Stretching the truth may work for lawyers or politicians, but not for content marketers.

These days, it seems like every celebrity, entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom has published a book chock full of life stories or tips for getting rich. It’s clear that a lot of people consider themselves writers, but how many of them actually have something valuable to say?

As a content marketer, it’s in your best interest to skip the bull and focus on what’s important — achieving your brand goals and offering something useful to readers. Here’s how:

1. Write Simply

Fight the urge to show off your knowledge with superfluous language and industry jargon. Write like you’re speaking to a family member or friend. If your content is relatable, your brand will be more likable.

2. Write Honestly

Everyone knows the old adage that “honesty is the best policy,” and the same is true for writing. If you stretch the truth, even a little, your insincerity will show. Today’s consumers value authenticity above all, so use your content as an opportunity to showcase the originality of your brand.

2. Be Yourself

Don’t try to impress your target audience by pretending to be something you’re not. While it’s important to connect with your readers, it’s just as important to stay true to your core values. Find the sweet spot where your brand persona and fans’ interests overlap.

3. Don’t Lie

Never overstate or exaggerate the truth. Verify every fact, no matter how straightforward it may seem. One false statement can ruin your reputation as a brand, potentially steering fans into the arms of your competitors.

4. Write With a Plan

After you’ve chosen a topic, outline the key points you need to make. Then, be intentional with every paragraph or bulleted point you write. This will help you stay focused on accomplishing your own goals and fulfilling the needs of your target audience.

5. Write in the Active Voice

Sentences written in passive voice tend to be overly lengthy, weak, and vague. The active voice, on the other hand, is simple, direct, and personal. Consistently writing in the active voice ensures that your content is as straightforward as possible.

6. Write With Urgency

First things first — spend time crafting a compelling headline that accurately represents the content to follow. Then, write a killer opening that answers an important question upfront. You want to demonstrate the quality and value of your content as soon as possible, so your readers make it to the end and keep coming back for more.

7. Provide Answers

It may be tempting to come up with an enticing headline that draws readers in, only to follow it up with speculative content that fails to deliver on what was promised. Remember: content marketing is not about you, it’s about your audience. Most of your readers are looking for actionable advice. Give them what they want, or they’ll look elsewhere for real answers and productive takeaways.

8. Edit, Edit, Edit

Tighten up your sentences, cutting as much fluff as possible. Eliminate irrelevant tangents, anecdotes, or anything that distracts from your story.

We can’t all be the next Shakespeare, but at the very least, we can write clearly, honestly, and purposefully. Hopefully, these tips help you write your way to content marketing success.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into an authoritative trade publication. Click to learn more about how to produce great content and prove ROI on your marketing efforts.

Author Ami Foote

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Ami is a staff writer at L&T. She has previously written for Ireland.com, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Britax Child Safety, and a variety of non-profits around the country. On a good day, you can find Ami obsessively consuming one or all of the following: folk music, NPR, black coffee, jeopardy, or Guinness.

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