If you’ve spent any time on our blog, you’ll know just how important content marketing can be for small businesses. Keeping your blog posts up to date with the latest news and features from your industry can set you apart from the competition and help you grow your market share, but it can be tough for marketing beginners to write something worth reading.

This week, we’ve created another Muffin Marketing infographic, giving you the low-down on how to become a better writer. These tips won’t turn you into a marketing whizz kid overnight, but they’ll give you food for thought and help make your content more engaging and enjoyable.

Speak the way your audience speaks

Your writing style should reflect your audience, so don’t choose a dry and formal tone for a parenting blog. Understanding your audience is so important when it comes to writing great content, so make sure you get to grips with who you’re writing for. You may want to hold a focus group, use Google Analytics to see who’s coming to your website or create buyer personas for your business to improve your chances of success. And, if you’re still struggling to really connect with your customers, consider allowing guest bloggers to pitch ideas to your website, using user-generated content to get customers on your side, or outsourcing your content marketing to an agency that knows how to interact with customers and readers.

Do your research before you write

Whether you’ve been running your own business for five years or 35 years, there’s something we’ve got to tell you: you don’t know everything. Of course, your knowledge and experience will be essential for writing in-depth, valuable content that your customers will enjoy, but you should never rest on your laurels and presume you know everything about your industry. That’s why it’s important to do your research before you write, whether that means reading other people’s blogs, asking friends and contacts for their opinions, or doing a quick Google search to find information from valuable and reputable sources, like journals.

In fact, citing references in your content can make your business appear more reputable and trustworthy, as it shows that all of your ideas aren’t just coming from your head. Keeping your content impartial, whether it’s an informational piece or just an overview of your niche, is so important, so linking to other sources makes sense. For example, if you run an arts and crafts business and you want to write a gift guide for crafts lovers, featuring only your own products can be off-putting to potential customers; going out of your way to reference others and show your understanding of the wider industry makes sense.

Plus, researching into your niche means that you’re always learning, which will not only help run your business and come up with new ideas for products and services, but it will keep your creativity on top form and help you create interesting content that customers will want to read.

Stop putting it off

When you’re working on a small business marketing strategy, it’s easy to become distracted and lose sight of your end goal. It’s even tougher when you’re marketing your business on top of running it, as there are hurdles to contend with around every corner, but it’s important to stay focused. Last year we wrote a post about just doing it – moving away from case studies and marketing blogs, and instead, throwing yourself into the deep end and putting your all into your work. If you’re dedicated and you’re prepared to make mistakes, then you’ll be successful.

Sure, there are some great copywriting blogs that will undoubtedly make you a better writer, but if you don’t put that knowledge into practice, then you’ll never become a better writer. Sitting down at your computer and putting “pen to paper”, so to speak, is the best way to improve your writing (remember that 10,000 hours can make you an expert in your field). Stop putting it off.

Take hints from the competition

If your competitor has 100 blog posts that are driving traffic to their website, then you’re already at a disadvantage. However, instead of admitting defeat and letting your competitors get even further ahead of you online, you should use their content to improve your own writing. We’re certainly not saying that you should steal content from your competitors, but you can certainly learn from their posts by seeing which are popular, how customers are engaging with them, and avoiding faux pas and mistakes from other companies to keep your own shiny and clean.

We recommend adding your competitors’ blogs to your favourites, setting up Google Alerts to track brand mentions and using SEO tools like Ahrefs to see where your competitors are getting backlinks from. By building up a picture of your competitors’ content marketing strategies, you’ll be able to create your own effective content marketing strategy that works for your goals.

Interact with your readers

Speaking to your customers is something you probably do every day, whether it’s in your shop front or online on social media. But getting down to the nitty gritty and asking customers what they think about your content can be valuable, especially if you feel as though you’re stuck in a rut and don’t know what to write about. Consider posting a feedback survey or speaking to your readers face-to-face to get their feedback and ideas; you may find that you’re missing out on a whole segment of your audience, giving you hundreds of post ideas to keep your blog ticking.

Your customers can also make you a better writer. By getting to know your target audience, you can write content that resonates with them and pushes them through your sales funnel, whether that’s getting them to sign up to your mailing list or click through and purchase something from your website there and then. Always write with your customers in mind – you’ll be glad you did.

Read, read and read

When you were a child, you were probably told that reading was good for you. When it comes to marketing your business, it is! The more blog posts, articles and newspapers you read, the more you’ll be exposed to different writing styles and content ideas that you can use for your own blog, so make sure you add lots of websites to your favourites and check them regularly for new material. You may even want to go a step further and buy books about marketing, or about your industry if you want to get a different insight into what you do. The more you read, the better.

Reading is fun!

If you don’t know where to start, then follow your competitors’ blogs, or industry-specific and niche blogs where you can leave blog comments and interact with other readers. An extra benefit of reading and commenting on other people’s blogs is that you can become part of a blogging community by contributing your ideas, and it can also improve your writing skills and put your name in front of potential customers, partners and business contacts.

If you’re still struggling to put together material that speaks to your audience, then consider the content marketing for small businesses offered here at Muffin Marketing. With years of experience, our writers can get to grips with your niche and client base and create blog posts that convert. Just get in touch today to find out more about how we can help you grow.