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When I went from my previous job to working as an Inbound Marketing Producer at Waypost, it was a massive career shift. My interests had always been in blogging and social media, but to get paid for leveraging those interests and skills was a huge change. I had a lot to learn, and I needed to pick things up fast.
One of the most interesting skills I’ve been able to develop what I call “being an expert at everything”. HVAC systems, plumbing, bleachers, recycling, IT management, even fitness equipment and gyms; you name it, I can probably throw together a blog post on it in two days or less. While just about anyone can do a little research and write a blog, it’s all too easy to sound like the amateur to the industry that you really are.
How can you successfully take on brand new blogging topics without sounding like a novice? I have a few tips on writing content that I think will help you along.
1. Brevity is the soul of legitimacy.
Too many content marketers rely on a lot of buzzwords or long paragraphs to sound like an expert during content creation, but the end result is usually just the opposite. Rambling posts that throw in too many buzzwords are dead giveaways that the writer is trying to sound knowledgeable. My top writing tip is to take your first draft and simply write everything on your post that comes to mind. Repeating phrases, grammar mistakes, fifteen buzzwords in three sentences? Leave it all there on that first draft. Then, go over with a fine tooth comb and take out everything that isn’t necessary. Then do it again. And again. Someone who knows their stuff won’t want to waste time on unclear wording; they’ll make their point and move on. You should do the same.
2. Pick a personality and stick with it.
I always utilize a specific writing “voice”, depending on the industry I’m writing for. An IT management company won’t want to ‘sound’ the same as an HVAC repair company or a custom home builder. While you may post local community events for families with the latter two, the IT company isn’t really the place for that. Your IT ‘voice’ may be more detached and geared to a national client base, while your custom home builder ‘voice’ is more down-to-earth and rooted in the local community. It may be worth it to take down notes on what voice goes with which company, and make sure you spend some time thinking about this during your editing processes. This is a great time to go over your various buyer personas to get a feel for who you’re writing to.
3. Get specific, stay specific.
Let’s use the IT management company as an example. While writing a generic piece may seem like a great way to hide your inexperience in the industry, your readers are going to overwhelmingly consist of company employees or leaders who already know what they need and probably know most of the terminology surrounding it. Stick to specific topics, keeping in mind the subjects and keywords that potential customers are most interested in looking for. “Why IT Management is Totally the Best” is a generic blog topic and won’t appeal to nearly as many of your clients as something along the lines of “Cloud vs. Dedicated: Which Server is Right For Your Business?” You want to answer the questions your clients’ customers are asking – before they ask them, if possible.
4. Most importantly: do your research.
This seems like an obvious point, and while it is, it’s still one that gets too often neglected in the race to write quickly rather than well. It’s easy for a content writer to hop online, read two or three blog posts written for companies similar to their clients’, and not look any deeper. These companies are paying for quality content marketing, and it’s on you to provide that. Look up publications based around your clients’ industry, or websites devoted to it. Make sure that when you’re writing a blog post intended to sound like it was written by someone who has done the reading – that, well, it actually is a blog post written by someone who really has done the reading.
These four content writing tips are the first pieces of advice I’d give to inbound marketers writing content for industries they may know very little about. There’s more to it, of course, but between these basics and simply learning what works through experience and review by peers, there’s no reason you can’t take an industry you just learned about yesterday and sound like an expert when you need to.
Interested in pursuing inbound marketing or information on what services we can provide for your business, to help you grow, find new customers, and expand into online marketing? Contact Waypost to learn more! Request a consultation and we’ll look through your website or business and speak with you about your needs and what we can do to help.