid using difficult words when writing content

It is difficult to define difficult words. It depends on what is the state of your vocabulary.

For example, a word that is difficult for you may not be difficult for me. Maybe the word you have never used I come across it daily. That’s a different issue.

In school they always liked it when I used words that are not used in day-to-day language.

I remember whenever I used a new word that nobody else in the class knew, my teacher, knowing quite well that it was a new word I had used, would draw a smiley nearby. I felt more encouraged.

In real-world, difficult words, or the words that are not used frequently, put people off. Using difficult words can be counter-productive when you are writing commercial content.

The purpose of commercial content is to make people understand what you are writing as clearly as possible. They shouldn’t have to refer to a dictionary to understand your copy or the content you have written.

Though, I don’t completely agree, it is recommended that you should write for grade 6 kids when writing content for business websites.

2. Come to the point as fast as possible

In school you are encouraged to go on and on about a subject.

Something that you can express in one sentence, they expect you to express in 10 sentences. If you can express something in 10 sentences that you could have expressed in a single sentence, you attract praises, and your grades improve.

This is not good when you are writing content for websites and blogs. Although you are advised to publish very long blog posts and web pages, this length is regarding the content and the coverage of the topic, and not about prevaricating on the main message.

When people read web content, they are in a hurry. Yes, even if they are luxuriously lying on a couch, they are in a hurry. They may not be running around doing their chores, it’s just that there is so much content on the Internet that they want to browse through as much as possible.

Hence, by the time you come to your main point, they may already leave your web page or blog post and the entire purpose of writing that web page or blog post is wasted.

This is more important when you are writing sales copy or website content for business websites. Yes, to entice people to read further, you don’t show all your cards but as far as your message goes, come to the main point as fast as possible.

This is good for people, and this is also good for search engine crawlers.

3. Write search engine friendly content

Search engines were unheard of when I was in school. The only engines we knew of were the rail engines, and that too, steam engines.

Even if you belong to generation Z, it is highly unlikely that your schoolteacher taught you how to write essays and reports so that they rank well on Google.

As a content writer you need to write content that is search engine friendly. Your content is supposed to help your clients improve your search engine rankings and get them targeted traffic.

Writing search engine friendly content isn’t a separate form of writing. It is just that you need to be able to write in the language people use when they use search engines.

You need to be able to strategically use the keywords without overly using them or without seeming as if you are trying to “optimize”.

Most importantly, you need to write relevant content in a friendly language that is easily readable on all devices.

Every word you use, every sentence form, must make it easier for search engine crawlers to make sense of what you are saying.

4. Write short sentences and shorter paragraphs

Shorter sentences and paragraphs are not just easier to read, they are also easier to interpret by search engine algorithms.

Though, I have seen that on many blogs and web pages, people get carried away with the concept of writing shorter paragraphs, but however much possible, use simple sentences. Express one thought in one sentence, and just a couple of thoughts in a paragraph.

In school you were taught totally the opposite, although, this might not be the case with all the teachers. In school you were taught to write complicated sentences. Therefore, there is a concept of compound and complex sentences in which, multiple thoughts or multiple inferences are included in a single sentence with lots of conjunctions.

A complicated sentence may have lots of “ands”, “ors”, “buts”, and other types of conjunctions. I’m not saying avoid them altogether, but use them only when they are unavoidable.

5. Write to convince, not to impress

In school, you are supposed to impress your teacher with your writing. When you are writing content for your website or blog, you need to convince the readers into taking an action.

When people come to your website or blog, they don’t come to be impressed or to be blown away by your writing prowess. For that they would rather read the New Yorker or a novel by their favorite author.

They are reading the web page or the blog post to get informed, to get educated, and to get convinced. Yes, they are looking for you to convince them into acting.

How do you do that? There are many emotional triggers that you can use. You can use a sense of urgency. You can use the fear of missing out. You can cater to the lazy or greedy sides.

The moot point is, when you are writing professional content, you need to sell. Hence, avoid words and expressions that may confuse people or prevent them from understanding the advantages of buying that product or service.

6. When writing professional content, you need to fight for people’s attention

Isn’t it totally the opposite of your schoolteacher who may had been chasing you around to submit your assignments?

People hardly care about you on the Internet unless you are an influencer, or a celebrity, and people read you just to get associated with you. You need to fight for people’s attention.

How do you get their attention? By using attention-grabbing headlines. By making sure that every sentence they read encourages them to read the next sentence and every paragraph they read, encourages them to read the next paragraph.

You want people to open your email marketing campaign? You must come up with a compelling subject line. Most of the email messages are lost because the subject lines fail to inspire them.

Hence, when you are writing content as a professional content writer, you are not just writing, you are writing in a manner that people are drawn to your writing, and they are captivated by its style and content.

Also, as explained above, people are always in a hurry when they are reading your web page or blog post. They are either in the middle of something – watching a Nyan cat rip off – or hundreds of notifications are distracting them away from you. If despite all these distractions and stimulation if you are able to hook them to your writing, you are a talented content writer.

7. Write in a conversational style

When you are writing content, you are talking to people. When they read your web page or blog post, they must get a feeling that someone is talking to them.

In schools, this is often discouraged. Your writing must sound pedantic. It must sound “scholarly”. It must contain long-winded jargon, phrases, and expressions that are difficult to pronounce if you need to read them aloud. People don’t hold conversations in such language, and those who do, are often ridiculed.

You must be easily able to read aloud web pages and blog posts.

The best way to find out whether your content writing is easy to read is to read it aloud and see if you can read it smoothly or you need to halt repeatedly. If you need to halt repeatedly, rewrite it.

Over the years, I have learned to adapt my writing according to different industry needs. I can write conversational, market-side language, and I can also write pedantic language.

As I have often written on my blog, more than a content writer, I am a writer, and most of my clients appreciate this.

It doesn’t mean I always do my own thing and don’t care about the concerns that my clients have. Their websites need to convert. They need to improve their search engine rankings. I deliver on both the fronts.

Other than that, whether it is web content or scholarly content, I think as a writer, you should write in your own style. Yes, cater to the conventions as per required by the institution for which you are writing (web or otherwise), but ultimately, once you have mastered the art, stick to doing your own thing.

How to give your best when writing content?

How to give your best when writing content

How to give your best when writing content.

I don’t get to visit Seth Godin’s blog regularly, but whenever I do, I feel thankful. He always shares great wisdom.

In his latest blog post he has shared the importance of giving your best effort when creating something, whether you are creating a business, delivering a service, or just doing something for yourself or someone else.

In my book that I have just published on Kindle – This is how I built my content writing business – I have given an example of how they make tea in the Japanese and the Chinese cultures.

Brewing tea is a spiritual activity. Everything from boiling the water, putting the leaves and other ingredients, letting the concoction brew, and afterwards, to pouring the prepared tea from the teapot into the cups, is revered and appreciated. It’s beautiful to watch the entire thing.

Don’t just do something “sufficiently”.

It is so easy to deliver something functional.

I will confess. Even I do that with some projects because a client is paying a lot less, or he or she is doing something to annoy me. My connection with the content writing process gets disembodied.

It’s not that I don’t like writing content – I enjoy it – but this is my way to disconnect myself with a client who doesn’t appreciate my services. Do I endorse it? No.

If you don’t give your best to your content writing, it shows through.

Writing is a communication, just like any other performing art. Teachers of performing arts like singing and dancing often tell their students that if they don’t enjoy the performance, neither does the audience.

They can make out the lack of enthusiasm or the presence of it.

When you are writing, if there is a disconnect, it shows through. Maybe you are writing the perfect words, the perfect sentences, and erudite phrases, but if there is no connection, if there is no strong desire to give your best, it shows through. The readers can feel it.

How do you give your best when writing content?

Don’t let the others define your capabilities. Just because someone is paying you less or doesn’t appreciate your ability to write high quality content, it doesn’t mean you yourself start thinking about your abilities on the same terms.

Your brain actually works on the philosophy of “your wish is my command”.

Your brain delivers what you ask of it. If you tell your brain that you love what you’re doing, you actually do it as if you love it.

Seth’s advice is mostly business-related but it is also applicable to the art of content writing. Pay attention to finer details. Pay attention to the individual words, the individual sentences and the individual phrases that you are using.

You are not just writing because you are being paid. You are writing because hundreds of people may read what you have written and get affected by it.

Otherwise, my suggestion is that you don’t take up the assignment. Of course, if you are financially or otherwise hard pressed against the wall then the circumstances of exceptional, but if you can afford it, only take on assignments you can make an emotional impact on.

How to get quality content written on a tight budget?

How to get quality content written on a tight budget

How to get quality content written on a tight budget.

Many clients approach me with a tight budget. Even yesterday someone called me who wanted content for a single page website. When I told him how much I would charge, he was taken aback. To be frank, even I was taken aback at the way he was taken aback. After all, I needed to charge for the time I was going to spend writing his content. I hadn’t even quoted a very high rate.

When people think of getting content written for their websites, they think in terms of long-term writing requirements. Something like, “If I’m paying this much for one web page, over a period how much am I going to have to pay for 25 pages?”

This is a valid question. Everyone needs to plan. One must know what is the cost of writing content for the complete website and then plan accordingly.

The written content on your website is one of your biggest assets, or in fact, THE biggest asset. Does your website have a meaning without the text? Are you going to have empty boxes? Or are you going to fill those boxes with content full of spelling and grammar mistakes or uninspiring sentences and paragraphs? Don’t you want to motivate your visitors into becoming your customers and clients? It is the written text that is going to achieve that for you.

Although I believe in most of the cases clients talk about having a budget constraint simply because they don’t want to pay enough to a content writer (the only service they want to save the maximum on), some cases a genuine. How do you get quality content written for your website if you don’t have enough budget? You can do the following…

Get content written for a selected few pages

Some pages are important, for example your homepage, the services page and the about us page. These pages are business getters. Although other pages matter too, these are the pages that must look professionally written. If you don’t have enough money to pay for content for all the pages, just get your content written for a selected few pages.

Get the content written incrementally

There is no need to get the entire thing done in one go. You can get your content written incrementally. In the beginning, get the barebones content. Have enough content that your visitors get the needed information, and you can launch the website. It is far better than launching a website with inferior or unprofessional content. Then, next month, you can pay some more money to your content writer to expand upon the existing content.

Repurpose existing content

If you already have some content on your blog or website, perhaps you can consider repurposing it.  For example, if I wanted to repurpose some content from this blog post, I could write a quick blog post on “How to write quality content incrementally”. This way your content writer won’t have to spend lots of time searching for new ideas and he or she can simply build upon your existing content, costing you less in the process.

Write the content yourself and then get it revised by a professional content writer

This may seem daunting, but if you really want to save some money, prepare the draft yourself. A content writer spends a lot of time preparing the first draft because most of the clients don’t give enough information pertaining to their businesses. Since you yourself will be writing the content, you will be sharing the information first-hand. Then, afterwards, your content writer can make it look professional.

Go for shorter blog posts

Thin content – blog posts and web pages less than 400 words – is often discouraged by Google, but there is no hard and fast rule. My philosophy in this regard is, having some content is better than having no content. There is no need to publish blog posts that are more than 1000 words. Just publish something around 300-400 words. The idea is to convey to Google that you are constantly updating your blog and the Google crawler should crawl and index the updated content from your website. I myself publish small blog posts when I don’t have enough time to work on comprehensive content pieces.

This may not help you improve your SEO compared to other businesses that are publishing bigger blog posts, at least the Google crawler will start crawling your website with greater frequency and once you can afford to publish bigger blog posts, they will be crawled and indexed faster.

There are many websites with less content. Although most of the business owners want as much content as possible to improve their search engine rankings and cover all the necessary keywords, your customers and clients don’t know that. So, even if you have less content, they may think that it is just your approach or design need. But make sure that whatever content you have, it is professionally written, looks well, and communicates to your visitors convincingly. That’s what that matters the most.