Writing is hard. Especially if you aren’t a writer.
That’s a truth, but it’s also not an excuse. Every minute, Google receives 4 million search queries from people looking for information and answers that your business can and should be providing. As more people turn away from newspapers and traditional TV to provide information, your business will suffer if you’re not providing engaging content that appeals to your audience.
With writing having been established as hard, how can you make it easier on yourself? By generating a strong topic to write about.
At its minimum, a good topic is something you can write about with authority. That, however, is the minimum. Ideally, a good topic is something you can write on with authority that has relevance, simplicity, and natural appeal.
Before you write something, ask, “Why?” This isn’t an attempt to get existential, but a chance for you to think about the people who will be reading your post and why they should care. If you can’t answer “Why would someone read this?” in a way that actually serves the reader, then you shouldn’t write it. Once you establish that your topic is relevant, frame it around the question your audience would ask.
For example, the question this article is trying to answer is in the title.
If you know that only industry experts will read your post, then you have some leeway. However, the vast majority of people who are likely to see your writing aren’t as knowledgeable about your topic as you are. Don’t confuse them further, when they’re already likely to be confused and looking to learn something.
This happens when you both complicate the words you use and the message you’re trying to communicate. Don’t use jargon when writing, and make sure that you sound natural when you choose your words. Additionally, challenge yourself to sum up the entire message of your article in 140 characters (the length of a Tweet). If you can’t, consider simplifying your post until it can come through that clearly.
People need to want to read what you write, and all the relevance in the world can’t help a boring take on a boring topic. If you are looking for a fresh angle, ask your colleagues or clients for things they’re interested in learning or questions they hear over and over. By framing your words in ways people are already interested in, you have your hook.
One warning: People can smell fake. If you aren’t yourself in your writing, your audience will be able to tell and will hold it against you.
As you gain momentum, you’ll begin to see what works and what doesn’t. Eventually and with practice, one article a month becomes two, then four. Establishing what people want to read, and giving it to them, is the backbone of any good content marketing strategy.
With a good topic, writing isn’t as hard as it used to be.