Technical writing

Have you often wondered why certain stories appear similar? It is because they are created from one of the seven story archetypes.

In his book ‘The 7 Basic Plots’, Christopher Booker describes the common plots associated with storytelling and how authors have used them to hold their readers spellbound throughout history.

In marketing, advertisers and content writers use the same concept to connect the audiences to their product. Storytelling is common in content marketing. This is not surprising, because humans are naturally drawn to stories.

Our brains have been hard-wired by evolution to respond automatically to stories in a process known as neuro coupling. We crave them; this is why we are 22 times more likely to recall the details of a story than a factual statement.

Are you using Storytelling to Sell?

Stories are how we connect with our peers and learn things as we go on. We all know this, but generally don’t leverage this opportunity to market our business.

Is your brand expressed in a way that is focused and easy to understand? Do you use a specific theme with symbols and metaphors? Or do you just remember to plug in a story when writing a blog post?

It may not be your fault. Most of the resources available online are about the ‘why’ of storytelling, and not the ‘how’. If we focused more on the execution, it would be easier to produce more useful content for our business.

Where to Start

Before we begin, it is important to know what brand storytelling really is. Contrary to popular opinion, it is more than just a blog or a social media post. The business of brand storytelling combines many important aspects:

  • What is your business about?
  • What does your business hope to achieve?
  • How do you solve problems?
  • How does your product /service add value and care?
  • What message do you use to engage and contribute?

These are important questions to consider when creating content for your audience.

Where to start? Do what creative writers and authors have been doing for years – start by understanding the basis of your story

Note that your business is the story. It has characters (a hero, a mentor and a villain). All these characters exist in a given landscape (the setting).

The hero of your story is the client and they have a goal they want to achieve. There are obstacles (pain-points) that stand in the way of their success. Your brand is the mentor that is there to guide the client safely towards their goal.

Both the hero and mentor have ‘super powers’ or special abilities that make it possible to collaborate and succeed. All this is represented in a plot – a specific framework that determines how the story is told.

Start with your mission and vision – the ‘Big Why’- and the reason for starting your business. The plot/theme of your business is the foundation for your branding story. It is what guides you in choosing certain archetypes, metaphors, languages and symbols for your communications.

The 7 Story Archetypes and Content Marketing

Now that you know the basic concept of brand storytelling, you can decide which plot you want your story to adopt. Everything you do to sell your business must be consistent with the same story, no matter how small it is.

This is not just about your logo, branding and tagline. It also includes your blog posts, social media content and email marketing campaigns. When blended together, they should all feel like a strong narrative, with a common goal.

  1. Conquering the Monster

Everybody has a ‘monster’ in their life, something they always want to overcome. In tales of yesteryear, it was a literal monster; Hercules battled the Cerberus, the three-headed dog, while David conquered Goliath. Today, our ‘monsters’ are not so literal.

People may set goals to gain a promotion or lose weight. To defeat this obstacle or overcome fear, the protagonist needs more strength and courage than they already possess. A typical example is the Dove campaign, Choose Beautiful.

In the B2B industry, there are many stories about the struggle against a more established brand that is bigger and more formidable. Your brand can factor into this plot by helping the SMB discover their niche and overcome that company without necessarily entering into a head-to-head competition.

  1. The Quest

This is another popular story. In this plot, the protagonist usually seeks something i.e. Odysseus or Frodo in Lord of the Rings.

In your business, these are opportunities to tell stories that solve problems for your clients- ones in which they can achieve success and emerge victorious. There may be a journey involved, but it is chosen by the protagonist (unlike the voyage and return plot).

One company that captured this style perfectly is American Express. They sponsored a project where journalists were assigned to Buchi Kombucha, a brewing company specialising in the making of Kombucha (a special kind of liquor). For three months, the journalists captured seven chapters of interesting content in three short video documentaries.

The content showcases the effort both co-founders exerted to achieve their dream, with Amex as the supporting mentor that made it possible.

  1. The Voyage and Return

In this story, the protagonist is often thrown into a voyage/journey, not of their own accord. There is a journey, but one that consists mostly of wandering like the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland.

If your business falls into this category, try promoting it as a transformational process through trying encounters. Upon your return, it is time to share the lessons learned with your audience. Clients who are currently going through the same situation will instantly identify with you.

Say your ideal customer travels a lot. Your products can provide some sort of succour along the way. For example, think about convenient luggage design, convenient travel agency or a tour guide service. Procter and Gamble showed the progress of Olympics champions in its ‘Thank You Mom’ ad. The journey to success was not easy, but they prevailed in the end.

  1. Rags to Riches

‘Rags to riches’ is a plot we all know well; a typical Aladdin story – or Cinderella if you prefer. The hero starts as a simple, timid version of themselves, but goes through various trials, eventually maximising their potential to become a more powerful figure.

Cinderella

In a business narrative, the story will address the process of realising your true potential; going from novice to mastermind. In Wieden and Kennedy’s ‘Nike Golf’ ad, they take us through the gradual progress of Rory McElroy, from insignificant golfer to golf professional, playing alongside Tiger Woods (his childhood idol).

  1. Comedy

These are stories about community, clarity and relationships. A typical story example is ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.  If the comedy is the backbone of your story, your customers should be able to identify with it and share it with people that matter to them.

Many brands add the comedy plot to their content. For example, the plot for Specsavers’ popular campaign, ‘Should Have Gone to Specsavers’ is a comedy. It highlights the interaction of different individuals with their surroundings, and how Specsavers would have helped them if they had consulted the brand. It is light-hearted comedy with a simple message.

  1. Rebirth

If you are a big fan of the Matrix trilogy, then you will know that the story is all about rebirth. The hero goes through a sort of renewal or rebranding process to become a new person. It might start with a tragic tale, before blossoming into a happy ending.

In business, you might recognise your customers’ problems as a time to reinvent themselves. Perhaps they are going through a difficult time and your brand can be the guide or soothing component they need to become strong again.

A perfect example of rebirth is the KIA Soul ad, featuring the now famous hamsters. The brand juxtaposed the transformation of the three protagonists with the recreation of its new vehicle. With Lady Gaga’s Applause as the music score, it was a rebranding success.

  1. Tragedy

Tragedy stories often have a deep premise; ‘Don’t do this or you will regret it.’ The story of Romeo and Juliet, and the myth of Icarus who flew too close to the sun, are both tragedies. The best use of tragedy is in public service announcements, where storytelling is used to deter people from doing something dangerous.

A popular example was the ‘Save the Children’ campaign, where we were taken through the tragic life story of a Syrian child who experienced the sorrow and tragedy of war. Another common example of tragedy is ‘Drink and drive’ awareness campaigns. If your brand can communicate best in this way, then give it a go.

In these examples, we used TV ads to buttress our point. However, in content marketing, you can create a variation for your storytelling objectives.

Are you looking for creative storytellers to promote your message? Contact us now to write striking content for you.

 

If you’re planning to excel as a copywriter in the modern world, you need a superb portfolio. This is where you can give people – particularly prospective clients – a glimpse of your skills and talents and how you approach your work in general.

Knowing that you’re subject to scrutiny and other forms of assessment shouldn’t be a bother if you know you have done things right. For most copywriters, a potential client’s request for a work sample quickly sends quivers down their spines. While this is understandable, it shouldn’t continue to be the case, as faltering will cost you a lot of jobs.

A portfolio is not just another part of your career paraphernalia. It is the vehicle that can advance or halt the progress of your career as a copywriter. Many companies hiring writers today are in the habit of checking out how good a particular writer is, before entrusting them with businesses associated with text. This is for good reason: everyone wants a tried and tested professional handling their jobs. When it comes to copywriting, we know that a copywriter usually bears the burden of maintaining and enhancing a brand’s image.

So how do you create a knockout portfolio that can impress clients and land you jobs? I have set up a few smart hacks that if you follow, could crown your copywriting career with success.

Setting up your Portfolio Outlook

The presentation of your portfolio is your first step in making a positive impression. The look and arrangement of the works in your portfolio can easily put off anyone, if it is poorly arranged. Also, how your individual pieces present themselves is a core factor that affects your general assessment.

As a freelance online copywriter, you need a great online portfolio, since your clients will mostly require you to deliver online content. You can send a link to your clients, that takes them to your portfolio or you can simply send a document over (usually in PDF format).

In any case, ensure that access to your portfolio will not present a headache to your and that the graphics and fonts used in the entire document are reader-friendly. Don’t infuse too many designs and images that might seem incongruous to the copy. Instead, ensure everything gels appropriately.

Choose the Best of your Samples

Your sample jobs stand as your recommendations. Therefore, you wouldn’t want any work you have written on a bad day to act as a specimen for your whole repertoire of writing. Again, your portfolio is highly important, so spending ample time on it should be something you must be willing to do.

You might have a lot of jobs already under your belt and choosing the best of your works might present a conundrum. In this case, you can involve some internet metrics to help you. If you’re presenting blog posts, web articles or guest posts, choose the samples of work with the most social media shares and click-through rates. You can find these out by looking at the social share counts on the website where your content is published, or you can use some online tools like buzzsumo to find out.

In all, any content you wish to include you in your portfolio should be of great quality and top-notch standard.

Include Pieces that Mirror your Personality

Your client is trying to assess you, as much as they are trying to assess the skill-set you possess. Adding a few pieces in your portfolio that speak about your personality will go a long way in demonstrating the kind of person they are dealing with.

Although you need to have a short biography (which should be unique as well) tucked somewhere in your portfolio, your work samples speak volumes on how you can craftily infuse personality into articles. You should be careful about this though, as some fields require serious, no-nonsense, technical articles that do not need so much ‘personality’.

Make your Selection Target-driven

Understand the client you’re pitching your work to, their industry and niche, and showcase your talent in making copy that suits their style. While choosing the best of your works is important, showing your prospective client that you’re experienced in working in their field is paramount. The best way to do this is to add multiple impressive samples that are related to their field.

It won’t be wise, for example, to showcase samples of jobs that you have done for the catering industry in a portfolio that you’re submitting to a company that is purely in the tech industry.

It is wise to get your background work about the client right. In cases where the client has a series of investments, you can carefully target every field involved with your portfolio, so that you don’t limit yourself to land the copy job for a particular website. In this case, show how versatile you are and how you can take on so many fields, without dropping a bar of excellence.

The importance of designing your portfolio to target specific fields doesn’t throw the need to maintain high quality out the window. Keep the quality levels up!

Learn the Facts about your Samples and Include them

The truth is, the impression of any piece of work in most cases, is subjective. Personal preference can be a blockade. What is good for me might not look so good to you. So how do you convince a client to think again about your work? You can present the facts.

An article with a lot of social media shares and views must be interesting (it has generated traffic too, so it must be pretty good). Including social share, backlinks and other figures will go a long way in telling whoever reads the samples on your portfolio how good your articles are, and in turn, how good you are.

There are a number of tools online that can give you the basic information about your sample contents. Some of which include buzzsumo (for your social shares), Ahrefs, SEMrush and lots of others to check the number of backlinks your content has.

Double-check if you have Permission to Share the Pieces as your own

This is important. Make sure you’re not defaulting in cases where you might have non-disclosure agreements protecting your content or where the content in question was a piece you did as a ghost writer.

Though there’s a likelihood word might not get out that you’ve done this, you don’t want to be caught up in cases where it does. This might lead to loss of clients and if it comes to the knowledge of clients that you’re pursuing, they might quickly lose confidence in you.

So keep the samples you’re including in your portfolio original and keep it at the back of your mind to exclude contents that are protected by non-disclosures – whether it’s in your online or offline portfolio.

Are you about to Kick-start a Copywriting Career?

If you’re a newbie in the copywriting world and are looking to make a name for yourself without any previously completed jobs under your belt, you can still get along. Since a majority of clients just want professionals, you can still present yourself as one by whipping up some pretty nice samples of your own.

Of course you’ll have to make up names of clients and companies, but in this case, make sure your samples are cutting edge and can woo the client. Not having the relevant experience shouldn’t stop you from hunting down your first job.

Another great way to go about getting jobs when you’re building your copywriting career (and portfolio) is to engage in a number of free jobs, that will actually see your content published and are of course free of NDAs. Having your own blog or website which contains a number of articles is yet another way to advertise yourself.

Is Your Portfolio thin? Beef it up

You might not have completed many jobs or lack content regarding most specific fields, but you have a client in your sights that you’re about to hook. Without a sample that testifies your ability to carry out jobs in the field, it might prove difficult for the client to hire you.

Beef up your portfolio

So what to do? Get an imaginary client of your own and create some compelling samples that will showcase your skill in the field.

Keep the Pretexts Short

While you’re making up a header that explains a sample, the company it was written for and the objective, make sure you keep it short and precise, so that you don’t bore your prospective client before they even begin to read the piece.

A Portfolio of Portfolios

Sometimes you might have a client who needs to hire a writer urgently and they want your portfolio as soon as possible. If you had already arranged a number of portfolios that can serve various situations, you will find yourself ready and prepared at all times.

Furthermore, selecting a portfolio for different clients might seem like a drag. So, keep different sets of portfolios that are arranged for different kinds of clients.

Finally

You can get your career rolling with a nice portfolio. All you have to do is set one up. Remember to keep your portfolios updated and add new pieces of work that trump the present ones in terms of quality.

The debate for the ideal length of content has taken centre stage for a while now, and there’s no indication that it will leave the limelight any time soon.

Writers and Content Marketers have been knocking their heads together on the length of their posts and tend to focus mainly on whether to make a post long or short, without thinking about the actual content in question.

For some copywriters, charging per word is the norm, so cramming in a lot of words means making more money, whether the extra words are necessary or not. Some however, know just when to cut the line. To these people, quality matters more.

In other cases, clients or employers slap an expected word count to a project, for which a writer must stick to. While some might be aligned to an accurate evaluation of the project, others are just plucked out of a hat. This often puts writers in a tough spot, as the word count to work with is often too large or too small.

So, the crux of the debate is: what is the ideal length for any piece of content? Blog posts, guest posts, interviews, landing pages and product descriptions – is there a one-size-fits-all approach?

The answer is simple. No.

The length of a blog or guest post cannot realistically be ideal for any product description or landing page. In fact, every article shouldn’t necessarily be restricted to a word count range.

However, there’s one ingredient – regardless of length – that every content form must contain:

Quality.

Yes, quality. You’re not looking to merely beef-up a website with blocks of words like newspaper pages. The primary aim is to keep the reader informed and interested. Then you can take up other means of conversion from there on in.

So, whether you’re writing a blog of 3,000-10,000 words, or a small product description of 100-300 words, without good quality, your content is as good as useless.

Again, what is ideal? Long or short? We are about to find out.

Long-form or Short-form?

If you’ve been an active player in the SEO world for a while now, you’ll find that long-form has been gathering lots of attention for nearly a decade now and still is.

Long-form content has been reported by numerous surveys and leading bloggers to perform far better than its short-form counterpart – but all the time? Everywhere? Definitely not.

While long-form is the normal big deal, there are instances where it could cost you dearly, but that doesn’t strip away all its credibility.

Simply put; there are content situations and (many) types that call for lengthy articles, while some just require a couple of hundred words. In some cases, just a few words are ideal.

So, long or short?

It depends.

What are the Instances that Require Long or Short Form Posts?

There are different content types as far as the internet is concerned and these require different forms of length. A huge factor here is the reader. In some cases, keeping a reader’s attention for a long time is ideal, whereas in others, you need them to take action as quickly as possible.

These content types include:

  • Blog posts
  • Guest posts
  • Interviews
  • Landing pages
  • News articles
  • Product descriptions

Normally, blog posts, news articles and guest posts require meaty content, and thus long posts. On the other hand, the length of product descriptions and landing pages vary.

A landing page can lose its purpose with a lengthy piece of text, but in special cases where the user needs a ton of information before taking action, a lengthy post packed with relevant information is ideal.

It’s almost the same with a product description. Products require every snippet of information passed on to the reader and have more details than others.

Blog Posts and Guest Posts

For all kinds of blog articles – including guest posts – word count only applies when the quality of the article is high. The length of your content shouldn’t be your primary pursuit, but the quality should. If you can, let the quality of your content determine its length.

That said, a lot of studies have been conducted to determine the ideal length for blog articles. Many have found that long-form content reigns supreme in this case.

According to a SerpIQ survey on the importance of content length, blog posts of about 2,500 words tend to perform the best in general, though their assessment contains texts found in the sidebars of the page, as well as the main content.

serp survey

Another study from backlinko reported that 1,890 is the average word count for contents that ranked first on Google.

Although this does not point out that articles below 1,890 don’t rank first at all, it is an indicator that long form contents are taking most of the top positions.

Both studies show just how important long form content is to all kinds of blog articles.

What is the Influence of Lengthy Posts on Blogs?

During the nascent stages of the internet and blogging, posts were quite short compared to what they are today. Back then, we would see 500-800 word long posts, which were considered just fine. However, more recently, competition and the need for more information has significantly increased the number of words found on an average blog post.

Realistically speaking, there is more to share nowadays. The scope of knowledge is increasing and there is more need for in-depth information.

One way that long posts influence content is the ranking. Google algorithms (especially the panda update) take long, in-depth informative posts as a ranking signal. Note that it mustn’t necessarily be long to rank, but needs to be relevant, though the longer, relevant posts do tend to rank higher.

Another good influence of a lengthy blog post is that it shows the user it contains high quality information and lots of it. It should do as well of course – otherwise a reader will leave after reading just a few lines of the post, which happens in a lot of cases.

News Articles

As far as news pieces go, there have been calls, especially by Associated Press, to keep news stories as short as possible or no longer than is necessary. Many have gone against the clichéd 800-word long articles and called for writers to stick strictly to the ‘A matter’, so that readers don’t easily lose interest.

This does not necessarily put a bad mark against long news articles though. What does however is word padding and unnecessary rambling. If the information you’re trying to convey through a news article is small, then keep it straight to the point.

Interviews

Publishing an interview should promise an exciting read for the reader. So, you should cut to the chase and provide the real stuff. Banal questions and answers should be cut out of the whole proceeding.

Even though people are excited to read as much as they can from a celebrity or expert, providing an interview that has been excessively diluted with wordiness and off-the-point questions, is a move that will certainly backfire.

I’ve often found that some rationales often beat the interview itself in length.

So, even for interviews, keep the questions (and content) as relevant as possible.

Landing Pages

The length of a landing page can be a driving factor in converting a site visitor or losing them. Long or short, it all depends on the kind of landing page involved and the purpose of the page.

For example, if you want a reader to provide their email address and download a book free of charge, you don’t necessarily have to roll out a thousand words for this. A few hundred words telling the person the usefulness of the book and why they need it should be enough.

On the other hand, when you’re expecting someone to make a purchase for a hefty sum on your website, you’d require quite a lengthy post to try and win them over. You’ll be expected to provide information on your genuineness, why you should be trusted, and most of all, why they need the product.

When it comes to landing pages, it all depends. So, make sure you get things right. Your landing page determines your ROI, so it should be taken seriously.

Product Descriptions

Product descriptions should be crisp and clear and contain only relevant information about the product. Sounding too ‘salesy’ and veering off topic is a huge turn-off at anytime. Make sure you describe the product in great detail though, as browsers love to gather as much information as possible about products they are about to spend their money on.

If they aren’t satisfied with your description, they simply move on to find another source that can provide adequate information.

Conclusion

Remember that no one likes fluff and too much blabber. Try to keep it straight and simple. Don’t go off topic just because you’re trying to make bulky content. Keep your quality level high and don’t comprise on this. While a long post is great for most contents, quality is always better.

If you find it difficult keeping tabs on the length of your posts, you can hire a professional to see you through.

The stronger the emotional connection between your content and your audience, the higher the possibility of them staying loyal to your brand and even becoming staunch advocates of your company. Whatever the aim with content writing – whether you want to inspire, engage or boost audience staying power – investing in creating a deep emotional connection is the best way to achieve it. Here are some tips to help you encourage such a relationship with the content you provide on your blog or website.

Employ Compassion, Humour and Empathy

Great writers know when to harness the power of emotions in writing. If you can move a person to tears, make them smile or burst into laughter, then you will have succeeded in creating a strong emotional bond. As humans, we love to relate, which is why emotions are so great to tap into when writing. Therefore, the next time you are crafting an article, blog post or sales pitch, and have an opportunity to insert a well-placed joke your audience will understand, go for it!

You can also tell them about an experience you had, which they can relate to. As much as possible, include details and explain how the issue was resolved. You can also ask your readers for their personal experiences on the same issue. If you or the company you are writing for have done any volunteer work not-for-profit in your community, it is also a great idea to include that as well. Your audience will be able to see that the company is made up of real people, and come with a face and personality they can both relate to and engage with.

Address Readers Directly

When it comes to creating emotional connection with readers, one-on-one communication is more effective than a mega-horn. To achieve results, speak to your target audience directly. In other words, appeal to many, but speak to one – your buyer persona. The first step is to learn how to develop and maintain a voice for your brand, since it is your own unique voice that you’ll use in all of your communication content. If you already have loyal customers, they can help you provide valuable feedback about your product and services, which will help in creating richer, more customised content. As you are writing, consider them and write for them as if they sitting right across from you.

Use the Informal Style

Readers are more likely to get charmed by informal writing styles. We’ve all come across website content that seemed written for the exclusive consumption of scientists or professors. Such content can insult your readers, who may not grasp your meaning. More often than not, people enjoy reading answers to their questions written in a casual, everyday tone – especially when they expect to be faced with an academic exercise in comprehension.

Employ the use of contractions, like you do in everyday speech. You would sound awkwardly formal if you talk without using contractions – and the same thing can be said for content written without contractions as well. So, keep your sentences relatively short. Good writing combines long-winded sentences with short ones. Too long, and your sentences could end up being difficult to read on screen. Too many short sentences might create a feel of short, stout declarations, strung together in your content. Find a good balance.

Informal writing increases the chance that readers will be willing to spend more time with your words. However, informal writing doesn’t mean profanity. You can create good, emotion-stirring content without resorting to the use of profanity. The purpose of content writing is to build trust with your readers. Swearing and using profane words will only defeat your purpose. Be professional.

In addition to being clearer, informal writing holds two distinct advantages for you. Firstly, your personality shines through your words, so that people who do not know you can get an idea of who you really are. Secondly, your words will relate to your readers better. You’ll invite a response and more often than not, you’ll get one. An informal writing style will help to create emotional connection, because your words will flow more naturally. So you ask, can a one-sided conversation create an emotional connection? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes’!

Know Your Audience

Many times, content writing can take up hours at a time, with the hope that eventually it will drive new readers to the site or create more customers. However, without the connection that comes from a real knowledge of the readers, no positive results can be achieved. When content fails to resonate, the root cause is usually that the writer didn’t include what the audience was looking for in the content. Therefore, it is important to understand your audience and know where they are coming from. You need to know and understand your audience to be able to successfully reach out to them. Putting yourself in their shoes can also spark more ideas about the content you are crafting for them. This is a fundamental part of writing content that creates emotional connections. For example, if you are writing a blog for people with a fear of public speaking, think about what they deal with on a daily basis, and let that thought guide your content.

Know your audience

Knowing your audience can inject a sense of familiarity in your content. You will also be able to connect with your audience in a more friendly and human tone.

Ask Meaningful Questions

By asking the right questions to make them think, you can connect emotionally with your audience and drive better engagement. If there is a hot topic on which your readers are dying to hear your opinion, provide your solid stance on the issue, and ask them for their own take too. Also, ask them about their experiences with your company, your services and products. In addition to making them think, you will also be able to come up with new and engaging topics for your content calendar. Questions and answers will ensure your topics are always fresh and your audience will be on the lookout for more content from you.

Use Vivid Descriptions

Generally, humans think in pictures. For example, if I say apple, tree, ball or house, you will likely get an image in your mind of those things, in addition to any memories associated with them. Words like communication, development or abstract, on the other hand, create very little reaction in the form of a relatable image. The reason for this is that experiences are connected to emotions, and use emotions to connect to physical things. It is harder to connect with or relate to vague, general concepts in the same way we easily connect to physical and tangible things. People ‘feel’ connected more than they ‘think’ connected. Therefore, to create a connection with your reader, you need to create a feeling of connection with you and your content.

Start by painting a picture in your reader’s mind. Make your writing more detailed by using a lot of descriptive words and metaphors. This way, your writing can be portrayed in the exact manner to create the connection you seek. One incredible benefit of writing is creating strong ideas and writing them down in a way that people can connect to emotionally. The aim is for your writing to positively stand out in the mind of your reader. Show a different side to something or make up your own ‘lingo’ to describe a new idea. When you do this, you are doing more than just giving advice or telling a story. You will ensure your choice of expression can last the test of time and give real meaning to your reader.

Get Them Involved

Connecting with your readers and holding their attention is about making them feel involved in your writing. Getting your readers involved goes beyond talking at them, to actually communicating and giving them an active role in your writing. You are using visuals and experiences your readers can emotionally relate to with their entire imagination, thoughts, focus and feelings centred on what you are writing about. With their feelings and imaginations engaged, they start to feel like they’re on the inside, and part of an ongoing conversation. They become mentally wrapped up in it.

Your writing becomes more interesting to them, because you are relying on their imagination to arouse feelings. The images you are creating are seen by your readers as their images. They feel your idea is their idea too, and can really form a connection because they are experiencing it with you.

Most content writers at one time or other have felt like their readers are not engaged with their content. They might try very hard to get their point across, but their readers just can’t seem to relate. If you find yourself in this situation, try another route – create an emotional connection. The trick is to look beyond simply creating content, to creating content that elicits the right emotions in readers, and that is not so hard to master.

Many people look for the services of a copywriter, when what they actually need is a content writer and vice versa. This is probably because they often mistake one for the other, but this post is about to clear that up.

What differentiates a content writer from a copywriter is actually quite subtle and an effective approach to better understanding what each one stands for, is to first take a look at the origins of both terms.

History of the Copywriter and Content Writer

‘Copywriter’ is a title that has been used for decades, especially in the field of advertising. Contrary to what you might think, copywriters actually existed way before the advent of the internet. The term ‘Content Writer’ on the other hand is relatively new and can be associated with the advent of the internet. Some people in certain circles even refer to content writers as ‘Web content writers’.

The term ‘Content Marketing’ refers to creating strategic content, with the aim of communicating and building a beneficial relationship with a specific target audience, such as a niche online community. With proper Content Marketing, a brand can more effectively reach out to potential customers and convince them to give the brand’s products or services a try. All of this can’t be accomplished unless content writing is efficiently executed. Examples of works that Content Writers commonly produce include articles, blogs, case studies and much more.

What Separates the Content of Copywriting from Content Writing?

As earlier stated, the core difference between copywriting and content writing is actually quite slight. Copywriting in its purest form is technically still advertising, as copywriters who have effectively honed their skills are capable of creating ads that can convince readers to take certain actions. Examples of such include subscribing for a newsletter, clicking a link, buying a product, completing a survey and so on. In most cases, you’ll find that the primary objective of copywriting isn’t necessarily to enlighten a reader, but to promote and sell a product.

On the other hand, the body of content writing isn’t necessarily about sales, although it can be depending on the objectives of the content writer.

While a copywriter is skilled in the art of convincing readers to take certain specific actions, a content writer’s capabilities lean more towards sharing useful information with those who are in need of it, in a compelling and engaging manner, or crafting and telling a story that the target audience will appreciate. If the content writer’s goal is to make sales, he/she will craft content in a format that subtly discusses the benefits of a product and inspires readers to try out the merchandise by convincing them it is exactly what they need to satisfy their needs.

For example, a brand that specialises in soap could hire a copywriter to promote their products for sale and get customers to buy via ‘Call to Actions’ (CTA). However, if a content writer were to be hired for the exact same job, they will proceed by either telling a story or discussing the benefits of the product, thus inspiring readers to give the product a try. With the help of a content writer, a brand can stay at the forefront of people’s minds, so that when the time comes for them to purchase a product, the brand will likely be among their top choices.

So What Exactly does a Copywriter do?

In essence, what a copywriter does revolves around generating content for ads, product packaging, Gifs, videos, sale slogans and other types of marketing material. The content of the copy created by a copywriter can be used either offline – such as on billboards, flyers, TV/radio ads and so on – or online via a website or social media. A competent copywriter can provide a variety of marketing material for a range of purposes.

Also, a professional copywriter doesn’t trump up information. Instead, he/she creates copy based on the information provided by a client. For example, a mechanic company that doesn’t actually offer 24/7 services will not be advertised as such by a professional copywriter, because that would amount to false advertising. The accurate information concerning what a brand has to offer will be presented to readers in a concise, persuasive, engaging and informative manner that convinces the targeted audience to give the advertised product or business a try.

Content writers on the other hand are more about strategic writing that’s capable of accomplishing either long-term or short-term goals. A body of work created by a professional content writer can be used for Content Marketing on a variety of online platforms such as websites, social media and email.

Content Marketing in itself is actually very important, because it helps a brand build awareness in the minds of potential – as well as active – customers. With effective Content Marketing, a brand and its products can remain at the forefront of the minds of the targeted audience. Content writing accomplishes this by showing potential customers the value they stand to gain by making use of the subject of the content.

Because content writers have to be strategic about how they craft content, they usually operate by taking into consideration a variety of factors, including: which demographic is being targeted by a Content Marketing campaign, what keywords will offer best results, what platform(s) will the content be shared on, how to optimise it for SEO, and how to ensure the content stays relevant for a long time to come. The theme of a content strategy can be stated by the brand/person requesting the content, or the content writer can be allowed to use his/her discretion to create unique and exciting topics.

What Unique Skills do Copywriters and Content Writers Require?

As you’ve seen thus far, content writers and copywriters are similar, but not the same. One other aspect in which both lines of work differ is the types of skills required to achieve their goals.

No doubt, both content writers and copywriters need to be highly creative, but a copywriter’s skillset is more tailored towards getting readers to take specific actions, as soon as possible. For a writer with such a skillset, it might be tricky to switch to creating copy that’s tailored to be more subtle and less ‘salesy’.

Difference Between the Writing Style of a Copywriter and a Content Writer

For copywriting to be effective, it needs to be concise and punchy. Therefore, copywriters have to avoid all unnecessary fluff or any language that makes a sentence longer than necessary. For example, if a copywriter is asked to pen a product description, he/she cannot afford to waste unnecessary words and paragraphs discussing anything not directly related to the product or that can’t add value to the reader.

Each sentence in copywriting must be brief and straight to the point, while delivering as much information as possible. The benefit of brief copy is that it makes it possible for targeted customers to get all the information they need without getting bored. When it comes to copywriting, each word is carefully chosen and put together with a specific intention. If a sentence is a goalless ramble that’s not in line with the rest of the copy, then it doesn’t belong there.

Aside from conciseness, copy also has to be engaging and convincing enough to get the reader to make use of the inserted Call to Actions.

On the other hand, content writing is recommended to be nothing less than 1000 words for a variety of reasons. This gives a writer the opportunity to share as much information as possible and create truly authoritative content. The more authoritative and informative the content is, the more valuable it will be considered by not just readers, but also by search engines.

Content Writing for search engine optimisation

Content writing for your website is done with the aim of getting the attention of readers and then getting them to read and trust your competence within your niche. This way, over time, visitors will come to see you as the ‘go- to’ choice when they want something from within you niche.

A fair amount of time and energy is also spent on the search engine optimisation of a written content. This is done using the right keywords and adding images with proper tags. Keep in mind that the longer written content is, the more opportunity there is to fit in long tail keywords, which are great for the SEO of the website on which the article is published.

Conclusion

With all you’ve read here, you should now be able to distinguish between when you need the services of a copywriter and when you need a content writer.

If you ever need to hire a writer for your website, email or social media marketing, keep the difference between copywriters and content writers clear in your mind, so that you can pick the writer that’s best capable of helping you accomplish your goals.

 

 

Email marketing

In the current digital space, the importance of brevity has been lost on many businesses aiming to improve their bottom line, as they try to fit in as many words as possible into their marketing copy. This is especially true for marketing emails. However, it is important to note that the average individual is inundated with all kinds of marketing messages over the course of any given day.

From social media to email, there is only so much time available for your customer to digest your content. The problem is compounded even further with the poor attention span situation. An email deemed too long can put off your customer, regardless of what you may be selling.

This piece looks at mistakes you are making that end up leading to lengthy and sometimes verbose email copy.  If you are guilty of these, then there is no denying the fact that your customers will find your emails to be confusing, boring and off-putting.

Divulging all the Selling Points in one Email

One of the most successful ingredients in email copywriting is the use of intrigue and curiosity. This is especially true if your campaign is still in the nascent stage. Keep in mind that at this time, your customer doesn’t know about your brand just yet.

If you include all the interesting bits about your brand in the first email, you have lost the opportunity to create a sense of mystery around your brand. The end result will be a huge wall of text that will reduce the chances of the customer listening to your message.

A good tip is to focus on one element of your product or service for every email.  Since it is ideal to adopt a multi-contact approach per customer with your email campaigns, there will be other emails in future to discuss other facets of your business or other offers you might have.

Including a Lengthy List of Benefits

When you send an email to your customers with a feature list added in the body, containing all of the amazing benefits you have to offer, you are elongating the email unnecessarily and reducing its overall effectiveness. Your customer will likely not bother to read everything contained in the list.

Lists – whether written out plainly or graphically formatted and presented – are difficult to read for most people.  Of course, there is a good reason to add benefits to your email, but do not take them to the extreme.

One key way to deal with this issue is to have a sentence limit for your emails.  The best emails are between three and five sentences long. When you have an imposed limit, you will be less likely to break any rules with sentence length. You will then have to decide what would make most sense from the standpoint of your business to the standpoint of your target.

Extreme Politeness and Niceties

It is great to have manners and to be polite in your exchanges. However, the fast-paced nature of this day and age means we are generally less patient towards pleasantries.  So, when you use the first line to ask after the customer’s family or to ask how the week is going, you have added nothing to the email and have most likely ended up wasting words.  Going back to the five-sentence upper limit we set above for emails, using a line or two for greetings and pleasantries leaves you with at most three lines to discuss the value you are providing.

A good tip to retain the niceties without wasting words is to use the opening line to ask a punchy question. You can also quote a telling statistic. Then at the end of the email, use a personalised ‘Call to Action’ to flatter the recipient. This will work more effectively than pleasantries overall.

Excess Quote Usage

It is often tempting to use quotes as social proof in sales emails, especially when they are from respected individuals or influencers in your niche. However, you need to choose the quotes you use very carefully. In many cases, the quotes are just unnecessary texts.

Ditch the quotes if they don’t clearly communicate a specified benefit and if they do not contain information that isn’t already available on your website. If the quotes are more than a line, do not use them regardless of perceived benefits.

Inadvertent Narcissism

It is often difficult to admit to narcissism because we don’t always know when we are being narcissistic. However, if you read some of your past emails and they are too focused on you or your brand, you are indeed being narcissistic. This is nothing to be ashamed of (as many sales people have been guilty of this at some point), but it’s something you must work on.

The problem with this is that it’s very easy for the email to degenerate into a monologue. How would you feel at an event where the presenter ignores the solutions you have come for and first proceeds on a 30-minute discussion about their private lives? This is exactly what you are doing to your customers when you are engaging in inadvertent narcissism with your emails.

Make sure you are focused on the pain-points of the customer and ensure you are focused on highlighting how your business can help take care of these. You’d be more likely to send short and thoughtful messages when you haven’t made the entire email about yourself.

Summary

At the end of the day, one of the best ways to avoid the mistakes communicated here is to make sure you aren’t getting too engrossed in your own words. When you get too attached to a sentence, you might end up doing a disservice to it. Trim the words from your sales emails as soon as the opportunity arises. This way, you can be certain that every sentence contained in the email serves a specific purpose. With this, you can get back to writing truly compelling sales emails in readiness for better conversions in 2018.

 

Whenever users type in queries on a search bar, they are simply looking for answers or solutions not keywords. Although, keywords play a major role in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of a page, internet users don’t really follow that guideline when navigating online to look for information. This is what is called the User intent; and Google has decided to focus more on it while providing the right content at the appropriate time to every user – hereby boosting user experience.
Since Google keeps changing its algorithms up to about 600 times every year, you will have to align your online goals with them in order to keep up with the constant upgrades by optimising your keywords and content as naturally as possible. However, the launch of the Google Hummingbird update in 2013 made user intent priority in providing results for search queries. This new search algorithm focuses mainly on the user, unlike previous algorithms like Panda and Penguin. It changed the idea that search was to be based on matching keywords, as it displayed results that geared towards the context and intent behind queries.
For example, when a user types in “Where is the best agency for copywriters in the UK”, the Hummingbird algorithm will display results on Google that infer “agency for copywriters” to mean where you can hire a copywriter or where a copywriter can work. This also meant that Google was making queries more conversational, and Google Voice search made users feel like they were interacting with an actual human who understands them and provides answers to suit their needs, not just a machine and keyboard experience.
However, Hummingbird has been constantly updated since its release, till the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) was born. Focusing on user intent to provide and improve on the relevant results that align with the users search query, is basically what semantic search is all about.
For instance, if you ask a human being “can you drive me?”, they can discern that you actually mean drive in a car. So they are likely to tell you “yes” or “no” as the case may be. But when you type in the same query on a search engine, it will have a hard time determining if you meant “drive” with a vehicle or “inspire”. But the Hummingbird has made it easy for Google to figure out the user’s search intent and provide contextual relevant results that profer direct answer or something similar to what was typed in. In order words, LSI provides pages relevant to user intent, hereby streamlining search results to fit the context of a particular query.

What Latent Semantic Indexing entails

LSI has 2 interlocked phenomenon that helps you leverage and understand the entire LSI process better and use it to your advantage. They are Co-citation and Co-occurrence.
Co-Citation is the process where Google interlinks 2 (or more) websites that have similar content even when there are no outbound links from either of them actually linking each other. The websites involved are usually of the same niche and if Google “sees” any form of association between the content of both sites, it provides a connection between them.
Co-occurrence transcends beyond just web pages because connections between your website and keywords are created with it by Google. This means that there cannot be co-citation without Co-occurrence. Synonyms of keywords and the content of your web page isn’t what Google uses in this case, instead they simply associate both when your page keeps getting mentioned along with the particular keyword(s).
If you run a store that sells pink coloured perfumes for example, and your brand name is always mentioned whenever a lot of people type in “I want a pink coloured perfume”, Google will notice this through out the internet (from online community fora to positive customers reviews and search queries) and associate the keyword “pink perfume” with your brand. Therefore, whenever a user types in those words in a search, your site gets displayed in the search results. The idea behind this is that Google will believe that there must be relevant content between your brand or business that makes users mention it together a lot within the context. Therefore, they both should be associated with each other.
With the Co-citation and Co-occurrence, it seems like Google is looking for ways to make websites rank better in search results regardless of whether they are optimized for search engines or not – as long as they provide the much needed information the user seek. This could also explain why some websites that don’t even contain keywords in their meta description, anchor text or any other part of the content still show up when queries are typed by a user.

Will the Latent Semantics Indexing affect Search Engine Optimisation?

A young SEO specialist working on a computer displaying SEO

As Google continues to upgrade their algorithms to create better user experience, SEO specialists or digital marketers have to also upgrade their techniques focusing on user intent as well. Besides, Keyword Stuffing is actually one of the major reasons why LSI or linking pages relevant to user intent was introduced by Google.
Keyword Stuffing pretty much involves creating content that has a lot of keywords in order to influence how the page will rank on Google search results. In some cases, these keywords do not even serve any purpose in the page and might negatively affect the rankings of a page rather than boost it.
Google now ranks a website better based on the quality of content and how the page is relevant to the user’s intent, and no more by matching particular keywords to search queries. By providing pages which has similar content that aligns with the context of the query, Google ensures that any information users seek will be made available to them no matter what website it’s coming from – but still maintaining major SEO signals. Therefore, you or your digital marketer can now can create better content and care less about loading keywords in every paragraph.
Google wouldn’t penalize you for using appropriate keywords in your content anytime you feel the need to, the concern is when you stuff these long tail keywords into it deliberately to manipulate your rankings. For example, using a long tail keyword like “Daily Posts is the best copywriting agency in the UK” will be considered keyword stuffing and make your page look like spam – as compared to using short tail keywords like “Copywriting agency” or just “Daily Posts”. Google will penalize a website with such appearance.

Solution to Keywords Stuffing

Computer Screen Displaying Less is More

If you feel you do not want to use short tail keywords, you can take advantage of LSI Keywords. For instance, instead of just “Copywriting agency”, you can put in more of “copywriting agencies in the UK” and fuse in Daily Posts along certain lines.
One of the easiest ways to even improve the quality of content on your page and making it flow better is by including these LSI keywords. Google will even find out more about your website and further drive more traffic to your website, rank you better in search results and easily suggest your website to users whose queries are related to what you offer.
If you are looking for some online tools to help you find these LSI keywords, you can check out SEMrush, Keyword Shitter, UberSuggest and Google Keyword Planner.
When searching for the right LSI keywords, these tools will generate some spammy or robotic looking keywords, totally unrelated ones and of course, some broadly related keywords based on a specific algorithms. However, you can easily select those that are relevant to the context of your content and will easily show when users make search queries. Furthermore, if you do not want to search with these tools, you can simply Google the keywords you are focusing on. When you scroll through the first and second page, you’re likely to find LSI keywords that can fit into your content.
Finding the LSI keywords is one thing, integrating them into your content naturally is another thing. When you improve and develop your SEO copywriting skills, you can easily add these keywords without making it look like you’re trying to stuff everything into your content. Instead of boring your readers just so you can rank better, you can hire the services of a copywriting agency and they will provide meaningful content that will always bring your readers back and even convert new ones.
Furthermore, do not forget that the number of people who make use of phones and tablets in searching for information online has led to Google’s launch of the mobile first indexing. Since users can easily access any information from the several websites online, Google is working earnestly tow make it easier for them – so should you.
In conclusion, Google is going the extra mile to make sure that websites focus more on optimizing their content to suit user intent and not just search rankings. Keywords are still important, but the SEO copywriting strategy is what every writer should improve on.

There is a general perception that professional writers have it all figured out where perfect grammar is concerned, truth is writers make mistakes and as much as they try to avoid them, it still pops up in their work. Writers need to remember that they are humans too and their passion for writing doesn’t make them perfect. We’ve put together a list of the most common grammatical errors professional writers make in their writing

  1. Apostrophes

It is confusing sometimes knowing where to use an apostrophe. The key is to remember that if you’re using an apostrophe to combine two words, the apostrophe should fall where the word would spilt. This error is common with the following words it is – it’s, We are – we’re, they are – they’re.

  1. When to use too/to/two

To: a preposition followed with a noun.

I am going to the restaurant.

These clothes belong to Sarah

Too: synonym for the word ‘also’

I love her too

I was at the mall too

  1. Overuse of Adverbs

A word or phrase that qualifies a verb or adjective usually ending in ‘ly’. If you use them sparingly that’s okay but overusing adverbs indicates weak verb choices, hence top writers use juicer verbs instead.

“Really awful” modifies the verb “bad” a better choice would be “appalling”.

  1. Cautious use of prepositional phrases

Prepositional phrases are the nouns or pronouns that follows the preposition to show location, direction or time. Excessive usage affects the wording of your writing so simplify where possible.

Wrong – The school bus came up the top of the hill

Correct – The school bus crested the hill

  1. Wrong use of words

These are words used in the wrong context; they sound the same with similar spelling and sometimes, the spell checker might not pick it up.

Sea/see

Weather/Whether

Cloth/clothe

Leave/live

  1. Split infinitives

When you split an infinitive, you insert an adverb between the two parts. It sounds correct because its’ been used for a long time and copywriters in advertising are sometimes guilty of this error. Writers should remove split infinitives from parts of the text that isn’t internal thought or dialogue.

Common split infinitives

To go boldly

To quickly go

To impatiently wait

In these verb phrases, the adverb should follow the verb. What is the target audience? How natural would the revision be with the adverb before the infinitive? Read the sentence out to know if it sounds better with the split infinitive.

  1. Subject-Verb Agreement

Singular verb should be used with singular subject and the same rules apply to plural verb. This might seem obvious but it is a common error with skilled writers to end a singular verb with the letter ‘s’

  1. Changes in tense

Your starting tense should remain consistent throughout the piece, although a change might be required to reflect changes in time but unnecessary shifts are unclear to the audience.

Wrong: when I go to bed at night, I always drank tea before sleeping.

Correct: When I go to bed at night, I always drink tea before sleeping.

  1. Spelling errors

Writers should have a spell checker on their PC, these are good tools for highlighting errors in your work. A recommended tool for professional writers is Grammarly, which offers a free plugin for Microsoft Word and some popular browsers like Mozilla Firefox. Some common words include Accommodate, access, chauffer, embarrass, address, ecstasy and many more.

  1. Dangling Modifiers

Grammatical error that occurs when an adverb, adjective or modifying phrase is used in a sentence but the modifier is unclear.

Wrong: Listening to loud noise slowly gives me a headache

Correct: when I listen to loud noise, I slowly develop a headache

  1. Contractions

Contractions join with pronouns or verbs and a verb contraction shortens a verb phrase or verb.

Wrong: ain’t

Correct: am not or is not

  1. Avoid vague statements

Quantify your sentences where possible, vague statements lack credibility and are open to misinterpretation.

Wrong: Microsoft made huge profits last year

Right: Microsoft made a profit of $250million in 2016.

  1. Comparison: using “like” instead of “as though”

The two words are not exchangeable. Like, can only be followed with a pronoun or noun. As though precedes verb clause because it creates the expectation of an event that is action based.

  1. Pronoun case

Pronoun case describes the status of the pronoun as a direct object, indirect object or subject. Writers sometimes use the subjective case where the objective should be used.

Subject: I, we, he, they, who

Object: me, us, him, them, whom

  1. Double Negatives

While most languages possess double negatives, Standard English forms do not. Unfortunately, this is a popular trend for sarcasm or emphasis.

Wrong: He don’t know nothing about the robbery

Correct: He doesn’t know anything about the robbery.

  1. Sentence Structure

Correct sentence structure confuses the most experienced writers. The proverb of knowing the rules before breaking them is invaluable here to understand that sentence structure is not rigid and it will continue to change.

  1. Sentence splices

To splice is to join so when a writer joins independent sentences with a comma instead of coordinating conjunction, that’s a sentence splice.

Incorrect: We have hundreds of clothes to arrange, it will be impossible to finish it before the exam.

Correct: We have hundreds of clothes to arrange; it will be impossible to finish it all before the exam.  

  1. Run-On Sentences

This is a type of sentence that combines comma splices, fused joins or conjunctions two or more independent linking clauses.

Wrong: Peter enjoyed the guitar Amanda gave him at his birthday however he prefers a piano.

Correct: Peter enjoyed the guitar Amanda gave him at his birthday; however, he prefers a piano.

  1. Inflated sentences

Communicate your message to readers using direct words instead of empty sentences that muddle up your message. Wordy sentences are annoying and frustrating because readers have to look for the passage instead of seeing it once they start reading your work. Streamline your sentences with nouns and strong verbs, not adverbs or trite adjectives.

Wrong: It has come to our attention that your utility bills are overdue and we ask you to pay them at your earliest convenience to avoid disconnection.

Correct: Your utility bills are overdue. Pay now to avoid disconnection.

  1. Incorrect irregular verb use

Grammar error with irregular verb forms are common in articles written by university graduates and media journalists.

Incorrect: Sanchez is alleged to have went into Peter’s room and stolen that some shirts.

Correct Sanchez is alleged to have gone into Peter’s room and stolen some shirts.

  1. Tautologies

When you express the same thing twice with different words, that’s’ tautology.

Wrong: John made a kite with his own hands for Diana

Correct: John made a kite for Diana

  1. Sentence Fragments

This is a dependent phrase or clause used by a writer as a complete sentence. The best rule is to see if the fragment sounds right in a defined text.

Wrong: Michael listened for the sound of crickets, nothing; there was none of the usual sounds of night, absolute silence.

Correct: Michael listened for the sound of crickets. Nothing. There were none of the usual sounds of night. Absolute silence.

  1. Semicolons and Commas

Some writers do not use commas in their work. This is safe for simple sentences but complex constructions require the occasional use of semicolon. The problem is the reckless insertion of comma after every couple of words.

  1. Incomplete comparisons

Wrong: My boat is bigger, cheaper and better.

Right: my boat is bigger, cheaper and better than Phil’s.

  1. Coincidence/irony

Do not make assumptions for the latter when it is the former. Irony is the expression of one’s meaning and the real meaning is the opposite of the literal meaning, usually for an emphatic effect. Coincidence is when an event happens by chance. There is a clear distinction between the two so avoid mixing it up.

Content is king concept

The art of writing has undergone many changes as technology expands and dictates what writers should be doing to reach target audiences. Things like SEO writing and keyword density have altered some of the mechanics of article writing, but there are some tried and true techniques that never change, no matter how much the digital landscape may evolve.

These techniques can be implemented in any style of article writing, including industry article writing. Writing for trade magazines or websites can be intimidating at first but by following these simple, timeless writing tips you’ll be able to tackle industry article writing with relative ease. These tips are even praised by professional article writers, working in the profession for years.

 Create and Stick to a Plan

Whenever you begin an article, it’s important to go into it with a well thought-out plan to help you focus throughout the actual writing phase. Sometimes, when an article is written without a plan, the results will seem disorganised and lacking in structure. The article may even drift from subject to subject, without any real cohesion. This happens because, without a plan, a writer may follow their own wandering thoughts and write accordingly, instead of writing in an outlined and logical fashion. Disorganised articles can confuse readers and will more than likely put them off reading to the end, or remaining on your website at all.

By focusing on your article and your plan, you will be able to create a clear and informative piece of writing that your readers will enjoy. This is important in industry article writing, since trade magazine or website readers are looking for specific information from an industry expert. They won’t believe you know what you’re talking about if your article has no focus or structure. If you submit an article lacking in clarity or organisation, it’s unlikely that you’ll even have your work published, or that you’ll hear back from the magazine/website/blog editor at all.

 Research Your Topic

While using your own experience in article writing is common and encouraged, you should always do additional research when delving into industry article writing. Writers are known for doing large amounts of research before putting pen to paper; it helps to figure out what information you want to put in your piece beforehand, as this will help you source relevant data.

In industry article writing this may mean looking up facts and figures in order to back up concepts about market trends within your chosen field. If you carry out detailed, insightful research, then you’ll also avoid having to resort to filler or useless content to meet a word count quota.

While doing research you may also want to perform interviews with industry authorities and key players in the business. These interviews will provide you with more information on your topic, enhance your overall article, and prove that you have the proper knowledge of the subject at hand.

Write in Appropriate Tone and Language

Different styles of writing require their own tone and language. Entertainment writing can benefit from a friendly and informal tone, while more technical article writing may need more of a professional and authoritative perspective. This is more subjective than other writing tips, since article writers can select the tone of their own writing and fit it to their topic or publisher.

No matter the tone of the article, though, it’s important to keep the language simple and plain. Industry articles and similar writing styles are meant to be informative and to the point, there is no call for flowery language or fluff. Audiences are looking specifically for facts and updates regarding their trade and will more than likely skip over any unrelated content. Simple language will also ensure that your readers understand the piece; choosing complex or imposing words instead of a common vocabulary can be a quick way to alienate your readership.

Proofread Your Work

Finally, article writers the world over will tell you that it’s key to proofread your work before submitting it to an editor. When proofreading, look for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and similar issues. These errors include things that a word processor’s spell/grammar check might miss, like missing words, for example. Some article writers believe that reading the finished piece aloud helps them catch hidden errors, too. Either way, some form of self-editing will benefit your writing and help you in the long run.

Technical writingHiring a technical writer is no easy task. It’s not the same as going out and looking for a blog post writer. When you’re looking for someone to write blog posts, their portfolio and experience is broken down by niche. So a fitness writer is going to excel in fitness post writing, but what does a technical writer excel in?

Simply put, there is no easy way to know the level of expertise of a technical writer unless they become recognised specialists in their field.

What is a Specialist Technical Writer?

This is a title that can be defined as a few different things. It is sometimes misconceived as a result of the multiple meanings behind the term.

Basically a specialist technical writer may be someone who either:

  1. Specialises in a particular type of technical documentation, such as patent applications or contract writing.
  2. Specialises in document specification and sometimes is referred to as a ‘document specialist’ instead of a ‘technical writer’.

Understanding the difference between the two is very important. You may be able to hire a technical documentation specialist to handle specification work, but the same isn’t usually true in reverse.

This is all pretty simple and the difference between the two should be fairly easy to understand. In most cases, you are merely looking at a technical writer that specialises in a particular type of writing – specialising in document specification is just one example, though it distances itself from other types of technical writing.

Skills of a Specialist vs. Generalist Technical Writer

The skills that a specialist technical writer possess are a lot more advanced than a generalist technical writer. This is because they meet all the standards of the technical documentation that they are responsible for creating.

A major difference in skillset is noticed amongst specialist writers that handle technical specification. This is the backend writing that is often used when manufacturing or developing a product, dealing with investors and other high-up staff, or when making a request for patenting.

Under those circumstances, a specialist technical writer will have a much greater understanding of the terminology used by the business they are working with. They will have a good grasp of everything in place within the business as it relates to the content they will produce. They will also have a good working relationship with members of staff as they will often have to get information from them.

Should You Hire a Specialist?

A specialist technical writer will put a lot more effort into the planning part of the project. They will ensure that the final piece is as accurate as possible. The end result will be documentation that is a perfect fit for its intended use.

A generalist technical writer can still create quality technical content, but he is better at handling the layman terms. He may be effective at functional specification, which is technical documentation that is designed for the users of the product. This type of material often takes the technical “this is how it works” document and breaks it down into layman terms for the user. However, functional specification is often given to testers, stakeholders, and developers.

Ultimately, the specific content need will dictate whether a specialist technical writer is right for the job or not. These are high-level experts who only need to be taken on for the most technical of writing assignments, so be clear and concise with your needs and source the work accordingly.

If you are still confused, working with a technical writing company will make the process easier – they will be able to explain exactly what type of writer you need for the job.