How to Write Content Your Customers Want to Read

by Don Campbell July 29th, 2011 

line in front of bookstore

Generating fresh content in blog posts and articles is a key component of successful online marketing. Most business owners and marketers understand this reality. Yet, the hurdle for many is consistently writing content that actually gets read. Yes, it isn't always easy to figure out what customers want to read. But, there are some proven ways that can encourage their readership.

For starters, online content must be both interesting and engaging – much more than simply reiterating the selling points of your product or service. Let's face it, blogs and articles that are loaded with traditional marketing copy are boring!

Instead, successful content that actually gets read, builds an online community, and leads to measurable ROI requires a blend of information, promotion, and style delivered in a strategic fashion. Here are the basics of what you should be incorporating into your writing.

Expertise

professor explaining things

When you consider that people go to blogs or read online articles because they are looking for useful information, offering unique or new content about your industry, products, or services can offer great value to your readers. Examples can include explanations of a new law or industry change that affects your customers or a rundown of trade shows within your industry. The Internet is very much a reference tool.

So, by using your knowledge to write content that provides relevant information, you'll gain readership from those who look to you as an expert.

Insight

workers in decorated office

Readers also want to gain inside information about your business that spans beyond what they can find on your website. This is where a blog can come in particularly handy.

Share milestones and achievements, post images of your team, offer your opinions, and even consider opening the forum up occasionally to customers who can serve as guest bloggers.

The key is to provide an insiders' glimpse of your company that keeps readers coming back for more.

Reassurance

Sign: this glass floor is 38mm thick - it is as strong as the concrete floors you are standing on

By posting honest, consistent, heart-felt articles, you can instil both trust and respect that ultimately converts readers into customers.

Encourage comments and generate interaction to promote engagement. Through these efforts, you'll build a positive image that delivers reassurance to those thinking about buying from you.

Promotion

flower bulbs stand at an open market

Of course, you should be promoting your product, service, or business in your content, but this is not the place for self-promoting statements. Instead of using traditional selling language, a more effective approach is to infuse promotional information within copy to demonstrate your leadership.

For example, if you sell running shoes, writing about new techniques being used in training for marathons with an explanation of why your shoes are particularly popular with marathoners can be far more effective than simply telling readers to buy your shoes.

Most blog experts recommend that at least 80% of your content should be informational to 20% promotional.

Humour

two friends laughing

There is a tremendous amount of dry, boring content on the Internet. In fact, the vast majority of it has little or no humour at all.

Readers crave content that makes them chuckle or at least smile.

No, you don't have to write one liners on your blog. But, weaving an interesting or funny personal story into the information that you're trying to deliver can sometimes work wonders in encouraging readers to share your content.

Consistency

clockwork

There is a certain amount of responsibility that goes hand-in-hand with generating content and building a community. A blog that is out of date doesn't send a good message to your readers and can negatively impact the positive image of your business. Ideally, it's a smart idea to post content at least once a week to keep content fresh and encourage readers to check back often.

But, the main goal is keep the flow of content somewhat consistent. To do this, keep an editorial calendar or list of planned topics, and build time into your schedule to get the content written.

Quality

rolls royce car & emblem

Because content is a touch point with customers, there simply is no excuse for poorly written text with typos, errors, or inaccuracies.

Blog content and articles are company literature and deserve a watchful eye to check for spelling and grammar errors before they get published for the world to see. When well-written, this content can be a significant driver of business while providing insightful, entertaining information to readers.

By setting high quality standards for your content, you can maximize your ability to make the most of these marketing tools.

So

Stay away from sales speak. Inform, share your knowledge, and weave a genuinely interesting story line throughout your content.

In one word? Engage.

Don Campbell

Don is President of Expand2Web, where he writes about WordPress for business and local search marketing. He also created GetFiveStars - a tool for business owners to encourage feedback and positive reviews from their customers.

Expand2Web Blog

You May Also Like

4 Responses to “How to Write Content Your Customers Want to Read”

  1. Hi Don,

    Your article hits the nail on the head! The parts about insights and humor are especially true. Blog readers desire content that is appealing to them and does not leave one with the feeling that they are reading a school textbook or technical manual. The content you provided serves as good reminders for anyone who blogs and wishes to attract readers. I must admit it is a challenge for me to get regular content posted but I try to make it at least once a week. Also, generating content that is fresh and does not appear to be regenerated is vital!

    Thank you for sharing this exceptional post with us!

    Erik,

  2. Kristin says:

    Regarding the 5th point, while humor is good, it musn't be offensive at the expense of competitors. Just advocate and share good, funny stories!

    • Don Campbell says:

      Absolutely agree Kristin – humor is one of those things where you need to be clean and above board. I don't like disrespecting competitors ever. It's just not classy.

  3. Don Campbell says:

    Thanks Erik!
    It's a challenge for me to create content consistently too. And as you mentioned, it has to be good or why do it. I've been getting myself into a routine for producing content, and getting some help from talented writers as well.
    Good luck to you!