You’ve probably heard the expression “Content is king” once or twice before, especially if you’re in marketing. Although the saying has been around for a while, the wisdom it imparts has never been more true.

No matter your brand or industry, your audience is looking to connect with you. From blog posts and eBlasts to social media posts and more, there are so many ways to stay in touch and build relationships with your audience.

It’s crucial to your marketing efforts that you keep in touch, offer useful information, and build your brand identity whenever possible. Check out our top tips for writing captivating content that offers equal parts substance, style, and strategy.

Tip #1: Always Start with Keyword Research

Keyword research sounds daunting, but if you have a tool like SEMRush that we use at Rawle Murdy, you can uncover so many amazing insights into what your audience wants to see. When we map out content calendars for our clients, we always use keyword research as a jumping off point to give us inspiration and spark new and relevant topic ideas.

Once you know what your audience is searching for and also what keywords you want to rank higher for, you can craft meaningful content around it. That way, your content is always relevant, and you don’t have to play a guessing game each month. You can also pull a list of related keywords to include for SEO if you’re writing a blog post or any other web copy!

Tip #2: Break Up Longer-Form Text with Bullets & Subheads

Nobody wants to read a wall of text, no matter how brilliant the copy is. Even us writers can admit that without getting our feelings hurt. But depending on the format, that doesn’t mean you need to keep your content short. In fact, new research shows that longer blog posts, around 1,000 words and up, actually get ranked higher by Google, which in turn ensures that more people will see your content.

So, what’s a content writer to do? We recommend breaking your long-form posts up into digestible chunks that are clearly divided by subheads for each new section (pssst…extra points if you include keywords in the subheads!). Whenever it makes sense, include actionable tips or bullets to change up the format and catch people’s eye.

Tip #3: Take Advantage of In-Line Linking

In-line hyperlinking is an effective way to increase your SEO rankings and drive people to more of your own content. If you’re writing a blog post about pet-friendly pest control but you also have a great existing article about how to get rid of fleas, there may be an opportunity in that post to link out to the existing one. Then, your content gets more eyes on it and your audience gets more information relevant to them.

You can also use in-line links in posts to link out to different parts of your website that you want your audience to see. If someone discovers your blog post in a Google search then clicks an in-line link that directs them to your About page or Services page, for example, now you’ve successfully driven a new user to your website.

Tip #4: Make Sure You’re Providing Value

It can be tough to brainstorm content ideas, especially if you’re writing several blogs per month or sending regular newsletters. But here’s the key question to ask yourself when crafting content: Am I providing my audience with valuable and engaging information?

You shouldn’t write content just to “get something out there.” Valuable content is worth far more than an onslaught of keyword-stuffed pieces cobbled together for the sake of organic traffic.

Also, keep in the mind that the valuable content you offer your audience can be tangentially related to your brand or industry. For example, if you are a luxury real estate brand trying to sell houses, create a piece that discusses events, activities, and things to do in the surrounding area. That’s useful information that a prospective buyer can use to plan a trip around—and stop in for a tour while they’re at it.

Tip #5: Don’t Forget About CTAs!

A strong CTA (call to action) is crucial no matter what medium you’re writing for. Give some thought up front to what you want to accomplish with each piece before you write it. What action do you want the reader to take? As a general rule of thumb, you should never publish or send any piece of content without some kind of clear CTA, whether that’s a CTA button, a link, a QR code, or just a URL.

After all, if you’ve got a captive audience, why waste it?