Good written content is like good music. Let me explain; a catchy song and a catchy blog, for example, both work by pulling on our spirit and intellect. Compelling music elevates and moves us based on our wants and needs. You could even say it’s “sensual.” Yet amongst all the complex layers of music, the architectural foundation is quite simple:
Notes become melodies. Melodies become symphonies. Multi-layered progressions of individual notes, existing around us as they have done since the first humans started humming.
Writing that Works ✍️
And this is similar to words. Words become sentences. Sentences become stories. Without structure, a single word means next to nothing. Like plain Cheerios without the honey, each of these words alone aren’t provoking:
Mouse. Water. Chocolate. Wire.
Words are stirring and with the right structure and outline, they become powerful. After reading this blog, you'll have a better understanding of what aspects to consider when formatting and outlining your own blog. There’s no doubt in the strength of words to spark and ignite emotions in each of us.
Unlocking emotions with words.
At the end of the day, if there’s one thing people remember, it’s how you made them feel. Every great piece of writing understands the reader's pain points, challenges and goals. With the right communication, your writing can evolve into something deeper, building relevance and resonance.
We all carry a preference to the content that attracts, engages, and delights us. A word alone is often not enough, but when the right words are woven together, they become symphonic. An orchestra of words tells the story.
But even then, it needs structure. Just like every orchestra has a conductor and assembly, every piece of writing carries a specific architecture of hierarchy and assembly. This includes keywords, headlines, supporting body copy, callouts and much more.
This is the key to unlocking the emotions you want to conduct to your readers. It’s not magic, it’s copywriting.
Formatting Best Practices For Conversions 🥇
The greats of content curation understand the “curse of knowledge” and its importance to writing well. Before you even begin writing your blog, website or whatever that is being put out into the universe, ask yourself some important questions: what do you know that the reader doesn’t? What does the audience know that you don’t?
These questions are essential. This moment before you begin creating your outline is the only time you’re on the same playing field as your audience.
Ask yourself, what's the reader going to get out of the content? The answer is your copy’s focal point. This keeps the content on topic.
The importance of appropriate outlining sets the guardrails, which in turn sets the right expectations for your readers.
Plan and structure, outlining keywords.
Creating an outline branching from a single idea isn't easy. In fact, it can be scary. Staring at the blank page in front of you while the blinking text cursor mocks the void of rigid, unyielding nothingness on the page.
Use the single idea as the foundation. Identify the main points you want to get across to your readers. These points should be captivating, and are the reasons the reader should keep reading.
With a strong outline and structure, you're almost ready to create great content. The main points provide an opportunity to find keywords for the content. Keywords help with optimization (more on that later).
Avoid “keyword stuffing.” Squeezing keywords in your copy is like trying to squeeze into your favorite pants. It can be painful and breaks the natural rhythm or voice of your content. It also leads to penalties in search rankings.
Your blog should be formatted (keywords and all) so it can be found on the web, but your readers are humans, not robots. Keeping your main points native rather than intrusive is a great way to fit your keywords in without the awkward stuffing.
For example, “Mouse, Water, Chocolate, Wire” are synonyms with “Rodent, H20, Cocoa, Cable” but it doesn’t mean you have to squeeze every possible variation someone would type in their search bar to find what you’re referencing.
Stay focused on writing to the outline, and using keywords where appropriate.
Straight to great communication.
Use your outline to create a strong foundation for the overall messages you want to communicate. From there, create simple synergy in your text by focusing on the single idea and purpose of the content.
Pitch one baseball and the batter will probably hit it. Pitch five baseballs at once and the batter is going to miss them all — and have a possible concussion. Your single uniform idea should branch into headings and subheads in the order you want to convey them. Each branch supports the original idea.
For example, H1 - Do’s and Don'ts of Having a Pet Mouse, H2 - Importance of Water, H3 - Diets of Mice & Avoiding Chocolate, H4 - Why to Keep Wires Away From Mice.
Write with your eraser.
The first draft of anything is often trash. Learn to edit and refine. Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword was right, but scissors (and an eraser) are even mightier than the pen when it comes to copy.
A study by psychologist and doctor Daniel Oppenheimer, at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, found big words make you appear less credible and confident. In his essay, Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly, (ironic title?) he says to make it easy for the information to be unpacked in order to keep your reader’s attention.
“The Ecstatic Repercussions and Benevolence of Domesticating a Rodent” comes off a lot less welcoming (and less credible) than, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Having a Pet Mouse.”
Big words drift away from personable and conversational tones in the writing. Unless you’re a robot trying to communicate to other robots — then by all means go right ahead.
Snackable, skimmable, and structured hierarchy.
If you got a dollar for every music to writing metaphor I make, you would have $3 by now. Well, make that $4 — every song has a multitude of elements which create a hierarchy of layers that together make music, from the vocals, instruments, bridges, verses, to the chorus and so on. Writing also carries hierarchy. This can be seen from the headline, subheads, body copy, call to action and more. This allows the reader to skim. We all skim because we are human, and we like easy. Organize so the content is not only structured but also snackable.
The positives of negative space.
I feel sorry for the above paragraph. It’s well written, but you weren’t attracted to it because of the absence of skimmable content and white space.
Before your brain reads something, your eyes inspect it. If that paragraph were written with white space and skimmable content, readers would be drawn to it.
When you read something, your eyes buzz your brain and contemplate how it feels. And your brain either commits to reading more because it’s “Easy” or “Darn, that’s a lot of words.”
Using negative space allows the reader to focus on the content, not the clutter.
Content Optimization for Improved SEO 🔎
Even if Edgar Allen Poe himself is shaking with envy in his grave because your masterful content, it won't matter if no one reads it.
If your content can’t be located by the appropriate audience, if it's lost in the internet, then it's as useless as the domain crouton.net.
Strategic search attracts traffic.
Keywords are the most effective way to drive traffic to your content. Effective keywords are strategic as well as powerful. Using them in headlines carries value throughout your entire work.
Not only do they guide the reader, but they house search terms and phrases one might type into their search bar to learn more about the topic.
Your headlines and subheads should be articulated based on what your audience is curious about. What are they trying to learn? What benefits are they getting from reading your content? What questions are you answering for them?
Keywords act as a guide to the search terms you wish to rank for. So, people searching for this kind of content, your target customers, can find your content.
If you know your audience, and know the questions they have and search terms they use, then you can write content for them. You can answer their questions.
Impactful impressions with meta descriptions.
Once you have a search strategy in mind, it's time to create an effective meta description. This is the short and precise blurb you see under the page's link in the search engine results page (SERP).
Your meta description is essential because this is the first impression, and often the only impression, you have to entice someone to click on your page.
A great meta description understands the intent of the people who conducted the search. It comes down to understanding your audience and who you want to reach.
Captioning with alt-text.
Also consider adding alt-text to any images included.
Alt-text is not only a useful feature for visually impaired users, who can use a screen reader in conjunction with your alt-text to better understand an on-screen image, it’s also great for users who may not be able to access the image. For example, in areas that may not have good internet access to download an image, they can use the page with alt-text.
In addition to all that useful goodness, alt-text also provides search engines additional image context when your web page is analyzed. Alt-text is your opportunity to help the search engine better index your photo and content, so make sure to use it!
From URL to links.
Every single piece of the content, from the URL to the embedded links, is an opportunity to optimize for search.
If the URL is filled with excessive symbols and it looks like it was Egyptian hieroglyphics carved inside an ancient pyramid, chances are people aren't going to click there for information. A clean and precise URL helps your approachable content to shine through.
Backlinks and hyperlinks from reputable sources strengthens your credibility and help increase page ranking.
A pro tip when linking external websites: consider configuring content to open in a new window. That way, you're being helpful without redirecting the traffic you worked hard to attract to your page in the first place.
Communication to Consumers, with GO2 Partners 🔑
Feeling overwhelmed? Successfully creating content can be a lot to take in all at once.
Good copy is evocative, compelling and informative. Use your knowledge of the audience to tap into your readers’ feelings by being evocative. Compel them by inspiring action. Be informative and helpful.
Need help? Learn how to reach new opportunities by evolving your data and insights with GO2 Partners.
Transform your content to make a real impact and reach your best potential customers. If you’re looking to rally your target audience, build brand authenticity and learn how to differentiate from competitors, thank yourself later and contact us today:
Add your email and name in the boxes below so you don’t miss out on more sweet and practical blog posts on the latest news and trends from GO2 Partners.
Go on, don’t be shy.