Do you, like many others, suddenly find yourself being asked to write blogs, articles, case studies, without the support of your usual communications professional?
Here are Luma Head of Content Helen’s top 10 tips for writing passable, professional articles.
1. Understand your audience.
What are they interested in? And not interested in…?
How can you talk about [cats] to people who are not interested in [cats]?
We recommend you select one or two people – current or wish-list clients – and write specifically for that one reader.
2. Consider where they are on their journey to you.
This will impact the tone you use, the depth of information you include, your call to action and your choice of distribution methods. It also influences the amount of time and attention a reader is willing to give you.
3. Gather your content.
Pull it together. Make notes, collect your references, and start to put those bits and pieces in the right places.
Helen’s secret success formula:
- Promise the benefit
- Call to action
4. Just write.
Don’t fret – yet – about structure, grammar or messaging. Create a big, messy, full piece of prose.
Then edit it. And edit again. Ask someone else to edit it – fresh eyes always spot something different. Let it rest for a little while. And finally, an unemotional grammar and structure check.
Great copy has really clear messages. What are the three things that you want the reader to take away from this piece? And how does your writing support those messages?
Put them at the beginning… and again at the end.
6. Formatting is your friend.
Use bullets, headings and questions to pull the reader through and engage their emotions. Formatting helps to pull the reader through and alight upon the words that appeal directly to him or her.
7. Call to action.
Want action? To take the reader on somewhere? Begin with a verb.
- Sign up
- Read next …
8. Write a great title.
Rarely the first words to hit the page, but the element that really brings a piece to life. What’s it all about, really? Think about this last.
To do it well:
- Promise a benefit
- Use alliteration
- Invoke curiosity, intrigue, surprise or humour
- Be precise
- Keep it short.
9. The tech bit
Search engine optimisation. Social media hashtags. All the stuff that helps people to stumble across your writing. Make it work for you.
Take a look at the hashtags that people are using and weave some into your copy. Think carefully about your subheadings – website “H tags” are SEO friendly. Use topical key words. Test your article’s accessibility.
Perfect copy only comes to life when others read it and engage with it. Sometimes, good enough is good enough. Get it out there.
And if you’re not sure, pop it over to us and we’ll give it the once over for you.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing expert tips on video, LinkedIn, project management, photography and much more. Get in touch if you want to be included.