High-quality and engaging content plays a vital role in making a website successful. It is crucial for keeping visitors on the website and earning an excellent search engine ranking. Since many websites rely heavily on search engine traffic (sometimes as high as 90 percent), it makes the difference between success and failure. It is true that attractive design is important in making the first impression but unique, informative website content will keep visitors coming back again and again. The leading and most reputable search engine, Google, is very particular when it comes to content on a site. If you have poor-quality content on the website, your website will not rank on Google – no matter how good your website looks to the visitors. It’s true – Google cares more about the content itself. That is why we are giving you these 11 freelance content writer tips.
Are you a freelance content writer? Here are some tips!
As a freelance content writer or a solopreneur that has create content for himself, you should focus on writing content that will boost your SEO rankings, gain traffic, and generate leads or sales! Google has made it very clear that they will penalize websites with duplicate content. In other words, they are going to reward good websites that have quality content. So, if you have high-quality content on your website, you will have good exposure on a search engine. And this will have a positive impact on your business.
It is obvious you will have content on your website for visitors and, ultimately, your business or if you are a freelance content writer, for your clients. So you need to do it right the first time. Here, we will share some tips for creating unique, engaging content that gets shared.
1. Develop original content
As we already mentioned, go with original content as it goes a long way with Google and with your visitors. Google will penalize your website if you have copied the content, and this can impact your position in a big way. You should always have something useful for your visitors. If no one else covers that topic, even better! Do your research before writing anything. Find out what topic and point of view is original, and give that gift to your readers.
2. Focus on crafting strong headlines and punch lines
A strong headline or punch line will attract your visitors’ attention. It will invite your readers to invest time to read what you have to say. It is the first thing that will grab the attention of the readers. So, invest time in crafting attractive and meaningful headlines. If the headline doesn’t attract readers, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the copy is. What’s that? Were you never good at writing headlines? Don’t worry, Pauline Cabrera from Twelweskip.com has your back. Check out hers: “100+ Blog Post Title Templates That Grab Attention.” Yeah, that is a great title, and we know you are going to click on that one. That’s exactly what you should be doing.
Learn why “will make you” is the best headline – Research by Buzzsumo
3. Create actionable content
One of the most important freelance content writer tips is that your content should be meaningful for your readers. It should give help them understand how to apply the information you have provided them. When you are creating a blog, give users tips on applying what you are offering them. Your focus should be on creating something that will spark ideas for the users. This will also help you avoid passive voice. Remember, your content cannot contain more than 10 percent content written in the passive voice. There are SEO WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO that you can install that automatically track passive voice percentage for you.
4. Show accuracy in reporting and sourcing information
Imagine a situation here. You have written a blog post and the information in it turns out to be inaccurate. What impact will it have on your business reputation? People will stop trusting you. So be accurate in reporting as well as sourcing your content. If you are linking to other websites, ensure they are quality websites. This will help you earn trust from your readers – just like we did before with the Buzzsumo research. If you link to a bad website, not only can Google associate you as a bad website, but also if that page is deleted, you are sending your readers nowhere. That is not good for your readers, for your business, or your website.
5. Write thought-provoking content
An engaged audience will take an interest if your content is engaging and thought-provoking. You can make your content thought-provoking by leaving your users with questions and using a promising introduction. Creating appealing stories will also help because people love to read stories. These introductions can be used in social media, ads, and at the beginning of a blog post. Here’s an example.
Sorensen Communications forgets to renew their domain name. Ends up paying a fine of 3 million dollars! – Read here who else had similar misfortune, and why Sorensen Communications had to pay such a hefty fine.
6. Use images, videos, tweets, and other embeds
It has been observed that people are more attracted to images and videos, and they learn better by hearing or seeing visuals. Use images, diagrams, presentations and videos as they will help you illustrate your point. Just like I did it in this guide in how to get the best email address. Whatever the topic, add pictures and videos as these days no one is interested in reading a long, boring paragraph. It also helps to use third-party embed options like tweets, Quora questions, and Quora answers! This helps spark a debate or provides an alternative opinion from an objective source (someone you don’t personally know).
— є ℓ у ѕ є ✺ (@elyseperez06) November 8, 2017
7. A great freelance content writer writes a short and crispy content
Nothing is better than short, crisp content. As a freelance content writer, you need to write to the point and fill your blog with lots of information your users are interested in. Avoid long sentences and make the content scannable. That way, someone with a short attention span or very little time can get value out of your post.
So don’t take the job of writing content for your business lightly and use correct grammar, title, and format your content properly. More on this in point number nine. You can write content in various formats besides our central topic here (content writing tips for your blog). You can write content in the form of long- and short-form blogs, articles, infographics, whitepapers, e-books, presentations and more. I’ve tried all of them and each is different and unique.
8. Write different content-length: long and short-form blogs
Long blogs are blogs with more than 1500 words. They are more popular as they contain a lot of information and help solve many questions for the users. If they contain great value, they are considered pillar content. Even SEO experts prefer long blogs because in most cases they rank better in Google search results. Short blogs have a word limit in between 250 to 1000 words. As the length of this kind of blog is shorter, the content should be good enough to engage the audience. I like to stay between 1000 and 2000 words. In most cases, I manage to write what’s on my mind, but not have to spend a lot of time creating the content. Once, I wrote a blog post with 5000 words titled “Is this your online marketing grind?”. Suffice to say, it took me a while.
What I am trying to say is that sometimes you will have to write long form, and sometimes it is good to write short form. There’s no point in taking the reader on a long journey if the reader is looking for a yes or no answer.
9. Different type of content
In order to make your website more interesting, professional and engaging, you should create a diverse type of content.
- Videos: people love digital content in the form of videos. If you have an appealing video, your job is done. It will work wonders.
- Infographics: are a visual representation of information. It is one of the most shared content types as compared to other types of content.
- E-books: are an effective way of sharing your information with others. When you are writing an e-book, ensure you divide all the information into small topics so that readers can easily grasp what you want to say.
10. Use translators, proofreaders or advanced tools
If like me, freelance content writers that were not born in an English-speaking country, but want to write in English, you’d better make sure your writing level is higher than that of a 10-year-old.
For example, I have been writing and speaking in English intensively for six years straight, and still I pay my proofreader to check my text (bless you, Robin, for checking up on me, like you are doing right now), and recently I installed a tool called Grammarly that follows me everywhere I go, and reminds me when I wrote “then” instead of “than” or when I misspell scannable, as I did just a moment ago. In my opinion, this is a must for any freelance content writer.
11. Update your content
As I write these words I am actually updating an old blog post! And so should you! If you can create a more relevant, updated content you definitely should. For some people, one year of writing is a long time, and their style can improve or change! This is another reason why you should update your content, not just for Google rankings.
Here are a few tips to have in mind when you are updating old content.
- Don’t change your URL, (if you are using WordPress, that’s your slug)
- It is a good idea to put a year or a number in the title, but don’t put it in the URL or your image (like I did here #facepalm)
- Update publishing date of the blog post if it’s a significant update
- It is OK to delete parts of old dated content that’s no longer helping the reader
Concluding these freelance content writer tips
I hope that these freelance content writer tips gave you some ideas and put you on the right course. If you only do what we mentioned here, you should be on your way as a freelance content writer. We know there are many more content writing tips. Which ones do you think we missed?