17 Battle-Tested and Data-Backed Writing Tips

Does your content work?

If you’re anything like most copywriters, the answer is “well, sometimes.” Sometimes we watch our posts earn viral social sharing. Other times, we struggle to gain any engagement in the comments or on social media. What makes the world’s best content objectively good?

If you’ve been marketing or copywriting for very long, you know the answer is “it’s complicated.” The formula behind great content involves a lot more than just good grammar or decent images (though both of those factors definitely help!). We can’t offer an absolute checklist for creating blogs, social media posts, and eBooks your audience will love. However, we can offer you a list of 17 fascinating writing tips that are backed by data:

1. Use Lots of Data

Words aren’t always as effective as numbers. Got a major point to make? Use data or statistics to back up your points. The number “phenomenon” is why list posts are so incredibly popular.

2. Stop Making “Announcements”

Sorry, but no one wants to read about your company’s latest development. According to Takipi research, they’d much rather read a story or some news. Formulate your updates accordingly.

3. Align Your Language

If you’ve done much research into buyer personas, you already know this trick. But it really works! Tailor your words, tone, and attitude to your audience. The best television advertisers have been doing it for decades.

4. Ask a Question

Unbounce reports that polling your audience at the beginning (or middle) of blog posts can transform a “trickle” of traffic into an engaged audience.

5. Be Surprising

People love surprises! If you don’t have any tricks up your sleeve, formulate new data or concepts like a “surprise” in your writing.

6. Segment, Segment, Segment

Tailoring your messages significantly is a powerful writing tip for email marketing. It works for other kinds of content marketing, too!

7. Always Aim for Brevity

Exceptional writers never, ever use more words than necessary to tell a story or get to their point.

8. Dig Through Support Emails

The marketing experts at Unbounce recommend creating content directly from issues resolved by your client services or customer service team.

9. Tell More Stories

If you could take away just one writing tip from this article? Tell more stories! Beth Belle Cooper reports it engages the emotional aspects of the human brain.

10. Don’t Give Away the Whole Story

There’s a psychological concept known as the “curiosity gap” that should belong in every arsenal of writing tips. Leave people hanging, and don’t give away the whole point in your title or opening paragraph.

11. Be Conversational

Need to a make a point? Make it. There!

Short sentences may not fly in high school English class, but they’re definitely reflective of how we talk. Web content is meant to be a little conversational!

12. Think Like an Architect

Many of the most popular bloggers are known for their research and originality. If you’re one of the first people to make an argument, you need to think like an architect. Make a point, and back it up with loads of supporting data, quotations, and facts. Otherwise, your article will be too weak to stand alone.

13. Use More Verbs

Science and marketing research have found that verbs perform better than nouns in social media posts and other forms of web content.

14. Be a Little Gruesome

In one of the stranger data-backed writing tips we’ve encountered in a while, Fast Company reports that aggressive words like “bleeding” and “kill” can be very engaging to audiences. Be sure all writing tips won’t offend your audience before you put them to the test!

15. Stop Being Self-Conscious

Being too concerned about what your audience – or boss – will think can lead to writers block and stiff web content. One of the best writing tips I’ve embraced is to just write freely, and edit later.

16. Always Be Learning

If you dedicate time each day to scoping out the latest stories and news items, your writing will become much fresher and relevant than your competitors.

17. Listen to Your Data

Some writing tips will work perfectly for your audience. Others simply won’t. Treat your content marketing like a science experiment, and continually work to test and improve according to your content marketing metrics.

What are some of the more unusual writing tips you’ve applied to your content marketing program? Share your favorites in the comments!