At MADX, we produce a ton of content.
By produce, I mean, we write, edit, publish and optimize ungodly amounts of content every week.
Some of our editors and writers check hundreds of thousands of words a week.
This is more than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which clocks out at 198,227 words. So, 8,248 words more than JK published after 2 years of writing. Noice.
But everyone can write a lot of words.
We at MADX do much more than create bottomless word soups. Our content gets results. We get noticed by major publications like Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur's Handbook, and many others. Sometimes the companies we cover in our newsletter reach back to us.
At the end of the day, the client’s success is all that matters. So, here’s a quick peek behind one of our client’s organic traffic stats.
Guess when we started working together?
Writing is all about results. Not the number of words produced.
What we’ll cover:
What is content writing?
Content writing is all that goes into producing a content page. It’s the process of researching, writing, designing, editing, and publishing a blog, product, or landing page.
What is content research?
Content research is an entirely different discipline from content writing. While writers are often tasked with researching what they’re writing about, businesses shouldn’t expect their writers to nail the research on a super-high level.
At MADX, we employ researchers to work with writers, editors, and publishers to produce an impactful piece of content.
The content production for content marketing
Take the above two skills and add the editing and publishing, and you’ve got the entire content assembly line.
While one person is capable of doing all of this themselves — as many do — it’s important to understand that quality content depends on many different skills. It’s a concert of researching, planning, designing writing, editing, and publishing.
Why is content writing crucial for business success?
Content is essential for business success, and it’s even more important for B2B success.
Customers consume at least 13 content pieces on average before making a decision, according to FocusVision. Content educates your customers and tells the story behind your product.
Content marketing is the most effective part of any B2B lead generation funnel. The highest-ROI producing content channels are email, SEO, SEM, and content marketing.
Content writing guide and practices of successful content marketing
Writing quality content has many avenues, but this one won’t lead you astray.
The following practices have helped us amass over 70 million impressions on MADX content this year alone. Our clients have enjoyed much greater levels of success.
1. Start with a template
Make it easy to start writing. Most content falls under a few types, including listicles, guides, explainers, reviews, etc. So, using a template for each type will save you time while keeping your writing on the right track.
Here’s an example:
If you’re using one of the MADX content guides, these templates will be provided in full detail.
2. Prepare an outline
Writing a meaty article is easier with a data-driven outline.
Fleshing out an outline guarantees that you’d stay on course. You also eliminate missing out on any important sections in your writing.
You’d also avoid the hassle of dealing with writer’s block, and it’s good for every form of collaboration. For example, other writers can join you to tackle some of the more difficult subheadings.
Here’s an example of a data-driven outline for a story on influencer marketing:
How can you flesh out your first outline? We love to use data-driven points to create strong SEO content. Here are the exact steps for crafting a data-driven outline for your next story:
- Type in the parent keyword to Google and read the first few pages.
- Study the structure and subheadings to get initial ideas
- Head out to Ahrefs, SEMRush, or your keyword of choice
- Search for secondary keywords to use in your article
- Think of subheadings using relevant secondary keywords
- Write everything down and structure your first outline
3. Make it contagious
Virality is content’s superpower. So, make your content irresistibly shareable.
Make it contagious, as bestselling author Jonah Berger loves to say. Here’s why some content lits up in your feed:
- Makes your readers look good if they share it
- It back up your reader’s point of view
- Makes them feel something. Think joy, anger, awe, happiness, etc.
- Your content is breaking news
- It’s hyper-relevant to current events
- Offers practical value or utility.
- Has already been shared by many others
Writing viral content is easier said than done, though. Here are a few evergreen tactics you can deploy to create share-worthy content:
- Set Google alert for your main keywords
- Simultaneously study Google news for topics of interest
- Find breaking news that ties to your product and services
- Write a piece offering your unique commentary and analysis
- Re-distribute it on social platforms like LinkedIn, Reddit, Quora, etc.
4. Find the unique nugget
Rehashing content can only get you so far. Serious businesses invest in unique and specific content that will help them stand out.
Why? Because 6–7 million blog posts are written every day. The good news is that most of these blogs are pure gibberish and low-quality and ai-powered content. The bad news is that you need to offer better or different content than others.
While better can be highly subjective, different and unique are easy to distinguish. Here are a few ways to find your unique nugget:
- Personal experience — nobody shares the same life. If you’re familiar with the topic, find a way to add your views, opinions, and insights. Remember relevant events from your past and write about why they matter to the reader.
- Authority — if you’re an expert, you can bet that nobody has the same insights as you do. Write about how you would solve a problem that’s central to the topic. On the flip side, if you’re not an expert, interview one to get his views on the matter.
- Include data — evidence and numbers can back your claims and help your content stand out. If you don’t have personal data available from your audience, then subscribe to Statista for expert stats in almost any niche.
- Devil’s advocate — what if you could understand the opposite side, even if you don’t agree with it? Explain the story from their point of view. Playing Devil’s advocate is a fun way to stimulate the uniqueness of your content.
- Rebel — do you see things differently than anyone else? Write it down and explain why.
- Help a writer out — use the advantage of the internet. Visit Reddit, IndieHackers, Twitter, or LinkedIn and poll experts for their opinion on your topics. If you want to take this up a notch, visit HARO and send your query to tens of thousands of sources. We have to warn you about HARO, you may get just too many expert opinions this way.
5. Prove your credibility
The internet is a noisy place where everyone and your uncle wants to share their $0.02 on just about anything. So, why would people listen to you?
- Are you an expert with a unique skill set?
- Can others vouch for you? Who’s using your products and services?
- Can you back up your claims with data?
- Do you have personal experience in the topic?
- Have you overcome a relevant challenge in the past?
Open your story with why people should listen to you. Share your expertise, experience or past successes. Maybe even all three. Scroll back to the beginning of this story and you’ll see that we have plenty of experience in writing, publishing, and getting tangible business results with our content.
6. Show, don’t tell
This is the old writer’s adage. Immerse your reader into your story and evoke their sense of sight, smell, sound, touch, or taste.
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
— Anton Chekhov
Here’s another example:
She woke up on a wet bathroom floor, stood up, and scrawled on the mirror with her lipstick before slamming the door behind her.
I bet you could see a few things here that weren’t said.
- The lipstick’s color?
- What’s the room’s temperature? Is it cold?
- Was she angry? In a rush?
- Did she leave a message on the mirror?
Now, writing a B2B stats page doesn’t need as much descriptive detail as a novel. The main idea revolves around using fewer words to show more. Just look at any financial news article.
“Bulls take the stairs, but bears jump out of the window.”
“The bears have bulldozed the bulls in the morning session. But the bulls have regained footing and catapulted bears to the stratosphere by the end of the trading day. “
How to hack this?
Replace your bland adjective with sensory verbs and nouns.
7. Headline, it’s all in the headline
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
— David Ogilvy
How can you write a scroll-stopping headline? Writing good headlines is one of the most creative-intensive processes in creating a content piece. To make things harder, headlines are victims of fashion. What worked last year probably won’t get any clicks nowadays.
Writing headlines is difficult.
Luckily, we have a few tricks you can use to hack it and get ahead.
- Borrow from the pros — Open Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, or any trendy magazine outside your niche. Supermarket magazines are even better because they have to sell solely on headlines and images. Then find a headline and try to rewrite it to fit your article.
- Swipe headlines — here’s a MADX headline swipe file with 43 examples of viral headlines you can repurpose for just about any content type. You have our full permission to swipe at will, captain.
8. Open with a banger
Kickstart your intro with one of the evergreen copywriting formulas.
Imagine that you’re writing an ad. You want to keep your readers' attention for more than 30 seconds, so need something more than “here’s what we think about…”
Copywriting formulas can help you open the curiosity gap and keep your reader glued to the screen. Some of the most popular formulas are
- AIDA (Attention — Interest — Desire — Action)
- ABC (Agitate — Benefit — Call to Action)
- PAS (Problem — Agitate— Solution)
We personally prefer PAS and ABC, only because they’re fresh versions of AIDA. Also, it’s much easier to remember PAS and ABC.
Let’s quickly look at one PAS example for our product, MADX Content Writing Guides:
Problem: Content creation is a confusing process. Most creators have no idea where to start and often publish for their audience of crickets.
Agitate: With the rise in competition, it’s more important than ever to know how to win, rank on Google, and produce relevant content. Failing to get your message across will not only affect you professionally but also in day-to-day life.
Solution: The problem is clear, so it’s time for a solution. With MADX writing guides, you’ll learn the ins and outs of being an effective content creator. We’ll provide headlines, subheadings, page outlines, and templates for you to start on just about any topic. Writing guides will help you become confident in your ability to entire audiences and unearth ideal customers. Avoid writing for crickets with a little help from our research team.
Then, open with your first subheading and explain your ideas throughout the rest of your story.
You can apply these formulas to kickstart any intro for any content type.
9. White space is your friend. Don’t be afraid of it
Most people won’t read walls of text. Screens are natural as it gets, and people may struggle reading a blog post.
You can hide a dead body in a block of text. And not even the FBI would find it. Here's an example. Can you find a dead body in this text?
On average, people read slower and retain less when reading on a screen, according to research done by the University of North Dakota.
If you want to avoid losing readers, focus on adding more whitespace to your content. Whitespace is your friend. So, hang out with it. Don’t format your text as you would a paperback. Instead, follow the simple paragraph formulas that work.
Burger: Open with a single line. Add spacing, then write 3–5 lines explaining the first line. Then, add another spacing and finish your idea with a single line.
Artisan burger: Open with two lines. Add spacing elaborate with three more lines. Elaborate some more with another five lines. Close your thoughts with a final single line.
Vary paragraph lengths and use more white space in your writing. As a star blogger, Nicolas Cole puts it, “Create Waves because waves feel good.”
10. Converse with your audience
Write in a conversational tone, void of “uhm,” “hmm” and other fillers.
Use your microphone to cut corners. Record yourself narrating the blog post and then cut all the filler words out of your text.
Here’s a cool list of voice commands to get you started.
11. Answer the burning questions
People also Ask is the goldmine of any type of content research.
Everything from SEO nuggets to structure pointers are in those drop-down blocks of People also Ask. To supplement your writing questions, check out AnswerThePublic.
Make sure your copy answers questions.
12. Keep your notes on hand
… or the side.
Consuming content is a different task from retaining and learning. We’re constantly overstimulated by information, making it impossible to remember everything we read or watch.
However, keeping notes help you avoid relying on your memory to create well-researched content. Good notes help you write smart and fast. Make sure to always have a notepad on hand when reading, watching, or doing any research.
RoamResearch is a good paid option that can help you create mental maps. these maps mimic the way the brain works and make it easy to come up with new and fresh ideas at any given moment.
However, you can accomplish similar results with a normal notepad.
13. Ask for feedback
Creators are fantastic at evaluating the work of others and giving substantial advice but terrible at judging their own work.
As a creator, you’re too close to your creations. Everything you write makes sense to you because you wrote it. Others might be at a loss when trying to read your work.
Asking for feedback helps writers refine their message and guarantees that your ideas are easy to understand. Always ask for feedback, no matter how hard it is to hear it. Your friends, colleagues, and online writers are your perfect writing buddies. So, ask them to tell you what they think about your work.
Feedback helps creators grow.
14. Don’t forget to plug the product
How many times do you write a punchy story, edit it to perfection, and ship it to the world, only to remember you forgot to plug the client’s product?
Many writers struggle with this. It’s easy to get carried away in your ideas and forget who’s the main voice of your story.
Content marketing promotes a product, service, or idea. Remember what you’re selling and infuse it subtly throughout the entire copy.
15. Read it out loud
Always. Read. Your. Drafts. Out. Loud.
Your ears are better at catching odd mistakes in your writing than your eyes. Reading out loud gives you a second perspective on your content and unearths awkward phrasing and odd words.
If you’re unsure about a line or a paragraph, your reader can only be more confused.
Always make your message crisp and easy to understand.
Otherwise, you’re risking losing your audience to the next content piece in the line.