I won't pull any punches: I started, and it took a while to stop. That is to say you're about to dive into a pretty in-depth post (that's a nice way of saying "long") about content marketing, one which you may want to bookmark to read later. But I think it covers most of the aspects of content marketing that modern inbound marketers need to consider, beyond the basics of simply writing content optimized for the web.
Consider the shipping time for an online purchase. During the purchase process (i.e., an immediate event), customers will be focused on numerals. So you should minimize those numbers (e.g., 1-3 weeks). Afterward, when customers are waiting for the delivery (i.e., a distant event), they’ll be focused on units. So you should minimize the units (e.g., 7-21 days).
Understanding the purpose of content is key to producing high-quality work. It's meant to speak directly with a particular audience, such as customers, potential customers, investors, employees, or other stakeholders. Content can be well-written, researched and creatively conceived, but if it isn't speaking to the intended audience, it's not doing its job. Here are a few good examples of long-form, quality content written by Scripted writers:
Podcasts. Michael Hyatt, author of the best-selling book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, practices what he preaches. His “This is Your Life” podcast is downloaded 250,000 times each month. As Hyatt elaborates on his blog post 4 Reasons You Should Consider Launching Your Own Podcast, “A podcast gives you visibility in a completely different world—primarily iTunes. I have had scores of new people say they had never heard of me until they stumbled onto me in iTunes.” Hyatt gives valuable information and advice in his podcast--all for free. But that podcast leads to more sales of his books, signups for his courses, and requests for him as a speaker.
Content writers might enroll in electronic writing certificate programs. These programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels and offer courses in such topics as Web design, blogging, wikis, electronic rhetoric, and technical writing. In many cases, employers are more considered about writing and grammar skills than with education. Many employers require a writing test to be completed by applicants.
When you reference another website’s content, make sure you hyperlink back to that site. It’s good internet etiquette, and you’d want the same courtesy. Always cite your sources, even if you’re afraid it’ll send your web traffic to another site — and you can always choose the “open link in another window” option if you’re that concerned about keeping your traffic.
Practice article writing. Learn how to write a newspaper article and how to write a wikiHow article. As a professional content writer, you may find a position that focuses on journalistic article style writing, or more educational how to writing. Study the form, structure, voice, and tone of each type of article so you are familiar with both types.
That’s only if you, for whatever reason, don’t have another person to edit your work. Even with a great spell check, there will be things you miss. Make sure there’s somebody in your organization with great writing and editing chops who can give your work a second set of eyes. Remember that behind every good writer — whether it’s a best-selling author, a Washington Post journalist or a copywriter for a viral marketing campaign — is a great editor.