Trick to Write Good Content: Keep in Mind The 3 ‘Ws’ of Effective Writing
A friend, after several failed attempts at clearing the IELTS, asked me, “What’s the big deal about saying ‘a garden’ instead of ‘the garden’? My honest answer would have been the difference between clearing and not clearing the IELTS. However, I brought out my suave self and explained the difference. I don’t know if I made much sense to him, but looks like he did take me seriously. He cleared the next test and moved to Canada for his happily ever after.
The Oxford English Dictionary explains language as “the system of communication in speech and writing that is used by people of a particular country or area.” Language may look like a simple tool for communication, but how you use it determines how effective the communication will be. Today, we will look at how you can turn a plain piece of writing into an effective communication plan that is set to achieve measurable targets and goals.
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The Three ‘Ws’ of Content Writing
Do you remember the dreaded essay writing assignments in school—mugging up textbooks only to fill exam sheets? Now, replace mugging up with online research—and that’s exactly what most writers do to complete their writing assignments and meet word count requirements. The result is generic, ineffective content that reads like either a cheap or fancier copy of what is found about the said topic on the World Wide Web.
You can break the vicious cycle of writing online content by referring to online resources by keeping in mind the three vital ‘Ws’ of content creation. The three Ws will determine your approach to the content you are about to write or develop.
WHY am I Writing This Content?
Writing for self-expression and writing for a target audience or customer base are two very different things. No rules apply as long as you are writing for your own pleasure. You can choose your language, tone, expressions, vocabulary, and more to make it as personal as you want.
However, the moment you start writing for somebody else, be it an individual or a wider reader base, you must consider their choices, preferences, requirements, and comprehension levels to create content that is well accepted and understood. Neither should your message get lost before it achieves its purpose, nor should you lose your audience because you couldn’t think from your readers’ perspective.
WHO is The Target Reader for My Content?
Once you know why are you writing whatever you are about to write, you will have a clearer idea about who is this content intended for. Most self-expression writings are meant for personal pleasure and satisfaction; some writers may put them out on public platforms for anybody who cares.
But, most content you come across on the Internet is developed with a purpose and target audience in mind. Focusing on content development for business purposes, there are three categories of content creation:
1. Business to Consumers (B2C)
This content is created by businesses to increase awareness about their products and services, and attract potential customers, who are mostly individuals. Here, you mainly write to end-users as a business seeking conversions and sales.
An example: You are a sunscreen manufacturer developing content for consumers. Your writing approach will be telling your potential customer about the benefits of using sunscreen and how your product could be a great choice for them.
2. Business to Business (B2B)
This content is created by a business to pitch its products or services to another business. Your writing approach here will be more data and measurable output driven. You are not addressing consumers who care about the product’s cost or effectiveness. Instead, your writing should focus on how your product can drive growth and better profit margins for the business you are targeting.
Recommended Reading: Easy Way to Understand The B2B Sales Funnel & How to Build One for More Sales
Going by the same example given above: Say, a sunscreen manufacturer approaching a cosmetic-specific e-commerce website.
3. Business for Business (B4B)
That’s us! While most businesses know what they are selling and who are they selling it to, writing effective content to drive conversion and sales requires a completely different set of expertise and skills. In the ever-evolving and dynamic digital space, it is not easy to understand and cater to the demands of your target audience and create brand loyalty. This is where your skills and expertise as a writer are put to test. Here, you must understand the personality of the business on whose behalf you are writing, and that of the target reader (individual consumers or businesses) that you are writing for.
Recommended Reading: Content Writing 101: How to Become a Successful Content Writer
For example, if you are writing on behalf of the sunscreen manufacturer, then you are also establishing their image in the market. How you write content—the tone, vocabulary, style, narrative, language, and depth—will affect the brand’s personality and positioning in the market. Remember, your writing can make or break it for them.
Recommended Reading: (Free Cheatsheet) 12 Grammar Tips for Content Writers Who Pursue Perfection
WHAT Do You Want to Say?
Identifying the purpose and audience for your content is half the job done. Well almost!
If you are writing for yourself without the consideration of an audience, you are lucky. You have nothing to lose. However, if you are writing to connect with a reader base to make them think, feel, consider, do, or even buy something, then you need to plan better. Research, create an outline for your content, and be clear about what you want to say—exact words, expressions, and narrative. Depending on the WHY and WHO, you may want to use a formal or informal tone, jargon-heavy or casual style, describe or inform your reader about something, and educate them about the advantages and disadvantages of something (read, buy your product or services).
You could be writing as the brand (B2C and B2B) or as the trusted representative of a brand (B4B). Either way, you must plan and navigate your writing, using appropriate language, tone, style, narrative, and character, to make the reader believe and follow you.
Food for Thought
Answers to these “W”s form a solid foundation for the content you are to build on it. This content would have a purpose and well-thought approach. Next is the process you must chalk out to give form to your idea and message. A meticulous process will ensure well-rounded content which will not only convey the message you want to tell your readers effectively, but will also be a pleasure for them to indulge in. Are you wondering how to put together an efficient process? Well, let’s keep that for another day.