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The 6 Major Elements of the Modern Content Writing Definition
What do you think of when you hear the words "content writing"? Its definition has changed over time as the internet has grown and diversified. In the early days of the web—long before ecommerce titans including Amazon reshaped the digital landscape—content was what people produced for fun and a social connection than anything else. More than 75% of Fortune 500 companies have blogs, but "weblogs", as they were first known, were personal online diaries. Today, content writing is all about marketing, search engine optimization, and driving conversions.
How do you embrace modern content writing and use it effectively to market your brand? What are the keys to ensuring that what your business publishes online is a valuable tool, not a frustrating boondoggle?
1. A Clearly Understood Audience
Defining your audience dictates your written voice. Consider that content targeted at highly-educated professionals, such as lawyers, will necessarily sound quite different compared to content meant to promote an ecommerce clothing retailer. Modern content understands the importance of audience targeting. Defining elements such as the "buyer persona" will help you write content that speaks most effectively to those who represent the best potential value to your business.
2. Definitive Goals for Your Content
Don't start producing blog after blog without any sense of where you're headed. Modern content stands alone but also builds on itself. Creating your own opportunities for interlinking isn't just good for SEO—it's excellent for helping motivated users learn more once you grab their attention for the first time. Sit down and define what you want to achieve with your content, either from a "big picture" point of view or blog-by-blog. Knowing what you want to achieve lets you guide the text toward usefulness.
3. A Focus on Thought Leadership
Do you have something new to say or are you merely repeating the same things your competition says? Thought leadership is a critical element of success online today, and it is all about providing readers with more unique insights. When doing competition research, ask yourself: "how can we improve on this message?" Think about what you want readers to take away from a piece. Look to the news for timely inspiration that you can tie into the subject. No matter what, though, don't forget that you're writing to set your brand apart.
4. Smart SEO Tactics That Stay Invisible to Readers
Modern content demands excellent SEO if you want it to rank and reach audiences. However, shoddy SEO is still apparent even to the untrained reader. Too many links, keyword stuffing, and awkward half-measures to shoehorn in search-friendly formatting don't yield the combination success you want. Targeted keyword research and good writing technique help. Consider that solid and attention-grabbing headlines are the perfect place to drop a keyword and hook an interested user reader.
5. The Right Tools for Measuring Progress
Today's content writing, by definition, seeks to inform, entertain, engage, and educate readers in pursuit of an ultimate purpose. Whether that purpose is contacting your business, buying a product, or arranging a service, how will you know your content works if you can't measure its success? While this element is not strictly about how you write the content, you must be able to analyze what works and what doesn't. A/B testing of slightly different content types is a common practice today. Make sure you're watching your numbers and adjust your approach to content production accordingly.
6. A Consistent Frequency of New Ideas
Everyone online today wants to find the "next thing," whether it's the next video, the next cool picture or the next exciting article. If you cover the same ground repetitively, you'll lose readers quickly. Content calendars simplify the long-term planning process, while systematic research and outreach will identify new topics you can incorporate into your planning. Write fresh content—not what's easiest to churn out in a short afternoon.
Is Your Content Team Equipped for Success on Today's Internet?
The modern content writing definition might have undergone some changes, but today's brands can't afford to stay stuck in the past. The need to adapt and remain relevant in an exceedingly dynamic environment on today's web is more pressing than ever. When users today only have about an eight-second attention span, you need to make sure there's always something else for them to try. By incorporating the six elements of smart content writing and careful strategizing into your approach, you can set the stage for success.