Writing Content

The entire web is made up of content. There are other elements too of course, links and shopping carts and videos and audio files and yada yada yada. But its the content that gets you there, and its the content that makes you take action (watch, listen, buy).

It might be an email from a friend, a blog post that you read or something that was recommended on your favorite discussion forum. It could have been an article or a search result at Google or Yahoo. But its all content, linking to more content.

Wikipedia defines content as:
Information and experiences created by individuals, institutions and technology to benefit audiences in contexts that they value.

Dictionary.com defines content as:
something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts

But Internet Marketers define content as text...

If you have an online business, then you know just how important content is to your overall marketing strategy. There are literally hundreds of guides written on the topic covering a wide range of angles: copywriting, article marketing, syndication, self-publishing, etc etc etc.

But most of these deal with what to do with your content once you write it. Not what you should do if you are staring at a blank piece of paper, or sitting in front of your computer staring at a blank document. If you stare at it long enough it just might transform into a beautifully written masterpiece that funnels traffic into your website. But if it doesnt, read on...

There are two main things that every piece of content you write should contain: value and action. No matter what format you are writing in, or who you are writing to, what you write should be valuable to your reader. It should also lead them to the next step, or include a "call to action".

Let's use this blog post as an example. I am sitting in front of my computer right now*, typing out an article titled "Writing Content"... that is, ironically, content I am writing for my blog. It started as an idea and a blank document.

The idea actually came to me when I sat down to publish my newsletter for the week. As I was drafting out the details for that mailing, it occurred to me that writing is probably one of the most difficult tasks most of us face. In fact, not only do I get 'the block' sometimes, but its a hot topic at my forum as well.

Idea was born, so I began to pen this article that you are now reading. It is valuable to you because you want to make money (or make more money) online and you know that "Content is King!" (rah!). You are (still) reading this article, relating to what I am saying, and learning both by this example and the tips shared.

I'll get back to this example in a minute...

Let's take a look at 4 examples of content that you can use to drive traffic to websites and gain exposure online:

  • Articles
    A great example of content that provides value and ends with a specific call-to-action is this article by Karon Thackston: How to Write Motivational Copy That Sells. The ideal reader that would find this article valuable, would also be the target market for Karon's SEO Copywriting Course. The call to action at the end states:

    Which words make *your* customers buy? Let Karon show you. Learn to write strategically created copy that hits a nerve and makes the sale. Boost your search engine rankings, too! Learn more here

  • Blogs
    One example of using blog posts to drive traffic to related sites you own is this recent post of mine: Domain Name Q&A which simply links back to individual threads at my discussion forum. Another example is this post: Making The Leap: From Employee to Entrepreneur, where I end the blog post by inviting them to join my discussion forum:

    If you would like my help, and the help of others like me, join us on the eBiz Discussion Forum where you can get advice about business - and get your questions answered - 7 days a week. It’s free to register, and we’d be happy to share resources and give you the answers you need to make the next move!

  • Forums
    Writing content in discussion forums, specifically for the purpose of driving traffic to your site, can be tricky. You want to use forums more for gaining exposure than direct promotion, obviously, or you will be considered a "spammer" and the strategy will backfire on you.

    But if you do provide quality tips and resources at discussion forums in your niche, it will indirectly interest the forum members (and lurkers!) in your Signature and/or Profile.

    A bad example of a forum post would be: "Yes, and you can find the answer to that on my website at tryingtopromotemysite.com. A good example is this post at my own forum by Bonnie Lowe: Getting topic ideas for your newsletter. In this post, Bonnie responds to a question with some very valuable tips - ie great content. At the end of her post is a compelling Signature that links to even more great tips from Bonnie!

  • Yahoo! Answers
    Yahoo! Answers is a site to bookmark. Its fun to ask questions and get feedback from others. But you can also answer questions, and leave a resource link. Overall it is a very active site and great for general market research.

    Here is a good example - Y!Q: We are moving to Texas and would like to buy a house. If you have a Texas or Real Estate informational website, and you can answer this ladies question, then you can write up a response (ie quality content) and use a direct link to more info as the resource link.

These are merely examples of how valuable content is to you as a site owner or online professional. If you want to drive traffic to your website, or gain exposure in your niche, publishing content in various places (in addition to your own website) is the best known strategy. Not only does it give you quality inbound links - which is great for your search engine rankings - but it gives you positive exposure to your target market as well.

This week's issue of SSWT (Self-Starters Weekly Tips) is titled 7 Quick Ideas for Writing GOOD Content! It will include 7 quick-tips for coming up with something to write about, and finding quality topic-starters that will kick-start your session when you sit down to write quality, unique content.

If you arent already an SSWT Subscriber, be sure to get on the list for these tips! This week's issue is going out this evening πŸ˜‰ (Note: that issue is now archived online, which you can find at the link above - or here)

In closing, we'll go back to this blog post being an example of unique content that provides value and includes a call to action...

The idea for the topic came to me when I was writing content for my own readers. So if you are a pet owner and you own a pet-related website, look at your own everyday 'pet experiences' for content ideas! If you are a mechanic by trade and own a do-it-yourself type site, ideas for content can be found in your own garage. etc.

To turn my idea into an article I started with some introductory paragraphs about content and how we use it, and included resources and examples. Since I already knew that my next issue of SSWT would be on a related topic, I used that as my "call to action" (ie: "be sure to get on the list for these tips!").

You can lead into any number of things with your content: a page on your site, a related product that you are recommending as an affiliate, one of your own products, Adsense blocks etc. The point is that if your reader enjoys what you have to say on a topic, let them know where they can go next... for more!

Best,

*I was actually out back in the hammock swing, sunning a bit on this unusually warm Spring day. But that's one of my own personal "secrets" for inspiration when it comes to writing content or outlining a new article: a change of scenery or environment πŸ˜‰

Related: Writing Reports for $$
Also See: 7 Quick Ideas for Writing Unique Content


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About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn’s unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews…moreΒ»

Discussion

  1. Michael Brito says:

    Hey Lynn - i like your new blog design. Couldn't find a contact link so I thought I would leave a comment.

    Michael

  2. Thank you! I'd say the contact info is still on my About page (very top) but I am still customizing this theme... so hopefully I'll have everything in place again shortly. At any rate, many thanks!

  3. That is a GREAT post Lynn, you are also one smart cookie by DOING what you TELL... πŸ˜‰

    So... next week can ya write 5 or 6 post for my blog.... πŸ˜‰ :p

    Lol.. Joking...ish! πŸ™‚

    I agree content is king... but really it's prince!

    Quality content is KING!

    Just like this post! πŸ˜€

    Thanks. Great stuff.

    Rob

    P.s Mines better I got two of the COOLEST guys on the planet in a pic on mine! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

  4. Joe Lee says:

    Hi Lynn,

    This is a great post. I agree content is king. I was looking for tips to write good content, and here you are writing about it.

    Thanks

  5. YOU have great content and are your model (posts, blog structure, etc.) is a great example to follow. Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, I like this new template and that is a great picture of you.

    πŸ˜‰ Robert

  6. Thank you, Robert πŸ™‚

  7. Hey Lynn,
    Great post! I love reading about content because I do love to write. That's a big purpose of having a blog and site, for me. Helping others with info, and writing it!
    What software do you use to get this great blog design (Blogger, Typepad, etc.)?

  8. Hi Ana,

    I am using WordPress, and installed the Presscut theme.

  9. Top Affiliate Programs says:

    Once again thanks Lynn for your motivating post here. I always try to come up with content both for my website and directory submussion.

    Sure it is difficult to do alone but I c0nstantly outsource to my writers. Thanks Lady...

  10. yes.its real hard to write content that will really captivate your target market's interest

  11. It can be, and I know a lot of online business owners struggle with that "task". However, its something I truly enjoy... and I am revealing some of my super easy 'secrets' very soon at http://www.EasyUniqueContent.com πŸ˜‰

  12. This topic can be something that makes or breaks a business, but also has to written with the target audience and their 'hot buttons' in mind.
    There is some good tips here though,
    thanks,
    Karl

  13. Hi Lynn,

    A bit behind here: first time on this blog. A great design.

    I'm going to also check out the "getting topics ideas" on the forum you have linked.

    Enjoy the day,

    Lee

  14. Thanks Lee, glad to see you here πŸ˜‰

  15. Alex from Gresham says:

    Thanks. I'm still trying to learn this skill. I will have to save this link.

  16. Hi Lynn!
    I was at the new years webinar and was so glad I went.
    It was wonderful. I got really motivated:)
    Anyways- I have been looking for ways to make article writing faster and I found Jonathan Leger's "Instant Article Wizard".
    I was just wondering what you thought about this piece of software. I searched for a link from your site to it so that I could buy it through you but didn't find one.
    I think that maybe this would be a great product to promote on your site;)
    Write back and tell me what you think.

  17. Thanks Eren - I am checking it out now. This looks like something I may be able to use myself on a current project... I'll give it a thorough review πŸ˜‰

  18. Hey Lynn. You always have a lot of cool tips.

    Could you expound upon the value/action idea?

    Sincerely,
    Devin T.

  19. Thank you Devin. Let me know what it is you are asking for specifically. I went into quite a bit of detail about both in this blog post, so I'm assuming you have something specific in mind?

  20. "There are two main things that every piece of content you write should contain: value and action. No matter what format you are writing in, or who you are writing to, what you write should be valuable to your reader. It should also lead them to the next step, or include a Ò€œcall to actionÒ€."

    I guess that was kind of a broad, annoying question that I asked. I was just wondering if there is a method to writing valuable content that will make the reader want to take action? I'm kind of methodical at times, and general outlines help me out a lot.

  21. Thanks Devin - I get what you're asking. I do have a couple of posts on that topic that I think you'll enjoy:

    http://www.clicknewz.com/630/how-to-monetize-website-traffic/

    http://www.clicknewz.com/513/call-to-action/

  22. Indeed. They were very good. Thank you for that. I do the content writing for the VestRite website, so now I have a better idea of how to rewrite the landing page, how to write article bios, and what to write about.

    I'm happy. πŸ™‚

  23. Content is indeed a major factor to look upon when creating a website, a successful one of course. There are lots of tutorials on the internet but the most important thing is that you need to know what you are writing about.

  24. article dude says:

    Great thoughts, nicely put, and I thought I'd
    add that many top internet marketers view also audio & video as content, and many will turn a $10 hard book into a $397 audio course or a $1995 video seminar.
    All from the same content as the original book πŸ™‚

  25. T Edwards says:

    Hi Lynn,
    This is an eye-opening post. As a new blogger I realized after this post that one thing that I did not consider (which I know from years in sales) is the "call to action" in my blog posts. It's the same thing as "asking for the sale" after your BIG PITCH.
    I will definitely remember the "call to action" from now on and seek to get my readers actively involved rather than simply getting them to read.

    Thanks so much!

    T

  26. Thank you T. You will probably like this post as well: http://www.clicknewz.com/513/call-to-action/ πŸ˜‰

    Enjoy blogging!

  27. Marc Norris says:

    One of my biggest pitfalls is writing and including that call to action. Sometimes I just find myself writing about the subject of the blog post without thinking about how to monetize it.

    Thanks for giving me a little kick in the behind - I'll make sure to gear my blogging to have a call to action in the article - it will be interesting to see what that little change will make in terms of site revenue.

    Thanks Lynn!

  28. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised πŸ˜‰

    Keep in mind that your call to action can be as simple as encouraging comments & feedback, or RSS/email subscriptions - in addition to sales & clicks.

  29. Asha Walter says:

    Hey Lynn,

    This article was very good in helping me to learn a couple of new tricks to add to my writing skills. I have never been very good at writing content but always try my best to create valuable content that benefits my readers. I will definately be applying the call to action in my writing.

    I have found on occasion that writing about something i felt i have had a problem with has turned out to be very good, valuable content.

    Thank you and look forward to reading more.
    Asha

  30. Very useful tips here. I have seen my traffic increasing since I put regularly posting on my blogs. Writing articles is a little bit tricky, but we must effort ourselves into writing more. We have to overcome the fear of exposure, that after all it can't be that bad, and try to also read about what we want to write about.

  31. I always get the mental block when it comes to writing clinical articles. It consumes me. I quite awed by your ability to churn out so much interesting content on your website. πŸ˜‰

  32. This blog is an inspiration to me, please write up something to explain where you find the energy and time to write up so much good content πŸ™‚

  33. Hey great post! Content will always be KING! It is all about publishing great content that attracts the attention of the right people in the right frame of mind and of course quality is more important than quantity.

  34. Blue Fox says:

    Love your writing style Lyn, very fluid and quite easy to read and follow; plus I love the varied composition of definitions, real life examples and overall storyline, very nicely done.

    Also I love how you outline the importance of a 'call to action', makes perfect sense; very useful to keep this in mind when writing posts.

    Looking forward to your future posts John

  35. Lyn nice post! Really for a blog to be successful, the content should be useful and unique to the readers. Unique and Relevant content is king!

  36. Sally Sales Job says:

    Hi there Lynn.
    I have to say that I am very new to all this Internet stuff but I am doing all the necessary reading and learning and one of the things I did come across was the content, and how important this is on a web site and the coming across you explanation, has actually put it into more perspective I have to say making it a lot easier to understand and do. I really think that I am going to gather a lot of very helpful information here, cant wait to see what else I can gather and find:) πŸ™‚

  37. ZineGuru Website Marketing says:

    Great post Lynn and nice blog. Content is the lifeblood of any internet business whether it's for reviews, articles, sales copy, blog posts, forums and more. Great content builds traffic for a long time and trust as well. One thing is it takes time to produce quality content on a regular basis but it's really worth it in the long run.

    • This is true. And while most people are out looking for the magic bullet or the easy work-around, they could easily spend that time actually writing content instead... and get much further along in shorter time.

      I often say: While everyone else is out there searching for the holy grail of internet marketing, I've been quietly blogging and working on my sites... and making great money! πŸ˜‰

  38. ZineGuru Website Marketing says:

    Yep I can't agree more. Much more valuable time could be better spent writing great content everyday and build up a useful website instead of looking for the ultimate solution to make money online. The truth is quality content sells and can be monetized in several ways. Need to be persistent and patient and the rewards will come over time. Find a passion for something, educate yourself and start generating content.

  39. Vineet Dwivedi says:

    Lexiology Dictionary http://www.lexiology.com defines content as

    (n) everything that is included in a collection and that is held or included in something

    This is more generic and not limited to the content in webpages etc.

  40. No doubt content is one of the main part of Wed but with increasing demand of multimedia (videos and pics) the value is content is going down.
    I really like web with good informative content.

  41. Hi Lynn,
    That was a good one.
    I as a blogger believe that any content writer or a blogger can create a master piece of content when he/she looks at a blank page to share his knowledge about any topic.
    And your blog will be very helpful for beginners.

  42. Hey Lynne,

    It's Chris from Australia. Thanks for a great post, I came across this on google looking for help on writing good content for my subscribers.
    Chris

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