The Importance of Formatting in Content Writing

Jonatan Parski CEO

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The Importance of Formatting in Content Writing

What you say is your focus when writing content, but without good formatting your content might digress from the original topic. This can appear confusing and disorganized to your readers. There needs to be substance in your web content, blog post or article. However, style and substance aren’t mutually exclusive. When formatting writing,  you can dedicate a little time to the appearance of your written content to deliver the same information, but in a more appealing way. 

By planning how your information appears as well as what it says, you can improve your chances of engaging your audience. Not only will you attract more readers, but they’ll stay longer, gain something useful from your content, and come to trust what you say. 

Let’s explore the importance a correct format can have on your writing and how the audience receives it. Plus, we’ll look at what you can do to make web content easier for your audience to read and understand.

Why Formatting Content Matters?

Formatting writing plays a role in getting your content seen and making an impact with it. Not only can it help you get to the top of the rankings for search engines, but it can also keep readers engaged. We’ve set out how writing content in the appropriate format can benefit you and your business.

Search Engine Optimization

You’ve got something interesting and helpful to say, but how can you deliver information to your audience if they can’t find it? Formatting writing means providing the necessary details to help search engines understand what you’re saying and arranging it in a way that makes the meaning clear.

Using keywords in your headings and adding metadata to your content means Google and other search engines know what it’s about. When people use the relevant search terms, it means your post will appear high in the results, and your audience will have access to the resource you’ve created. 

Accessible Content

When you pay attention to formatting writing, you create content that’s accessible. It means that you don’t exclude members of your audience by giving some thought to how information appears. Whether people have issues reading a whole article or not, a large block of text can seem daunting to anyone. Accessibility means creating content that’s easier to digest for everyone, which means all your readers can benefit.

Plan your layout to ensure it's easy to understand.
Plan your layout to ensure it’s easy to understand.

Accessible posts include images to break up the text. It might also mean adding color, using more headings, keeping paragraphs short, and using bulleted lists and text indentations. At first glance, it’ll be easy on the eye, helping readers grasp the crucial points.

Engaging Your Audience

When it comes to building a relationship with your audience, what you say and how you say it matters. Formatting content in an engaging way means you make a good first impression when someone glances at the pages before they start reading.

Blog posts, articles and even videos are things that many people skim through to get to the good bit. A page, a post or a snippet that looks inviting will draw your audience in and keep them there. Highlighting vital points, giving the content a clear structure, shorter paragraphs and signposting to follow-up resources make the process of consuming content interesting, but also effortless.

Define Your Audience and Your Content Type

A crucial step in your digital marketing strategy is identifying your audience. From there, you can decide what they’re interested in, what their pain points are and where they look for information. All of that can help your content creation process. The channels they use to find answers, their time pressures and what engages them can help you choose the content type that appeals to them.

In content marketing, you’ll want several tools at your fingertips to reach your audience. However, your approach to formatting writing will need to correspond to the type of digital content you create. When you combine that with the information you have about what keeps the reader’s attention, you can adjust your approach accordingly.

Let’s take a look at the options for online content and formatting writing each one.

Blog or Article

Whether it’s through your own website pages or a featured piece on a popular blog, articles and blog posts are at the core of many content marketing strategies. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel; when formatting writing for your posts, take a look at blog examples that have inspired you.

You’ll notice some shared characteristics and we’ve listed a few below.

  • Short paragraphs
  • Includes a bulleted list
  • Plenty of white space
  • Sentences and words of varying lengths
  • Link to additional resources
  • An engaging tone
  • Headings that focus on the key points

Social Media Posts

Formatting content also applies to social media posts across all your platforms. According to a Statista survey on reasons for using social media, respondents mention several reasons for browsing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Out of all respondents, 30.3% are finding content, and 25.9% are looking for products to purchase. By using a mixture of images, videos and short text, you can capture your audience’s attention.

It’s particularly important to include a call to action and provide a way for people to take the next step. Links to product pages or longer articles help to move the potential customer toward their goal and yours.

Video

For your website and other channels, videos can help you get the message across in a more succinct, lively and engaging way. Formatting content to have the appropriate metadata, intrigue the audience, and also deliver on its promises is crucial.

Make sure that the length of the video is appropriate to the platform. Also, design the script in a way that says something about your brand. It’s been shown that you can use personality to improve credibility and connect with your audience.

Copy for Ads and Product Descriptions

Even short pieces of text, such as banner ads and product descriptions, benefit from some consideration when it comes to formatting writing. White space, color, and images that complement the shorter paragraphs are essential. 

In these cases, what you’ve written might not appear in a standard format, so make sure to consider where the reader’s eye will be drawn. The text should flow naturally so that the human brain doesn’t have to do any extra work to make sense of what it’s seeing.

Create Useful, Engaging and Accessible Content

Making sure that your information and format are spot on can be a time-consuming task that requires skill and practice.

For small businesses, in particular, it can be challenging to meet those demands. It helps to work with professionals to craft something that matches your tone and delivers in terms of usefulness, engagement and accessibility. 

We recommend getting a writing sample from any prospective freelance writers or content creation agencies to find a good fit. Most will have an idea of what makes good content, but you can also provide instructions on how formatting content works for your brand. Keep reading to find our guide to formatting writing for effective content.

How To Make a Positive First Impression

A study undertaken by the University of York concluded that it only takes up to 500 milliseconds to form a first impression. That’s true of meeting most people in person, but the same rule can be applied to online content. 

When writing content, you can think about your first impression by reviewing how your text will appear on the one page. Could you use bullet points, a table of contents, infographics, images and videos to get any of your points across? Usually, the answer is yes, which means you should add those types of content. It’ll make the articles interesting and less intimidating at first glance. Another vital point when formatting content that’s a bit longer is to use headings (labeled H1, H2, H3, etc). Your title or H1 should set the reader’s expectations. Use H2s and H3s to signpost the reader to different sections of your article while letting them know where to find the main points.

Attractive and logical formats are key.
Attractive and logical formats are key.

How To Hold Your Audience’s Attention

Once you’ve made a positive impression, you’ll want the reader’s attention long enough for them to appreciate what you’re saying and what you can offer. Now’s the time for your structure to really shine. 

While you might make several stand-alone points for anyone skimming the article, it’s also a good idea to have a logical flow when writing content. When you start with a premise, explain the core concepts, explain why it’s important and then offer creative solutions, you take the readers along with you in a way that makes sense.

Some other tips for formatting content that’s impactful are to use bold and italics when necessary, add images to back up your important points, write concisely but with some personality, and stick to the point under each heading you create. 

How To End on A Good Note

We’ve mentioned that first impressions are vital, but what about the thoughts and feelings that a reader has once they’ve finished with your blog post?

When writing content that aims to excite, inform and educate, readers should leave with ideas, a spark of inspiration and relief at having found a solution. One of the ways you can do that is by being consistent with your writing style.

Your credibility and authority as a source comes through how your brand expresses itself, and that includes formatting writing. To keep your format uniform, use a style guide so that every writer on your team can capture your brand essence and meet your standards.

It’s not enough just to write the information that they need. By formatting content effectively, you can give them the tools and the motivation to take the next step. We recommend including links to sources in your document that your audience can save to their reading list, check in another tab, or come back to later.

A call to action, whether subtle or direct, is also an essential signpost to help clients know what to do next. Set out the next steps by providing them with some places to do more research or get the solutions you’ve just explained to them.

Conclusion

Formatting writing is a subtle, essential and powerful way to ensure you reach your target audience and deliver the helpful resources that you set out to offer. You don’t need to tackle content creation and formatting alone. Seeking out white label content writing with your message and style in mind is a cost-effective way to ensure you get the results your business needs.  By bringing external writers along with proofreading and editing professionals onboard, you can make the tweaks that help your content reach audiences, engage and inspire.

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Chantelle

Chantelle started her career in IT before eventually finding her way into Marketing. This eventually became her passion, along with Digital Marketing, SEO, and Brand and Web Development. Today, she helps businesses find their voice and grow online.

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