Almost 3 million blog posts hit the web everyday. Whether it’s the search engine results, social media newsfeeds or emails, there’s enough content to boggle anyone’s mind. Businesses are vying against one another to attract the most eyeballs.
Content writing isn’t about typing a few paragraphs and hitting the ‘Publish’ button.
Your content has goals to fulfill!
To create results, your content needs to offer real value to the target audience. And you can’t create value-added content until you don the researcher’s hat while writing. In fact, much of the research should be completed in advance so that when you sit to write, you have all the pertinent information, data and numbers at hand. That’s how you write high quality blog posts and articles, lightning fast.
Here’s why in-depth research is so vital to content writing:
Know Your Audience and Their Needs
In Kurt Vonnegut’s words, if you open a window and make love to the world, your story will get pneumonia. Writing to please everyone makes no business sense. To expand your business, your content should address a specific group of people – those who are grappling with a problem your product can solve.
If you’re in the healthcare industry, you should first know whether you’re seeking patients, doctors or hospitals as an audience. Further, there are patients with different types illnesses. A company that manufactures medical devices in the field of cardiology can’t sell to patients who have no heart disease. So, no matter which area of work or niche you operate in, you should narrow down your audience to a specific group of people genuinely interested in your offer.
And then you need to dig deep into your target audience’s problems, wants and needs. You can address your audience’s doubts and concerns through your writing only when you have a good idea about what kind of situations they go through in their everyday lives.
All of this requires in-depth research.
Recognize Topics That Haven’t Been Covered
When you start your content writing research and move from one expert opinion to another and pore over the existing blog posts, articles and other written material on a particular topic, what’s not there yet will automatically become evident.
Picture this situation: You’re sitting in the interviewer’s room and the interviewer throws at you this common question: “Tell me something about yourself”. And your reply is something like this: “Well, you have pretty much everything about my academic background, work experiences and skills in my resume. Let me tell you something which is not there!” This is a kind of response which would most likely brighten up every interviewer’s face with curiosity. He would be keen to know what you have to say next. This is your opportunity to impress. Just be relevant.
Discovering what people are not saying or thinking gives you an excellent opportunity to create unique content.
Increase the Trust Quotient of Your Content
No one controls the internet. Anybody from any corner of the world can write something and put it on the web. This has led to a lot of misleading information and suspicion among online readers. But as the digital world matures, people are sharpening their search skills and learning multiple ways to verify content for authenticity.
Suppose, someone’s looking for exercises to help their lower back pain. Will it be easy for them to immediately land on a website which recommends a couple of exercises for the same and start following the tips the next minute? There are both good exercises and bad exercises. Since the cause and intensity of back pain varies, the same exercise may benefit some and harm others . In the same way, information on the web could easily mislead people in many other areas – unless the website they’re using is a well-known and credible resource.
Here again, research comes to your rescue.
Your writing research will allow you to uncover many trusted sources that you can quote or link to in your articles and blog posts to support your claim or validate your point. This will increase the credibility of the content you publish on your website.
Identify Important Keywords
Solid keyword research is critical to successful content writing because it helps people find your content online. Whether you run a business in a specific geographical location or cater to customers globally, using the right keywords in your content will ensure your website ranks higher in search engine results.
Too often, businesses pursue keywords which are either irrelevant or have little or no search volume. A faulty keyword strategy will bring you no returns at the end of the day.
In-depth research will open your eyes to those words and phrases that people interested in your business are using. People use both short-tail and long-tail keywords. While short-tail keywords are harder to rank for, they have the potential to drive tons of search traffic to your website. Long-tail keywords are less competitive and generate more conversions. When people are looking for answers to their questions, they tend to type longer phrases into the search box.
Develop the Right Tone of Writing
The tone of a web copy is of crucial importance. Even if the information is the same, you’ll convey it differently to a teenager, as opposed to an elderly. ‘How’ matters more than ‘What’.
Let’s assume there are two Cafe Coffee Day outlets close to where you live – and one of them is slightly farther away. Both have exactly the same products to offer and identical designs. Both of them attract a similar number of customers throughout the day. The only difference is that one of them, which is located a little farther away, has a staff that speaks in a more likable tone. Which outlet will you prefer to go to? Of course, the one where the staff interaction makes you feel at home . And it doesn’t really matter if it takes you a few more minutes to reach there, does it?
Content writing is the same.
The tone of the written content can make or break a business. In-depth research will open your eyes to whether you should adopt an informal tone, a formal tone or something in between, in your writing. While you write in a tone which your audience likes the most, also remember to be open and welcoming.
Whether you develop your marketing content in-house or outsource your content writing project to an agency, always make sure that the research part is not skipped. Not doing enough research is like going into the writing session blindfolded. Just like Alec Baldwin, the sales manager in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, advises his team to “always be closing”, content writers should “always be researching”.