Digital marketing is by far one of the most important things for any business. In a time when almost every single person around the globe uses the Internet on a daily basis, advertising online is more than “just optional”. But an even bigger revelation is the fact that digital marketing is not just about PPC ads or social media management – it’s about writing.
Indeed, without good texts, no digital marketing strategy can succeed. That’s exactly why it’s crucial for business owners, entrepreneurs, marketers, and other professionals to understand how to make the most out of their writing efforts. What follows are the eighteen actionable writing tips to improve your digital marketing strategy.
1. Use Fewer Lines in Paragraphs
As simple as it may sound, reducing your paragraph length can make a difference for the overall readability of your texts. Moreover, your content will now look more visually appealing compared to being a single block of text.
Yoast SEO recommends that you keep paragraph length under 150 words. You can get up to 200 words, but that’s already stretching it. Another interesting finding is from the social media expert who found that line length (how wide your paragraph is) should be around 40 to 55 characters for maximum comprehension.
2. Format for Easier Scanning and Skimming
Speaking of paragraph length and width, formatting your writing also plays a role in how easy it is to scan or skim your text. Considering that most people don’t actually read content but rather only scan or skim it, it is crucial for you to format your text correctly.
Don’t just break up your 1000+ word article into paragraphs – use subheadings to clearly show where each section of the article begins. Moreover, use lists (numbered and bullet-point), quotes, links, etc. to format your text even further and make it more readable.
3. Prioritize Verbs and Get Rid of Adverbs
One of the most popular proofreading and editing tools on the web doesn’t focus solely on grammar and spelling, but instead highlights adverbs in your text and asks you to get rid of them. That’s the approach of Hemingway Editor, an app that takes Ernest Hemingway’s writing principles and teaches you how to use them to enhance your writing.
Another thing you can do is prioritize verbs. Verbs allow you to focus on actions instead of descriptions which will make your text feel less passive. This approach will literally make your writing more actionable.
4. Write in Active Voice and Avoid Passive Voice
Just like using more verbs can improve your texts, writing in active voice and avoiding passive voice can help tremendously as well. By using verbs in active voice, you “charge them up”, so to say, and give them a sense of immediacy.
On the other hand, if you use too much passive voice, your writing can sound awkward. Moreover, your CTAs won’t work at all in passive voice.
5. Be Smart with Jargon and Buzzwords
It can be very tempting to use a lot of industry jargon to show off your knowledge, but overusing it is not a good choice. You don’t necessarily have to stop using jargon altogether – you just have to be smart about it.
And the same goes for buzzwords. The more you and your industry peers repeat the same words and phrases over and over again, the more they lose their meanings. That’s why you should use jargon and buzzwords sparingly only when it is appropriate and relevant.
6. Grab Attention with One-Word Sentences
One-word sentences can be incredibly good at grabbing attention. Period. And the best part is that they are perfectly correct when it comes to grammar. You just have to learn where and how to use them right.
One-word sentences can be used in all kinds of forms:
- Question (e.g. “Why?”)
- Command (e.g. “Wait!”)
- Declarative (e.g. “Me.”)
- Location (e.g. “There.”)
- Nominative (e.g. “Problems.”)
- And more…
7. Opt for Gender-Neutral Terms
No, this is not just about following the latest trends on diversity and inclusivity. By opting for gender-neutral terms, you will be reaching out to every member of your audience and showing them that you care about everyone.
Besides, most high-profile institutions have adopted gender-neutral language a long time ago. For instance, the European Parliament even offers multi-lingual guidelines that can be a great starting point for your own English-language content guidelines.
8. Let Your Opinion Stand Out
Of course, this tip largely depends on the brand voice you use for your texts. For instance, if you usually write in the third person, it may be difficult to integrate your opinion into your writing. However, it’s still worth doing.
To establish yourself as an authority in your field, you should actually show that you are one. Use words and phrases such as “We/I think”, “We/I believe”, “We/I recommend”. These show what you and/or your organization think about certain matters which can also help you shape your brand identity.
9. Mix Statistics with Storytelling
Statistics are most often used to persuade the audience. Storytelling is used to connect with it (but also persuade it). So, why not use them both? Instead of choosing between the two, mix them in your writing for an even greater effect.
Experts from a reviews site of legit research paper writing services explain, “Some people will tend to value facts more while others are governed by emotions. You can’t always guess what kind of audience you will have, so it’s best to use both statistics and storytelling to appeal to both types of readers.”
10. Improve the Flow of Your Text
As mentioned earlier, readability is important for your writing because it allows your audience to scan or skim through your text faster. However, formatting is not the only way to improve readability. Your flow can also make a difference.
To put it simply, your sentence length matters as much as your paragraph length. American author Gary Provost advises writers to use a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Here’s his example:
“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”
11. Reference Other Pieces of Content
Digital marketing is a very broad approach which means you are constantly working with a variety of channels and types of content. This is why cross-posting and cross-promotion are often recommended while aligning your strategy for different platforms is valued above all else. Consequently, it’s a good idea to reference other pieces of content you publish.
For instance, when you make a post on Instagram, you can refer to one of the YouTube videos you did on the topic. You don’t even have to promote the said video – you can just mention it. Audience members who have seen it will get the reference while others may get interested and will decide to check it out.
12. Use Reddit and Quora Questions as Titles
By all accounts, voice search is growing rapidly which is why so many businesses are starting to optimize their content for voice search. Doing so is different from regular SEO because people speak differently than they write when they search for things online.
That’s why optimizing for voice search means using much longer keywords. A good tactic to consider for voice search optimization is using Reddit and Quora questions as titles for your content. This way, you are pretty much reusing the precise wording a real person used.
13. Combine Long-Tail and Short-Tail Keywords
That being said, it’s still not a good idea to simply stick to long-tail keywords onwards. Instead, you need to combine long-tail and short-tail keywords for maximum effect. The two types of keywords can complement each other.
For example, short keywords can “guide” your keyword strategy, so to say. At the same time, longer keywords that are more targeted will help you rank easier and allow you to reach more niche audiences.
14. Cite Experts and Past Customers
While it’s important to position yourself as an authority in your field, you should also remember that your audience might not see you as one all the time. That’s why you should cite experts and past customers.
By citing experts in your field, you show that you know other authorities in your niche. And by citing past customers, you are pretty much using social proof to show that your audience trusts you already.
15. Sprinkle CTA Throughout Your Text
Most of the time, the CTA is placed closer to the end of your article, social media post, etc. And that’s totally fine because it helps you remind your reader to perform a particular action after reading your post.
But another great idea is to sprinkle your CTA throughout the text. Of course, you should avoid repeating the same thing over and over again, so try to paraphrase your CTA and use it a limited number of times.
16. Optimize Text Length by Format
While the aforementioned guidelines for paragraphs are certainly helpful, you should still keep in mind the peculiarities of different formats. Here are the ideal text lengths you should stick to:
- Tweet: 100 characters
- Facebook post: less than 40 characters
- Google+ headline: less than 60 characters
- Regular headline: 6 words
- Regular blog post: 1,600 words (7 minutes)
- Email subject line: 28-39 characters
- Presentation: 18 minutes
- Title tag: 55 characters
- Domain name: 8 characters
17. Double Check Punctuation
Grammar, spelling, punctuation, wording – all of it needs to be checked once you are done writing. But you should pay special attention to punctuation because even a minor mistake can change the meaning of your entire sentence. Writing service reviews brings up the perfect example:
“Woman, without her man, is nothing.”
“Women, without her, man is nothing.”
Commas are important!
18. Spend More Time Editing
Last but not least, always remember to spend enough time editing your text before it is published anywhere. This may seem like the final step that doesn’t have to be treated all that seriously, but it can actually be detrimental to your text’s quality.
Forbes stresses the importance of having a coherent editing process. Your company should have a set of content guidelines that must be applied to every created text. Proofreading and editing are all about following these guidelines.
The bottom line is that digital marketing is a broad term, but at its core, all of your online advertising is governed by texts. The more you enhance your texts, the more effective they will be. There are different techniques you can try to improve your writing, but it’s always important to keep experimenting and looking for further innovation.