Looking for content writing best practices to hone your content writing skills? Right time, right place!
As a content writer, you need to learn to improve your content writing skills. Its value reflects on the search engine. Some content writing best practices help one achieve that.
Be it a beginner or a professional writer, an update on the best practices is a must. It helps one perform better. It helps one develop high-quality content.
So, let’s walk you through some best practices for content writing.
What Are The Top 15 Content Writing Best Practices That Every Content Writer Must Follow?
1. Sort out the material related to the content
What happens otherwise? A lot of time waste.
First, understand the assignment, that is your “topic”. Write down what you think about it.
Suppose if you have no idea about the topic, don’t worry. Google is your right hand here! Research about it thoroughly. Go through various web resources.
Come up with an outline. The structure of your content must have continuity. A plan works well enough for creating outlines. You can even make a flow chart.
You can note down or document how your outline would look. Or, you can use online tools like Coggle, MindMup, SimpleMap, etc.
Such online content writing tools will help you edit your plan, as per the need.
You need to understand the content first. Then only you can write content and make it understandable to the audience. Jot down your doubts and questions that arise when you think about the topic and its content. Again, take the help of Google for the answers.
Bookmark your resources for future references. Skim through them instead of copying exactly.
Get back to your writing space and let the thoughts flow. Start drafting. Be sure that you only deliver the right information to the audience.
2. Adopt SEO keyword research: The content writing best practices while writing
A content writer uses SEO (Search Engine Optimization) methods at various phases before publishing a blog or article. The prime concern during the prewriting and writing phase is finding keywords.
What kind of keywords should you use? Suitable ones that would enhance the content. Your article will pop up the SERP when the audience looks for solutions on Google. But, it is possible only with the use of relevant keywords.
Google crawlers notice the content of your site if they have relevant keywords. It’s the crawler that brings your content to the search engine result page.
When you write, find out the trending keywords. Compare multiple keywords’ search volume. Add the most searched ones to your writing.
The keyword-finding tools like Google Keyword Planner, Wordstream, Google Trends, Ubersuggest, etc.
Use all kinds of keywords while writing. Like the long-tail ones, broad match, and generic. If the competition of your generic keywords is high, go for the long tail ones.
It needs brainstorming and understanding what the audience needs. Trying to include important keywords makes the content much worthy.
List the types of keywords you want to use. Make a note of it and keep it by your side or highlight them type-wise in an excel sheet. Use it according to the frequency of words in your blog post.
In your content, the keywords should be in the
- One of the Subheading/s
- Often in the Body text/s
- Meta tags
But, make sure you do not pack your entire blog with it. Over-optimizing can lead to a low-quality writing style.
3. Appealing content
Writing articles, blogs online is the best way to communicate with your audience. It will make you understand your target audience. They will follow your website when they find your blogs or content helpful. It is the best way to get more traffic to your website.
So, how to write so that the audience would feel like indulging more?
An eye-pleasing headline to your content can do most of the work. The headline is the first thing that the viewer sees.
You can make it attractive and innovative the way you want. Also, using tools that make it SEO-worthy is of great help.
Coschedule Headline Analyzer, MonsterInsights, Sharethrough, etc. are some tools that can predict a headline’s online engagement. You can then modify and see the SEO-friendly score to make the headline engaging.
Also, tools like Hubspot Idea Generator, Portent’s Content Idea Generator, etc. can come to your use to get ideas for your headline and content.
4. Use images, infographics, or videos when necessary
Did you know images or videos are one of the content writing best practices? The audience may lose interest in between while only reading. This happens especially when the blog is long. The images or videos do a great service here.
The images which are relevant to the audience hook them to the content. The criteria for images
- Include the main feature image, that symbolizes the blog
- Other images can be frequent with the number of topics or number of words occurring in the article
- Small in size (byte-wise). Optimize, if not
- Mention Alt tags. It captions the image for the search engine to recognize its importance
- Mention source credit when you borrow images from other sites or use original ones
The use of images or short videos can also encourage the audience to access more of your web content. Mention the source from where you take images or give credits to them on your blogs.
Freepik, Canva, Pixlr, Photopea, etc. are some sites where you can get and edit images and manage the graphics.
It also helps in optimizing your content. So, it is one of the best SEO practices too for content writing.
5. Put facts, statistics, or quotes suitable to your content
What good does it do? It brings reliability to your content. It keeps your content logical and credible. Quotes from VIPs will help you to gain the trust of viewers.
Facts and statistics are often found on many reliable websites content-wise. They conduct research data analysis. If you find them worth mentioning in your content, then you must cite them.
If you put them, with the acknowledgments then it makes your content rich in information. But, do not overuse them. That again leads to over-optimization. Do not fill them so much that your actual content comes to less than the quotes and facts.
6. Use of links for link building
How to improve your search rank? One of them is by using links in your articles.
Using links is very important in your content. Otherwise, the whole purpose of engaging the audience remains obsolete.
Include them wherever necessary. Do not directly copy and paste the hyperlinks. You can use anchor texts to attach the links.
You can also interlink your website articles or blogs. Get backlinks from writing on other’s websites on request or as a guest blogger. That way you can build your reputation as a content writer.
Again, do not use too much of it. It leads to over-optimization. Over-optimization of the content does not come under content writing best practices.
7. Use Call To Action (CTA)
CTAs are also anchor texts which are links to the website landing page or the product marketing page.
Why use CTA in the content? CTA guides the audience to proceed towards
- Registering signups
- Purchasing a product
- Subscribing to your newsletters, etc.
So, it is one of the ways of gaining good traffic on the website.
“Click here for more information”, “Buy Now” are some of the examples of CTA.
It is even one of the content marketing strategies that affect the company’s sales. It has the potential to convert the audience into customers or subscribers.
8. Avoid sounding very promotional
The CTAs and the links are necessary marketing goals, of course. But, too much of anything in the content results in over-optimization of the blog. Moreover, it affects the communication negatively with the readers.
The first job as a content writer is to inform the audience about your services rather than selling them without information. Talk to them through your blogs or newsletters, for them to know your company or website better.
Being non-promotional is a part of content writing best practices.
In the emails, newsletters or blogs keep the CTAs and brand-related references at the end of the blog. The brand’s approach then signals originality rather than only promotion-oriented.
9. Make corrections on grammar errors
The writing part only becomes readable when you start editing. It adds quality to your content writing. It is one of the major “on-page SEO” content writing best practices. One should never omit this part if they want a successful freelance career in content writing.
Edit the grammatical errors and minute to major spelling mistakes. Read aloud your content and that will make more sense while editing.
The use of online tools like Grammarly, Paper Rater, or Hemingway Editor, etc. provides good grammar tips that can make your content readable.
Format the headlines according to the order from the headline (H1) to H2, H3, H4, etc. as the content progresses. This makes the content more understandable and skimmable.
10. Check for Plagiarism
This is also the most important part of the editing phase. You might be knowing how harmful plagiarism is to a content writer. Duplicate material can penalize you.
So, to avoid plagiarism in the writing stage do not go for exact paraphrasing. Google can detect similarities in writing style. It can become an act of duplicating material.
Rather, refer to research material, and go back to your drafting space and write with your style. It comes with practice.
You can borrow any kind of online material from another website. But, it is a healthy and necessary practice to ask for permission. That way, Google allows you to save yourself from copyright infringement. Also, give them credit for their material on your website.
Sometimes even when one does not copy, one can face plagiarism. In the plagiarism scan, you may get similar matches. The reason is that the digital world has become a vast space full of content. You may get such problems. That is the reason why online tools to scan plagiarism are good to use.
Plagscan, Duplichecker, Paperrater, etc. are such online tools that you can use to detect plagiarism if any. But you must check it after your editing work and further edit if tools find plagiarism.
11. Mention of meta tags
After the completion of writing and final editing do not forget to attach meta tags. These can make your content get visibility.
These are bits of important information that inform the search engine about your content. So, it becomes a medium to serve good results on search engine pages.
What should meta tags include?
- Most relevant keyword elements from the main content
- A unique primary keyword that is born out of the headline
12. Maintain a checklist- The best way to follow content writing best practices
Finally, when you finish your work from researching to formatting, it is time to tick off the things from the checklist. These are the essentials that make your content high-quality.
The list includes
- Research on information
- Keyword research on all types
- SEO based headline
- SEO based content
- Uploading and captioning SEO based images, or videos (original or mention credits)
- Important facts, statistics from a good database
- Quotes (if necessary)
- Links – interlinks or others’ (with necessary credits)
- CTA links
- Check on grammar and spelling errors, formatting titles
- Plagiarism check
- Include meta tags
- Share on social media
13. Branching out on Social Media
Every optimization strategy on the content landing page when finishes, then it’s time for some “off-page” SEO strategies. These are again SEO content writing best practices. It is a must in the field of content marketing.
Sharing your content is the best off-page SEO strategy. Also is one of the best practices for content writing and marketing.
After you create good quality content keeping all the above things in consideration, it is also important to share them. Along with it, do not forget to update it from time to time. You can gain more backlinks from them
There are several social media platforms nowadays. Sharing your content on them to get them more visibility has become inevitable. Platforms like LinkedIn, Quora, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc bring you more viewers.
14. Plan out the social media content
According to Statista “Global social media users would reach the count of 3.43 billion users in 2023.” Booming social media!
Your website can become more popular when you engage with viewers on social media. It can become hectic to manage both social media and your writing work. But, it plays a vital role in bringing awareness of your brand amongst viewers.
Create a content calendar for this purpose. Assign each day to engage with different platforms. Share the content there on regular basis. Small informational videos, infographics, Instagram reels, etc. help spread the content throughout social media.
15. Serve as a Guest Blogger
This is also a great “off-page” SEO practice. This is a great way to get good quality backlinks. Several sites give opportunities for guest blogging. You can be one of such guest bloggers to such sites.
You write for them according to their specifications. That way, they publish your articles on their websites. If you write the best piece of work for them, you will get the best quality backlinks too. It can help you grow and explore more work as a content writer.
Content writing best practices have the potential to initiate and provide regular traffic to the website. It can elevate the digital marketing strategy in the company. Bring these best practices to your use, to make your content SEO worthy in the digital space.