Creating Content That Makes a Great Impression

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Many of the things writers do to create great content aren’t consciously perceived by readers. Yet these subtleties have a huge impact on how successful that content is.

Business owners who write their own content create a more polished, professional impression by avoiding these common pitfalls.

Formatting
Customers view your website with something in mind. They’re going to glance over your content quickly to see if your company offers what they’re looking for. That’s why you need to lead with your most crucial information and make sure it shines like a beacon.

Cramming all your content into one, big, run-on block of copy makes it more difficult to read, and loses your customers’ attention. As a rule, paragraphs shouldn’t be more than 30-50 words or four sentences unless it’s a scientific or technical document. Professional writers know a variety of techniques for breaking up blocks of content into easy-to-read pieces.

Don’t be afraid to use numbered or bulleted lists. They break up long copy blocks and make the important points of your content stand out. These lists should not have less than three or more than five items unless it’s a technical data sheet or other content of that type. If you’re listing steps that need to be completed in a particular sequence, or if you introduce the list with a phrase that includes a number (For example: here are five ways to write well), use numbered lists. Use bullets when the sequence of the items listed isn’t an issue. If there isn’t any logical or procedural order, alphabetize.

Make sure your content looks pleasing to the reader’s eye by using correct spacing between margins, lines and paragraphs. Your content should harmonize with your website design.

Microsoft Word has templates available to help you out with this.

The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White and “The Chicago Manual of Style” are both time-honored manuals that are also well worth checking out for assistance in this area.

Spelling Errors
Error-free content is essential for getting your message across well. There are many different ways to check your work for typos.

Programs like Grammarly or Word itself enables you to check your grammar and spelling. However, they aren’t foolproof, so use one or more of the following methods as well.

1. Having someone else proofread your content will catch errors that you may have missed
because you’ve become too familiar with what you’ve written.

2. Reading your content backward is also helpful, because you’ll focus on each word rather
than the content.

3. Between edits, clear your thoughts by reading something different. This will help you focus
on what’s actually on the page instead of what you expect to read. Waiting a few hours after
you’ve written the content before proofreading it has the same effect.

4. Every time you make changes to a draft, print out the entire document and proofread all of
it for spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

5. Be sure to view your content in its final form before publishing.

Save the Shortcuts for Driving
I know. It’s late. You’re tired. You have to finish that content by tomorrow. You still need to use articles (the, a) as well as complete words, and avoid abbreviations (like using “till” instead of “until” or “ ‘cause” instead of “because”).

Use the word “and” instead of the ampersand symbol (&), unless the content specifically requires it. The same goes for all symbols. Unless you’re writing mathematical, scientific or cooking content, take your time and use the actual words.

By following these tips, you’ll end up with content that gives an excellent first impression of your company and attracts new business.

Gina CrisciComment