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Content Strategy 101: the essential elements of content writing

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Know about the must-haves for long-form content pieces

Content writing is like a strategic game, where each piece of content is an opportunity to capture the attention of readers. When you are starting as a content writer, it’s normal to be in the dark about them. As someone who would throw all of her thoughts onto a page with no definitive layout, I used to treat my writing like a junk drawer! I would go on and on about a chosen topic with no end in sight.

So, learning how to dig deeper into topics of research that contribute to my writing process, using compelling copies and hooks to keep readers interested, learning the essential elements a piece of writing should have and knowing how to layout my thoughts neatly…all of these things have drastically contributed to how I write and the quality of my writing. I’d like to share these elements with all fellow aspiring writers to keep in mind while writing a piece of content. Whether it is a blog, an article or an essay!

The importance of research: the foundation for your content

Without proper research, your content may lack substance and credibility. Research not only adds depth and detail to your content but also helps you to better understand your audience and their needs.

The example of Airbnb shifting its communication strategy during the pandemic highlights the importance of research as the foundation for content creation. Airbnb conducted thorough research to understand the evolving demands and concerns of its target audience. Based on their findings, they updated their website and messaging to emphasize health and safety measures. This personalized approach helped them connect with customers on a more personal level during difficult times. The example illustrates how research enables content creators to understand their audience, address specific needs, and create engaging content. Without research, content may lack substance and credibility, making it difficult to connect with readers effectively.

Similarly, it is important to gather the right information and stay “in the know” so that you can frame your thoughts and relay your research in a personalised manner. With so much information readily available today, it is important to see what you can add to your content to make it stand out and what element of your content clicks and connects with readers.

A headline hook: the initial lock-in

This step is crucial and that is because it is the word version of a first impression. Your headline is what is going to pique curiosity and prompt readers to keep reading.

An example of a company that excels in creating catchy and captivating headlines is Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed’s headlines are often phrased as questions, listicles, or bold statements that make readers curious in knowing more.

A catchy and captivating headline is what “hooks” readers and reels them into the rest of the content!

The great divide: splitting your content into sections

It’s imperative to split the content into sections. This makes it easier to consume the information provided without overwhelming the readers. Sections act as signposts that guide readers through your piece and keep them engaged by providing clear structure and direction.

This is something that made a huge difference as I used to put out idea after idea, cramming all the thoughts I had into one giant paragraph that went on for 15 lines, thinking, if the content is interesting, people will read it. Which isn’t quite true. Do you know that the human attention span of our current generation on social media is around 8 seconds?

That is why it is important to be well-versed with the “Know-hows” to keep readers engaged. Learning the importance of segmenting the content with catchy subheadings changed my writing game drastically.

Green text in bold reads ‘The great divide’ beside icons resembling pages with titles, ‘Introduction’, ‘Subheading’, and ‘CTA.’

The introduction: your thoughts in a nutshell

The introduction section covers your topic in a nutshell, giving readers some insight into what they’re in for as they continue to read. It is important to remember to provide just enough information to hook your readers in without giving too much away.

You want to encourage readers to keep reading to know more about the ideas or concepts that you bring to the table with this first section of a piece of writing. This is where the introduction swoops in to render the beginning of your content complete!

A company that stands out for its ability to write attention-grabbing introductions and set the tone with creative language is The New York Times.

The New York Times article titled "There's a Name for the Blah You're Feeling: It's Called Languishing" explores the concept of languishing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The writer effectively sets the tone by giving a personal anecdote to introduce the term and capture readers' attention. This example showcases the importance of a concise and attention-grabbing introduction in content writing.

It provides readers with a nutshell overview of the topic, sparking curiosity and encouraging further reading. Crafting an impactful introduction is crucial as it determines whether readers will engage with the rest of the content. Studying well-crafted introductions, like the one in this article, helps content writers learn how to summarize their thoughts effectively and create compelling openings.

Text: “There’s a name for the blah you’re feeling: it’s called languishing.” with a subheading comparing the neglect of a middle child to struggling mental health.

Compelling subheadings: the intrigue continues

Think of subheadings as the "glue" that holds your content together. Without effective subheadings, readers can quickly become overwhelmed and lose interest in your writing.

By crafting compelling subheadings, you can break up long blocks of text, highlight key points, and create a sense of anticipation for what's coming next. So, don't overlook the power of subheadings - they can transform an ordinary piece of writing into a captivating and easy-to-follow journey for your readers.

Having a strong CTA: help readers take action

When writing about the products or services, CTA’s are unmissable prompts for potential customers. You’ve explained the components of your business, products or services through the writing process, and now you give readers a chance to act on the information that they’ve consumed or a chance to interact with or connect to the brand further! CTA’s are must-haves for content related to businesses.

Somewhere between a “Discover how our product can help your business save time and money. Request a demo today!” and a “Don't miss out, join our exclusive community today!” lies your ability to convert your readers into customers or clients.

Once you have these steps down, you’re good to go!

In conclusion, you will find that incorporating these elements into your writing process drastically increases the quality of your content and enhances interaction with your readers, making your article or blog mutually beneficial for yourself and your audience.

Of course, the strategy and process will differ if the nature and format of your content need to be different.

Ensuring that your content has these essential elements will prove to go a long way in your journey as a professional writer. Learning these small but effective tips helped me turn my content around and upgrade the quality of my work and I believe that you too can build a stronger connection with your audience by implementing the same!



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