We are here in an ever-evolving world of content marketing where the quality and consistency of the content your produce greatly impact your online success. So, having great content writing skills is more critical than ever. There is a significant difference between being a good writer and being a great writer. To become a great writer, you constantly need to find ways to improve your writing skills. Keep in mind that content writing requires skills that evolve to keep up with the changing requirements placed on those skills in social media and by search engines. Don’t worry if you are a new writer; below are some effective writing tips to improve your content writing skills:
Develop your content writing skills
Above, you see how being a great writer delivers tangible results for brands in terms of market performance and revenue. Spending the time and effort to become a great writer is easy if you follow the systematic advice we share below. Good luck!
Tip #1: Write every day
One way to become a better writer is to write every day. Writing is like a muscle and the more write, the better you get at writing. I once took a writing class in college where the professor told us that we have to throw away the first 100,000 or so words we write as they’re often terrible. He also recommended writing every day as a way to become a better writer. By writing anything for 30 minutes a day (this is called free writing) you focus on the act of writing rather than your topic, which allows you to become a better writer over time. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, just write. When you go back later, you’ll likely find a few nuggets within your free writing that are worth keeping and expanding on.
Try to think about topics you enjoy writing about, such as travel, health and fitness, politics, or even keep a journal as part of your free writing efforts to develop your content writing skills. The more you write, the better you’ll see your free writing get and that’s a skill that translates into other types of writing you do whether it’s starting that novel you always wanted, writing blog posts that build your website, or writing social media posts to build your community.
While it’s not necessary to write about the same topic every day, you use your free writing to build a writer’s portfolio that shows how your skills improved over time and the breadth of your writing ability.
Tip #2: Create an outline
Some folks find an outline improves their writing while others find it a hindrance that squashes their creativity. I don’t usually create an outline but tend to write and then outline what I’ve written to ensure it forms a logical organization that reinforces my point.
Clients always look for complete and coherent posts. For many, an outline helps ensure you include all details your clients want. For example, you can think of the topic you want to write about. Then, you need to write subtopics and other ideas that support your thesis.
Tip #3: Read the topics you want to write about
Reading what you want to write about, like your niche, helps improve your writing skills. How?
The more you read, the better you understand your niche, where there’s a gap in current coverage that represents an opportunity, and can build on this content with your own insights. When you read content pieces from other marketers, writers, and bloggers, you will know how they talk about a particular topic related to your writing niche.
You can also determine how they use words or language they use to describe elements of the niche, and how they structure sentences and paragraphs for their audience. These things help develop your writing skills.
But, reading anything helps improve your writing. Reading:
- improves your vocabulary
- discover innovative ways to use words
- learn about various writing styles
Tip #4: Opt for simple words
Using complex words often doesn’t make writers sound smarter. Instead, keep your wording as simple as possible. That said, some areas use common jargon that acts as a shorthand for a complex idea. In marketing, terms like ROI and SEO (in digital marketing) are examples of jargon shared by most folks reading in this area. Not using this jargon means you must take time to explain the concepts in wordy paragraphs that add nothing to the reader in terms of value. Similarly, not using the right terms suggests the writer lacks credibility. There’s a fine line when it comes to using jargon and you need to understand your market to know where that line is.
When it comes to the online world, writing at the 4th to 8th-grade reading level is often the right thing to do. You do not need to write blogs similar to thesis papers. The truth is, using simple words helps gain clients or traffic in some cases. Commonly used SEO plugins test the reading level of your content to help you develop your content writing skills to reach this audience.
The next time you write about something, ditch those complicated and extensive fancy words. Just keep everything simple as if you are telling a story.
Tip #5: Convey the message with ease
Smart writing is what most clients search for. They want content pieces that are engaging and convey the message easily. In other words, you want to avoid wordiness, especially when describing elements of your story. This reflects the balance between wordiness and jargon mentioned in the earlier subheading. This is where a draft helps a lot.
Take time transforming your draft into the final article you submit to your clients. You may need to change ideas, cut the entire paragraph, reorganize your writing so it flows naturally, or remove some sentences. Parsimony in writing is always a good thing so avoid throw away phrases such as “in other words” to make your writing cleaner.
Tip #6: Write short sentences and paragraphs
Do you want to ensure your audience can easily read your blog posts? Try writing one- to three-sentence paragraphs and use headings and subheadings to allow readers to easily find the sections containing content they might find interesting without having to slog through content they don’t find valuable.
This makes it easy for your readers to understand what you want to say. Great writers keep their sentences and paragraphs short. Internet users have short attention spans. So, ensure to make your content easy on the eyes.
Tip #7: Do not use filler words
Unless extra words add value to a sentence, get rid of them. That’s why I never assign a specific word count in assigning articles. Use as many words as it takes to convey an idea. If that’s too many words, split your idea into 2 pieces of content. But don’t add words just to reach a pre-determined page count. Currently, for SEO, blog posts of around 2000 words outperform short content pieces. If your post is too short, add ideas that enhance your thesis rather than throwing in useless words.
New writers may find omitting filler words a challenge. But, as they write every day, they can easily catch those words before publishing. Balancing the use of words is critical when conveying your message. While this may take time, it still helps improve your skills.
Tip #8: Use editing tools
Poor spelling and grammar are the death knell of content writing skills. If you feel less confident in your editing skills, you should invest in editing tools. For example, you can use Grammarly for writing blogs, social media posts, etc.
Editing tools can help you fine-tune your writing. Sometimes you may not notice some spelling errors, grammar mistakes, or wordy phrases, and these tools help you eliminate them. After you edit your writing with a tool, you can proofread it yourself and then your friend or family members can give it a final look to ensure the content is well-written.
Meanwhile, if you are interested in using content marketing tools, you can read this Snazzy AI review.
Tip #9: Join different writing workshops
You can choose from multiple content marketing courses, workshops, meet-ups, and professional development groups. Joining such workshops or groups helps you improve your content writing skills. For example, you can participate in LinkedIn content marketing groups, where you meet like-minded writers. Many groups take turns reading stuff written by other members and providing feedback. You learn from your own mistakes and those made by others in the group.
Tip #10: Find your writing buddy
A writing buddy is someone who writes with you and gives support and encouragement. Writing with a like-minded person helps hone your writing skills. While writing seems more like a solitary activity, having a writing buddy still helps get feedback on your writing and keeps you accountable for your writing goals
You can talk to your friends or colleagues and ask for honest feedback. Then, use that feedback to improve your writing.
Tip #11: Take time for the headline
Your headline is the first thing your readers see, so take time constructing and polishing it. Here are some things you can do when writing headlines:
- Use juicy words like quick, unique, brilliant, easy, simple, etc.
- Highlight the benefits
- Identify who your post is for
- Evoke emotional responses
While you can try different writing styles to improve your skill, you can still keep your own style. Plus, the content you write will reflect your reputation, so originality is a must virtue. Above all, enjoy!