“You can earn $1,000 a month or more, per client, producing outstanding content.”
Your coach promised that kind of success. But here you are, still struggling to land that first BIG client.
She didn’t actually tell you how to do THAT.
Sure, you took a few online classes. Received a little coaching that cost you a bundle of cash. You netted some basic instruction and a push out the door.
Truth? You lack confidence in your abilities. You don’t know how to write incredible content. Content that influences your readers.
You need to find or regain your focus.
How can you make the dream of becoming a successful content marketer a reality?
What skills are you lacking right NOW?
Truth? There is no secret to profitability.
Produce material that connects with people. The profits will follow.
What is the first step? You must learn to compose headlines that compel your readers to stay on the page.
1. Create Clear and Concise Headlines
This seems simple. You will struggle to get it right, but keep on.
Headlines draw the reader in through surprise, curiosity, emotion, and personality. How you manipulate these characteristics influences the power of your message.
You want to keep your headlines as concise as you can. Did you know that most search engines only focus on the first 65 characters of your heading? That variable is one subtle nuance that nets you a prime spot before readers.
How can YOU master headline writing?
Study formulas for headline writing.
- Find the right template for optimal attention-getting. Some popular formats are lists, how-to, case study, and ultimate guides.
- Write several practice headlines, and then change them up. Run your working headline through several of these templates.
- What doesn’t work as a list headline might form a great how-to post. Many templates will fit the same topic. Explore differing perspectives on your topic.
- Your headline must offer a promise. Use it to tell your readers what to expect from your post. Answer the question: ‘why should I care?’
Practice, practice, practice.
- Grab a blank sheet of paper, or open a new page on your portable device and compose new headlines.
- Carve out practice time every day. Mark your calendar and make it a habit.
- Throw down 50–100 headlines at a time. Don’t censor yourself while writing.
- What works? What doesn’t? Judge your visceral response and interest level in each one.
- Continue practicing these tips and you will be on the way to hooking those clients.
Your headline grabs their attention with the expectation of dynamic information. What next?
2. Master the Art of Building a Blog Post
You picked a topic and decided on a working headline. Now you will build on that foundation. Let’s move you forward with a roadmap to completing your post.
Fabricate your basic outline.
Express creativity to plan a clear outline. Brainstorm to ferret out unique content. Visual mind-mapping will unleash your creative potential. How does this work?
- Record your seed thoughts on a sheet of paper. Don’t concern yourself with placement, correlations, or patterns.
- Silence your inner censor. Don’t judge any entry as good or bad.
- Use lines to connect related entries. Circle groupings of notations that are related.
- How many groupings did you uncover? Are these enough for a thorough and complete post? Did you miss any essential topics?
- These groupings now form basic subheadings. Give each of them a tentative label. As your post expands and fills out, they may change.
- Determine the best ordering for your subheadings.
- You now have a skeleton outline that you can expand upon.
- Set your outline aside for a few days. Let it marinade. Review it.
- Does it look good? Now you can research and compose your rough draft.
Write your introduction.
- Show that you walked the same path that they are on. Readers can now follow in your footsteps and avoid hidden obstacles.
- Let your readers know that you can help. You empathize with their concerns. And you have solutions to the problems plaguing them.
- Give hope! Hope is the glue that binds readers to you.
Compose a strong conclusion.
- Sum up your main points and primary takeaway for readers. Give them a clear plan of attack.
- Express hope that your points resonate with readers and clear up some frustration.
- Consider offering a consultation, product, or download to help with the problem.
Put the meat on the bones, and flesh out the post.
- Make sure that every point is complete, developed to perfection.
- Read it aloud. Is the flow cohesive and smooth?
- Life and vitality should spring from the page. Can you do anything to add vibrancy?
You are ready to see your work in print. Don’t be too quick to hit the “publish” button! It’s time to perform due diligence and proofread your work.
3. Proofread before you Publish
Proofreading matters. It sets you apart from the point-and-click marketers anxious to get their words into print. Why is proofreading important?
Proofreading establishes your professionalism.
Strive for clarity. Your writing is easier to read if you:
- Go easy on the adverbs. Your writing is more direct without them.
- Stay away from passive voice.
- Short sentences and phrases speed up the flow.
- Go for easy-to-read sentences. Your goal is reading a section in one pass.
- Avoid rookie spelling and grammar mistakes. They will reflect on how readers view you.
- Catch errors before your readers do. When your fingers slip, so does your credibility.
Use proofreading tools.
A free or low-cost program is worth the time and investment.
- The Hemingway App screens for writing issues mentioned above. Its low cost makes it invaluable in fine-tuning your document.
- Grammarly offers free and subscription services. The free option catches common grammar mistakes. You can even prescreen your email and social media.
- Most word processors include spelling and grammar checks. Use these as a sanity check.
Next, you must understand the value of user experience. How does the ‘feel’ of your writing engage the reader?
4. Optimize User-Experience
How do you define user experience? And how do you influence it?
User experience describes a reader’s interaction with your content. It fuels their responses, reactions, and ultimate decisions.
In most cases, clients hire you to produce content. Nothing more. That content resides in a blog, social media, or website. Various electronic devices will display the information. You may not need the technical savvy to deal with those intricacies — not now at least.
So, what is your role in content marketing and user experience? You must get OUT of your head and INTO your reader’s.
Use this checklist and maximize reader benefit:
- Deliver on the promise made in the headline.
- Completely answer every question that brought and kept the reader on your page.
- Remember — your post is about the reader and his needs. Address readers as “you.” Come across as personable and personal.
- Your page presentation is pleasing. You optimize white space, outlines, descriptive headers, sub-headers, and photos.
- Keep your language simple. Easy to understand.
- Have one simple call to action. Only one. Don’t confuse your readers with many decision points.
- Make your content attractive and easy to search for online.
- Above all, you must always walk in time with your readers. Resonate with them through deep knowledge of them.
5. Know your Audience
What content enthralls your readers? How can you earn a place of authority among them? Can you piggy-back on the coattails of others?
Yes, you can. But it takes some work.
Consider these essential steps for knowing your readers:
Use research tools to discover what readers want.
BuzzSumo offers a broad selection of tools to uncover your niche’s interests.
- Do a keyword or topic search and find the most shared posts, listed by platform.
- Narrow down your search terms based on your niche or related interests.
- Identify your influencers — those others consider the experts — and study their blogs.
- Design your own plan for posts — posts that surpass the value of those you read.
Poll your audience often and mine for hidden needs.
- Do you send out a newsletter? Ask them what one to two things they struggle with. Answer their questions in a future post.
- Did you know that many social media platforms offer an option for polls? Ask your readers to rank three to four areas of interest. Reader interaction is current. It expresses what they are thinking of NOW. It gives substance to your writing plan.
- Follow related niche social media sources. Reader threads on Facebook and Twitter may uncover areas of dissatisfaction. Again, readers will point you in the right direction, if you know where to look.
Subscribe to competitor newsletters and blogs.
- Observe patterns. Look for types of posts. How long are the posts? Do they follow one format or several? Is there “evergreen” material — stuff that is always popular?
- Compare their writings with yours. How can you up your game? Are there topics that others DON’T write about? Should YOU be writing about these?
- Look for content that you can make better! Write it in your own words, pour your personality into it, and put it back out there.
Hone these skills and Attract Big Clients.
You know which skills will propel you forward.
You own skills to build a profitable client base and ensure your goal of $1000 per month, per client, or more!
Develop content that satisfies needs and drives profitable customer actions. Be the best in your niche.
Yes, you have some work ahead of you. But you have a toolbox bursting with dynamic ideas for success.
What are you waiting for? Get started today!