Comfort Zone
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When you’re writing for someone else about a topic you really don’t know well, how do you start?

I write about topics I don’t know much about — all the time. I’m a web copywriter who creates unique content for my clients’ websites to make them search-friendly, engaging and informative.

So here’s a few tips that might help if you’re blogging for someone else or writing about a topic you don’t know well:

1. Check out the competition: Do a few searches and see who comes up in the top spots for the topic you’re writing about. See what they focus on and do a little scouting for keywords they’re using, challenges solved by their product/service and the proposed audience they’re trying to reach.  This will inform your direction and give you some ideas to run with.

2. Do a little research online: I also take some time to check unbiased resources for definitions, explanations and trends.  Wikipedia is a good starting point, so is Google Trends.  Check out any white papers or articles on the subject for some background.

3. Consider the audience and write from their perspective: Now that you’ve armed yourself with some information, background and what’s working for the competition, it’s time to get into mode of thinking like the target audience. Do they need to be educated on what you offer?  Do they already know the subject but are facing a particular challenge? Is your solution unique?

Ask yourself what you’d be hoping to read or find when you do a search. It often helps to  clarify the issue, state the solution and then give credentials and guarantees.  That is a classic sales formula that brings conversions. Think like your customers think.

4. Make sure you have a call to action on every page that invites the visitor to make an appointment, subscribe to a newsletter, join a group, whatever.  And then make it easy for them to do so…  a link to your contact page, an RSS button, a LIKE button or anything else that is at hand and makes it quick and easy to take action.

And if you do have them complete an information form, keep it simple.  Ask for just a few items needed to add to your e-mail list and be done with it.  No one wants to answer a million questions that seem irrelevant and take a lot of time.  That’s called “friction” and you don’t want to add any more than necessary.

SUMMARY:  Using these 4 quick tips has helped me organize my thoughts, gather the information I need and get on with writing about an unfamiliar topic in a way that speaks to the audience, solves their current challenge and tells them what to do to move to the next step.

Let me know what works for you and I’ll be sure to post your suggestions.

About the Author: Deb Ward is owner and founder of iMedia Buzz, Inc. which offers Basic SEO, Keyword Search, Web p and Content Creation to small businesses. Get Found!