Small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) make up 99.9% of all US companies . And the way they compete for eyeballs and sales is with quality content. But how does a new or struggling company approach this if they’re not natural authors? And with so many content writing tips for beginners, how can you know which approach is right for you?
Writing styles are personal and developed over time. But certain rules apply when it comes to content writing for an online audience. These guidelines ensure the text is comfortable on the eyes, easy to read, and quick to scan. Moreover, all content writing tips should include basic search engine optimization (SEO) rules.
Content marketing is a skill, but you don’t need to be an expert author to create compelling work. This article reveals how to use words as a powerful digital marketing tool.
Content Writing Goals for SMBs
Before you start content writing, you first need to know the why. Why are you writing, what is it you hope your web content will achieve, and who is your target audience?
This 2022 data show the percentage of content marketing used to achieve SMB’s goals.
What Is Content Marketing and Why SMBs Do It?
Before our top content writing tips, it’s important to know how SMBs use content marketing to the best effect. So, what is content marketing exactly, and why should your company do it?
In short, it’s an effective multi-purpose advertising strategy. SMB marketers carefully choose content writing topics to attract, engage, and retain a target audience.
Content Writing Tips to Connect Your Audience
Your company shares its expertise with readers by creating and publishing compelling blog posts. Regular and highly-relevant content help promote brand awareness and keeps your products or services in the spotlight. A written piece may engage readers by including interactive tools and other web content such as podcasts, videos, and graphics.
Content writing can educate prospects and leads about your business offers. It illustrates how your products or services solve problems and thus boosts conversions. Written content also helps to build and strengthen customer relationships and loyalty. These things combine to connect audiences with companies and build communities around brands.
Improve Online Visibility, Drive Traffic
Is your SMB needing high-quality content and SEO but too busy working on other business-critical projects? Let Bold Entity’s strategic experts create SEO-optimized content for you. Our digital marketing and social media professionals will improve your website’s online visibility. And we will identify and reach out to your target audience, driving traffic into your inbound marketing funnel.
See How Our Results-Driven Approach Supports SMBs Like Yours
Get to Know Your Target Audience ASAP
So, how do you recognize your target audience or get to know them better than you do? There are several strategies for this. First, review what data and customer analytics you have to track and analyze behavioral patterns. Then, go over previous successes, for instance, confirmed sales, sign-ups, and repeat business.
You now have enough data to start creating customer profiles or buyer personas. These data are invaluable for identifying your ideal customers and clients. Also, conducting surveys and keeping a watchful eye on competitors will help expand your profiles. And remember to monitor and learn from your audience’s engagements, feedback, and comments.
The Hub and Spoke Content Production Model
Building web content doesn’t have to be a complicated process, but it should be methodical. That’s where the hub and spoke strategy, aka the content pillar model, comes in. It provides an organized framework for all your content. And that, in turn, promotes excellent site structure that the search engines reward. Here’s how it works.
Say you’re an SMB that sells eyeglasses of different styles and brands. You decided to write an authority article around the keyword phrase ‘eyeglasses for men.’ Then you write a batch of related posts that talk about specific styles and shapes of eyeglasses for male wearers. Each spoke article then links to its hub (main article) from within its content.
Spoke Content Supporting the Hub
So, the hub is your central, general topic (eyeglasses for men). And the spokes are related content of interest that strengthens your hub. Because the spoke content must relate to the main topic, you write it around secondary keywords.
In our example, the keywords for the spoked content could be:
- Square glasses
- Round glasses
- Cat-eye glasses
- Oval glasses
- Browline glasses
- Geometric glasses
- Oversized glasses
- Aviator glasses
This illustration shows the two-level hub and spoke hierarchy.
It doesn’t have to stop there, as you can continue branching out from spokes using more sub-topics. In the following illustration, we’ve branched out from the aviator glasses spoke.
You can break out again from any or all the new sub-spokes. An example might be different types of content for sporty glasses, using long-tail keywords such as:
- Best running glasses for middle-aged men
- Men’s super-strength golf glasses
- Most comfortable cycling glasses
And yes, you could break out further and write around specific brands of sports glasses.
Summing Up Hub & Spoke Content Marketing
The hub & spoke model supports SMB websites with a structure that achieves long-term traffic growth. It’s a proven SEO and content marketing strategy. This method asserts your authority by publishing highly relevant, interlinked content. And it also helps you rank for targeted keywords, generating more organic (free) traffic to your website
|Did You Know? 90% of Companies Use Content Marketing|
It’s true. Over 90% of businesses use written content as part of their marketing efforts. That’s because it’s 62% cheaper than more traditional marketing. And, 70% of consumers prefer to learn about companies, their products, and services from articles rather than ads.
Find Topics to Write Around
It’s a good idea to build your content calendar around brainstorming activities. It may feel logical to write about a particular thing, but that doesn’t mean it is. That’s why savvy marketers do their research before creating any content. So, you must know what your target audience searches for and write your content around that.
Do you know what topics your target audience wants to read about?
How to Fill Your Calendar with Great Content
Marketers often get stuck for ideas when trying to fill their editorial calendar with compelling content. However, a short, sharp brainstorming session is often all it takes to get those creative juices flowing. Try to put a 10–15-minute time limit on phases 1–3 below. The time limitations keep everyone on their toes and help avoid overthinking.
#1 Brainstorm Topics with Team
Before you even start a blog, you need to brainstorm ideas for topics. An excellent way to begin is for those involved to bring their own list of new topic ideas to the brainstorming table. The next step is presenting those ideas to the team.
#2 Rate the Ideas 1–3
The head marketer should read out the ideas from each list. Others in the group then score them out of three. Anything with a ‘3‘ is perceived as a great idea. A ‘2‘ is worth potential consideration, and ‘1s‘ are discarded altogether.
#3 Add to the Editorial Calendar
Those ideas that received a unanimous three make it onto the editorial calendar. And you keep the best of the two scores for potential future consideration.
#4 Keyword Research
The final step is in-depth keyword research related to the winning topics. These are the subjects that your writers will create high-quality, unique content around.
This is just one idea, and it assumes a group of people is involved in the process. But don’t worry if you’re without a team. Individual brainstorming is also highly effective, but you need to be a little more critical, that’s all. Whatever approach you take, brainstorming ideas should always precede your keyword research.
|Did You Know: Individual Brainstorming Trumps Group Brainstorming?|
Individual brainstorming doesn’t come up with as many ideas as group brainstorming. But, according to research, it produces more “quality” ideas than group sessions.
Content Writing Tips for Beginners
This final section covers essential content writing tips for online publishing. You don’t need to take a content writing course to understand fundamental writing skills. This 4-step guide is easy to follow and benefits search engines and readers.
#1 Prioritize People, Not Search Engines
Ignore any content writing tips that suggest keyword stuffing or other grey hat tactics. Instead, always write for your target audience. You need to include specific keywords but never force them into the text unnaturally. Well-written work can be both SEO-friendly and enjoyable to read. Here’s what that looks like:
- Write unique, well-researched, authority content
- Check the blog is free from errors
- Include keywords and phrases in a way that reads naturally
- Ensure the page has a clean layout and proper formatting
#2 Focus on Readability
Keep the content on point, and never assume your reader knows what you do. Remember, an audience will never complain that something is too easy to grasp or read.
Simple is always better when writing content. Examples of straightforward writing are:
- Be mindful of the reader and aim for clarity in your writing
- Vary sentence lengths to avoid monotony
- Avoid complex words when there are simpler alternatives
- Avoid the passive voice unless the actor is unknown or irrelevant
- Avoid repeating words within the same or subsequent sentences
- Limit the use of adverbs
- Check your work for accidental plagiarism before publishing it
The head marketer should check the readability score, especially when using new writers.
|Did You Know: 50% of US Businesses Have No Dedicated Content Marketing Personnel?|
Around 50% of small US companies have no experts dedicated to their content marketing. It’s why web users often complain about poorly written, overly wordy, badly presented content.
#3 Format and Layout Matters
No one likes to read huge uninterrupted blocks of text. It’s a surefire way for visitors to hit the back-button seconds after arriving. And poorly formatted pages are also frowned upon by search engine spiders, and that’s not good for SEO.
The four rules below will ensure your content pleases people and bots every time.
- Break long paragraphs into shorter, easier-to-digest blocks of text
- Use headers & sub-headers (H2, H3, H4) to divide sections
- Insert numbered and or bullet lists
- Use photos and graphics to break up text and enhance the reading experience
#4 Check Your Work and Check It Again
Who does your business writing? The most used channels are in-house writers, premium freelancers, or those on gig sites. And who checks the written work before it’s published?
Having someone other than the writer proofread and edit the text is always better. Original authors often see what they think is true when assessing their work. But an independent proofreader is more likely to pick up on things the writer themselves miss.
Content marketing is vital for SMB’s as it’s more effective and costs less than traditional promotional strategies. Quality content helps reinforce brand awareness and pushes your products or services to the target audience. The only caveat is that content needs to be relevant, regular, and optimized for search engines. If you don’t have time to commit, outsourcing your content marketing strategy is a wise investment.
Bold Entity’s Professional Content Marketing Services
Look no further if your business needs high-quality, highly optimized website content. Bold Entity is a well-established strategic digital marketing agency. We know how to create exciting blogs that catch the attention of your prospects. Our team of experienced experts will increase your organic search traffic by improving your website’s SEO and rankings, but that’s not all.
Read More About How Bold Entity Can Support Your Business Success