The Secret to Writing Killer Content
Do you have a secret for writing “killer content” for your self-storage business? Think about this for a minute. Neil Patel advocates for long form, 2000+ blog posts. But, long form doesn’t work for everyone. Some of your target audience may be looking for short, focused content that answers a specific question.
Rand Fishkin, on the other hand, has a different point of view. “Not sure where the idea that ‘great content’ = ‘really, really long content’ came from, but we need to dispel that myth.” According to Rand, if you want to challenge the “longer content performs better on average” statistics, check the data on diminishing attention spans, abandonment rates, and percent of visitors who actually read long content to its end.
Now, I’m going to confuse you even further. As Ronell Smith pointed out, “great content doesn’t universally mean anything at all. Its definition is subjective and sometimes mythical when what we need are pragmatic, clear boxes to check to determine whether our content efforts are on track.” In other words, your content is only great if your audience thinks its great.
It’s really not complicated. All told, the length of your content isn’t the issue; it’s the quality. High-quality content that answers questions and solves problems is what your audience is looking for. But, they also want to be entertained, and you want to keep them engaged and this has to be done better than your competitors do it.
You need some boxes to check, and this is a good place to start. Read the following suggestions to guide you in writing the best content for your storage business and your storage audience. Writing killer content can be a challenge, but you’re up to it.
Hint 1: Listen to Your Audience
Build rapport when you write by using the same language as your self-storage customers. Yes, you want your personality to shine in your content, but being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. Be empathetic by trying to understand, as much as possible, what your audience is feeling.
How do you get to know your audience? Identify a few members of your target audience and ask by email, social media, or phone for a 5-10 minute interview. Ask questions relative to the topics you plan to cover and, most importantly, pay close attention to what they say and how they respond. Then, feed that language back to them in your content for direct engagement.
Hint 2: Write the Way You Talk
Take a conversational approach to your writing. Communicate with the same clarity and enthusiasm that you would in your everyday life, and your personality will emerge in your writing. Stay true to yourself, and don’t try to make someone else’s voice your own.
Hint 3: Consider Readability
I started content writing with an education background, so readability is near and dear to my heart. Please remember to use a standard reading level so that your content is understandable to a wide range of readers. According to The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 50% of U.S. adults can’t read a book written at an eighth-grade level. You may be surprised to know that there are C-Suite executives who have trouble reading. If you’re unsure of your content’s readability, try using the Microsoft Word function for testing reading levels.
Keep paragraphs short, use bulleted or numbered lists, and keep important facts at the top of the page. Don’t confuse your readers with inconsistent language. For example, don’t keep switching from your business name to “us.” You want your audience to be able to gather meaning from your content without being distracted.
Hint 4: Read, Read, Read
The best writers read. As Jeff Goins states, “Writers need to read. A lot. Magazines. Books. Periodicals. And so on. They need to grasp the art of language, to appreciate the finer points of words.” The more you read, the more inspired your writing will become. The results will speak for themselves.
Hint 5: Know Your Topic
Before you sit down at your keyboard, be sure that you have a broad understanding of your topic. If your topic is business storage, make sure you know what types of businesses use storage and why. Do your homework. Research thoroughly and find people who are enthusiastic about your topic and willing to discuss it with you. Hopefully, their passion will be your inspiration.
Hint 6: Tell a Story
Storytelling is a cultural activity that predates writing. In its most basic structure, storytelling was oral, with some gestures thrown in for dramatic appeal. A short, well-crafted story can captivate your audience and keep them engaged in your content a little longer. The trick is to tell a story that is entertaining and aligns with your purpose.
Hint 7: Trigger an Emotional Response
Content that engages the reader’s emotions, whether positive or negative, is more likely to be shared than content that is passionless and unemotional. Explain how an individual used self-storage to get through a traumatic life event. Use emotionally charged words, and structure the overall tone to fit the emotion you’re appealing to. The outcome will be that your audience is more likely to share your content with others.
Hint 8: Ask Questions
Ask rhetorical questions that get your readers to think about your brand and then take action. Ask why they need storage and how it will help to ease a stressful situation. These questions get readers thinking for themselves and moving toward using your product or service as a solution for their problem. Be careful not to overdo it. One or two questions serve the purpose without frustrating your readers or making them feel like they’re under interrogation.
Hint 9: Format for Visual Appeal
You don’t want your readers to become visually bored reading one long paragraph after another. Keep your paragraphs short, emphasize key words with italics or bolding, and make use of dashes and parentheses to better convey meaning. Keep in mind that dashes serve to emphasize a point, while parentheses de-emphasize. All of these things will lead readers to feel as if the content is more interesting even if the words are identical.
Hint 10: Build Suspense
No, you’re not writing a mystery novel, but you can still build suspense. Think about the most interesting element of your piece and build toward its reveal little by little. This is not the answer for everything that you write; but, if you can work it in, it will greatly increase your writing’s personality.
Hint 11: Forget the Grammar
Earlier in this piece, I mentioned that you should write like you speak. Most people don’t speak perfect, formal English, and content, being an informal medium, should be written as such. That being said, it’s probably not a good idea to abandon all basic grammar rules, but there are some that you can break. For example, you can use sentence fragments and run-on sentences as stylistic devices and even end sentences with prepositions. You don’t have to be afraid of your fourth-grade teacher any more.
Hint 12: Be Unique
Don’t just copy the work of other people when you’re writing content. Do your research and learn about your topic, but approach it from a new perspective. This isn’t to say that every piece of content has to be a personal declaration, but you should try to find something unique to say and a new way to package the information. It’s hard to convey passion when you’re merely duplicating someone else’s work. Remember, stay authentic.
If you take these hints to heart and spend some time on your craft, you’re content will be “killer.” While your content should align with your business goals, your priority should be to educate and engage your audience while making them feel that you understand and care about their problems. Go on out there and “kill” them with your next piece of content!