Tips to Improve Your Content Writing Skills
Looking for Ways to Improve Your Content Writing Skills ? A Few Tips from the Experts…
Everyone is on a feverish hunt for fresh content these days, a trend that has turned many of us into writers whether we planned to be or not. There are those like me who actually like writing (most of the time), those who “suck it up” and just do it, and those who absolutely dread it. I hate to see anyone in that position, so here are some tips to improve your content writing skills and make the process a little easier.
- Create, on a single piece of paper, a simple outline. Keep it in front of you as you write. The outline should include the basic key concept or thesis you want to convey and the steps you’re going to take to explain it. This is one the best ways to get “unstuck” on your writing project seems to be going nowhere. Whenever I find that my writing has become labored and my style too stilted, it’s often because I’ve strayed away from my original purpose. I start writing about things that don’t really need to be in the piece and they pull me even further off course. When I look back at the outline, I usually cut out quite a bit of extra text and find myself getting back on track.
- Write like you speak. This advice, some of the best I have ever received, came from one of my college professors. Many people think they need to adopt a scholarly or formal voice in their writing based on the misguided notion that our content writing needs to sound like the essays we wrote in college. Not true. We’re not writing literary analysis here, we’re usually writing to inform and persuade a business or customer audience. Moreover, this audience is usually very busy and wants to get to the point as quickly as possible. Don’t get me wrong, we need our best voice to accomplish this, but the chances are that if you’re a good oral communicator on the subject matter, you’re much better off putting the same style down on paper. Start by using your own voice. You may feel clumsy at it at first, but keep at it. It gets easier, and you’ll probably sound better than you thought you would.
- Give it a rest. Granted, requests for content often come with hard and fast deadlines. But the final product is always much better if you can step away from your writing for a day. If I don’t have that much time to spare, I at least try to give it a half day. I make myself finish a draft – knowing that it is still in rough format – and work on other projects for at least a few hours. When I come back to it, I can immediately see ways to improve it that wouldn’t have been as clear to me if I kept at it.
- Ask someone to read your work. Choose someone from the right circle – a peer, co-worker or such – not your running buddy or your mom. Ask them point out areas that are unclear or need more explanation. NOTE: To get the level of feedback that you’re looking for, tell your reader what you’re trying to achieve. Explain any assumptions that you have made about your audience. For example, if you’re trying to write a product review that compares your product to the competition without naming names, say so. Let the reader know whether the blog you’re writing is for a beginning or advanced reader – it will help them understand the context of your writing.
- It gets easier. Believe it or not, it really does, if you make a commitment to work at improving your content writing skills. Think of your brain as a muscle and writing as the exercise that keeps it limber. Each time you write, your brain recalls the process and settles into a flow that gets better with time. After a while, you’ll find that you’re actually able to create a finished product in a fraction of the time you initially spent in writing them. You might not dread it as much. You might even start to like it.
The above suggestions are just a handful of tips that may help you improve your writing skills for any project you undertake – from a press release to a white paper to a blog. However, the reality is that much of what we write will end up on the Internet – a real-time environment that should make us all think hard before we hit the “Publish” button. For some addition tips, read the following blog: “10 Content Marketing Tips from Social Media Experts” – a very good read.