Section Four: Exploring Key Terms and Formatting

Effective content writing involves more than just words; it’s about how those words are presented. A good freelance content creator is worth their weight in gold if they can understand AND implement these key elements.

Headings (H1, H2, H3)

These organize content and make it easier to read. H2 and H3 will be your most commonly used headings, with H2 being a main (larger font) heading to introduce a section and H3 (smaller font than H2 but larger than the written content) used for subsection headings. These are already preprogrammed into Google Docs so that you can properly format a piece and share it with a client.

Bullet Points and Lists

Use these to break down information into more digestible pieces. If you’re quickly listing a series of something or short points in an unordered way, use bullets. If you’re listing things like steps or showing the order of things, then use a numbered list.

Keywords and Phrases

Now, we’re getting into the really important elements of content writing. Keywords are some of the most important ingredients for good SEO. They help the content get found by the right audience. When you type something into Google, the first page of results doesn’t appear because it’s exactly what you’re looking for. They landed a spot on the first page because they’ve nailed SEO.

Usually, a client will provide the writer with a brief that details what they need and often includes the keywords and phrases they’d like to be used within the article. If you’re tasked with writing an article titled “How to Train a Puppy,” the keywords might be:

  • Puppy training
  • Training puppies
  • Training dogs
  • How to train puppies
  • Puppies
  • Tools for puppy training

But it’s not just a matter of plunking these terms into your content. They have to be done naturally and located strategically in the intro, headings, and outro.

Tools like Surfer, MarketMuse, and ClearScope can help analyze keywords and optimize your content. Most clients will provide you with access to these tools if they use them for the production of their content. 

Also, with the dawn of AI, Google has made some updates to their algorithm and how they rank content, specifically their E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) principles to create content that ranks well and sets apart from the mass of AI-generated stuff.

This means content that’s written with experience, expertise, authority, and trust will perform better and resonate with readers more.

Adding E-E-A-T to your work is pretty simple. Just speak from a first-person perspective, add short and personal anecdotes that relate to the topic or certain facts within the content, and back up any recommendations with a personal touch and/or opinion. 

Don’t just reiterate information that can be found on the internet. Your content should come from your experience, which is why focusing on a niche and becoming a subject matter expert is so important. 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

CTAs (calls to action) help encourage readers to take a specific action, like clicking, buying, following, or signing up. Almost every type of article needs a CTA, and it’s usually found at the end.

Example: If you loved learning about what I had to say about training puppies, then sign up for my weekly newsletter and get expert training tips every Friday!”