Welcome to our first post in a new series we’re calling Content Creator Basics. Here, we’ll share our go-to tips for flexing your freelance writer muscles—whether you’re writing content for someone else or for your own blog. Check in each month for more tips to sharpen your online content writing skills.
One of the biggest challenges a WritersDomain writer—or any writer—faces is this question: is this blog considered on-topic?
Writing content that balances accuracy, quality, and creativity is no easy feat. I hope today’s principles will help our WritersDomain writers further excel in this regard. Additionally, since we keep tabs on Google’s algorithm do’s and don’ts, I’m confident these tips will apply to anyone writing blog content for clients or for themselves.
How Does WritersDomain Define “On-Topic” Content?
When writers send in their work, the first step in our reviewing process is to determine if the blog post is on-topic. Reviewers ask themselves, “Does this topic adequately relate to the client’s services as listed on the website or to the keyword/vertical pairing?” Based on the answer, reviewers either move on in the process or ask the writer to revise their work. We want every blog post to match the client’s industry, so each post—whether it goes on their actual blog or on other websites—should add to the conversation within the industry rather than prattles on about something that people aren’t interested in or already understand.
Consider this scenario: you’re meeting with your doctor for the first time because you’ve got these terrible migraines and they won’t go away. I imagine you would be really annoyed if the doctor only talked about maintaining a healthy lifestyle—eating your fruits and vegetables, getting good sleep, and drinking lots of water. Sure, that’s helpful information, but that advice applies to everyone, and you’ve likely already implemented that advice. Wouldn’t you be a bit miffed if your doctor billed you for this superficial information?
When you write your articles, consider the audience and what they’ve come to learn. They might not be paying for a visit, but they want good answers—fast. You can create a user-friendly experience by understanding what it is they’ve come to learn about. Then, determine what information would help them specifically. Doctors see all kinds of people with various ailments, and they provide information that will help each patient rather than provide one-size-fits-all solutions.
Whether you write your own blog content or you write for other clients, your post should answer readers’ questions or point the reader in the right direction. If the content doesn’t serve that user, they will find someone else who does, and if the content suggests that another kind of professional can do the job, you’ve just done SEO work for the wrong client!
How Do I Keep My Content Creative?
Staying on-topic and relevant can be difficult to do depending on the client. Every content creator struggles with this. Even when providing content for the WritersDomain blog, we have to wonder what kinds of information we can provide to our readers that they can’t already find from other bloggers.
Luckily, you can circumnavigate this issue. Here are a few tactics to try:
1. Pick a smaller audience
This is my go-to way to find new blog post material. Say that you’re writing for a printing service: they make posters, signs, brochures—the works. They can help just about any business on the block, but a restaurant will have different needs than an indie author, a non-profit charity, or a travel agent. Try creating an avatar, or theoretical reader, and then talking to that specific type of person about how this client can help solve their problems.
2. Break down current events
Industry leaders keep up with trends or set them. If you’ve written for mechanics for the upteenth time and you have no idea what else to say, do some googling to see if there’s some news you can comment on. We’re not talking about summarizing the news. We’re talking about providing takeaways about what happened and how your client can address the consequences for the reader. If you’re writing law-related articles, this is a great way to find fresh ideas.
3. Make your advice stand out
Let’s go back to my migraine example. As someone who gets frequent migraines, I’ve heard just about every treatment option. How would you help people like me? Try determining the typical, surface-level answers and take your content to the next level. Provide some tips I probably haven’t tried or heard of yet. You may need to fall back on personal experiences, additional expertise, or a lot of research to add something fresh to trite topics.
4. Spread out your expertise
A novice content-writing mistake is sharing your best information all in one juicy post. You’ve written a showstopper post, and now you’re out of ideas. Now what? Instead, spread out your expertise for as long as you can to keep your readers intrigued and coming back for more. A lot of bloggers do this by writing out a huge series so you have to read each post to get all the information they have on one juicy topic. If a series is not ideal, brainstorm as many titles or ideations you can and keep a running list. That way you know how to divide your expertise over multiple posts instead of just one. Your list might also help later when you’re having a writer’s block or you’re on a tight writing schedule.
Where Can I Learn More About This Topic?
Hopefully, this post can help our WritersDomain writers tackle their job or help other content creators keep the good stuff coming. If you are one of our WD writers, you know you can always write in for advice or help at [email protected].
If you feel like your creativity well has run dry, I’d recommend looking for advice on Pinterest. That’s usually where I go for all kinds of writing tips so I can supply fresh content ideas for the WritersDomain blog and my own personal blog too.
Or, check out other related posts that we’ve also shared on the blog:
- How to Write About Something Close to Your Heart
- How to Decide What to Write About
- Recharge Your Creativity
- 3 Free Online Analytic Tools to Determine Your Upcoming Blog Posts
- What I Do When My Writing Space Is Killing My Creativity
Finally, you can check out our Editors’ Choice Award winners. Each month we give big monetary kudos to writers who impressed us with their approach to the keyword and their chosen topic. Consider what strategies you can take away from these examples.
Now it’s your turn. What are your go-to tips for writing on-topic content?