KILLER CONTENT WRITING?
Welcome writer ninja, to this content writing tips for beginners guide. First off, thank you so much for being interested in proper content writing. I may not be an Earl Grey drinking English gentleman, but the world seems to be taking a different direction on good writing and content these days.
I mean, look at some of the bloggers and vloggers these days. There seems to be a serious lack of intelligence in their posts that is short on words, full of emoticons, spelling and grammar mistakes.
🙂 😛 😎 Hey there peepole how do yew like dis this sentance wit no puntuation and a lot of awesum emoticons and cAmEl cAsE 😉 😀
The interesting part? As long as there is a picture of a cute girl with duck face, people will like and share the post. That, made me wonder about what good content is these days. In any case, for poor men like me with no boobs or booty, the pen… or rather keyboard, is the mightiest weapon to hone.
AN HONEST DISCLOSURE
Quick, hide your wallets! I am an affiliate partner of Google, eBay, Adobe, Bluehost, and more. There are affiliate links and advertisements on this page. Whenever you buy things from the evil links that I recommend, I will make a commission.
Nah. These are just things to keep the blog going, and allows me to give more good stuff to you guys - for free. So thank you if you decide to pick up my recommendations!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I have divided this guide into a few different sections. But one thing to note – I assume that you guys are already proficient in basic English, and I shall not be a boring English teacher. This is not an English lesson, just some tips that you can use instantly.
WHAT IS CONTENT WRITING?
So, what is content writing? Does it even make sense in the Internet age, and what purpose does it even serve? The more “serious” answers that I have found online are along the lines of “writing to sell a certain product”, “writing to market a product”, or “creating content for a website”.
All of the above is correct, and there is no rocket science behind it. However, if I could have my own definition, it will be – Creating an interesting piece of content that captures the readers’ attention while giving them value at the same time. Simply put, don’t bore people into tears while giving away good information.
TIP 1) ADOPT A CONTENT WRITING WORKFLOW
Personally, I don’t think there is a “fixed” approach to doing content writing. But having some sort of a “systematic step-by-step” process will help you create better content. Here is a sharing of my usual 5 steps approach, feel free to adopt parts of it, and create your own workflow. I will go into the details of each step in this guide below.
Every piece of content starts with an idea, a topic. So the very first task is sort of the easiest and hardest. To some, it may come naturally. To a few others, we may struggle and tear our hair out for content ideas…
TIP 2) THE EVERGREEN CONTENT IDEAS
Content ideas can sometimes be very difficult to come by. So here are a few evergreen topics that you can start from.
- Product/service reviews.
- How to.
- Life hacks.
- Response – Give your views on a certain issue.
- Random cat/dog/pet stuff.
TIP 3) KEEP THE GOAL IN SIGHT
This is the part where I think most people will just brush aside. Whether you are writing a book, advertisement or blog post – I am sure there is a reason behind why. It could be everything from “I am paid to do so” to “my boss asked me to”, or “I just need something for my blog”. But my point here being, I find that most people write “soulless content” when their reason is forced.
If you want to create good content, you have to look beyond that. Boss asked you to write, sure. But for what purpose? To sell products for the company? To promote a certain event? Need to write for a blog, but what? A guide to help people on a certain topic? Or a compilation of funny dog pictures to relieve stress?
Having that clear purpose and goal will make your writing a lot easier. For example, this guide has the pure intent to help more people create awesome content, and so that is what I researched on and wrote for.
TIP 4) DRAW THE LINES, KEEP THE SCOPE IN CHECK
Ask yourself the question – how deep and wide do you need to cover? For example, is it really necessary to give a long lesson on human psychology to explain how to be happy? If you are writing for a psychology/medical publication, go ahead. If not, keep things simple and throw the difficult stuff out of the window.
RESEARCH & STRUCTURE
Having content ideas are great. But doing your due diligence – research and homework is a must. Get your facts and points right, or eagle-eyed Internet geniuses will take any chance to slam at your mistakes. Don’t give them any chance to do so. 😈 In any case, proper research will help to structure and “beef up” your article.
TIP 5) DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
One does not start writing with an empty mind. Homework sucks, but it is better than walking around blindfolded and stepping on nails. If you are selling a product, get the specifications right. If you are writing an article, get your facts right.
TIP 6) FILTER YOUR INFORMATION SOURCES
Good thing there is the Internet today, where you can look up on a lot of information. But everything on the Internet must be accurate, right? Wrong. There are satire (fake) news websites all around on the Internet, just-for-fun or to cheat people. Don’t be an unknowing victim to quote them in your article as “facts”.
TIP 7) STRUCTURE YOUR FINDINGS
People do not like disjointed pieces of information… or at least the majority of people. So keep your research in point form. When I am done with research, I usually like to structure the data into an article in two ways.
- Just put them out in point form as they are – As a list of “top tips”.
- Group them together to form sections, and create a flow to the post – Introduction, step 1, step 2, closing.
Well, at least that is what I found to work best for me. I find that information is much easier to digest when is a flow to it, and that it is in a step-by-step manner. If you poke around this blog, you will start to figure out how I usually structure my contents.
TIP 8) DO NOT COPY!
If you have done your research, good. This is a gentle reminder, and what lecturers of my university are very strict on – do not copy word-for-word. There are eagle-eyed people who can spot copied sentences, and even search engines are capable of sniffing them out. Just don’t get into trouble with the copyright laws.
TIP 9) CITE YOUR SOURCES
If you really have to do that “copy-and-paste”, always remember to credit the original writer. That “source: someone”, or “excerpt from: somewhere” will save you a lot of trouble from the copyright monster.
You should now have all the information and points in hand. But the task remains- writing the actual article. To some again, this may come naturally. To some others, this is a challenge. Here are a few tips on how I approach to content writing.
TIP 10) DON’T BE AFRAID TO WRITE
I believe the biggest block for most beginners is the fear of running out of things to write or getting things wrong. I must make a confession, this still happens to me. But once you let that “I cannot do it”, “nobody will read it” mindset catch you, it’s the end.
Have some confidence in yourself. As long as you have done your research, just slowly expand on it. If you run out of things to write, do more research and add more points to it. Just keep on writing, and take things step-by-step. Before you know it, a beefy article with 2000 words is done.
TIP 11) AN ATTENTION GRABBING TITLE – USE POWER WORDS
As much as the old saying goes – don’t judge the book by the cover, the Internet equivalent of “don’t judge an article by the title” does not quite work. The title is the first thing that captures the attention of readers. So if you have a weak title, nobody will be curious and interested enough to read it. Include some power words in your titles:
- Proven (but use this carefully…)
There are probably a lot more, but here are the few common ones that you can use instantly.
TIP 12) ADD SOME FUN
Boring articles are the fastest way to lose readers, especially in this Internet age where people are impatient. Don’t have anything interesting or relevant? They are gone. Boring post? Gone. No Ninja Turtles and X-Men? Gone. So pepper in some fun once in a while. Something totally irrelevant, a meme, or maybe some trivia.
TIP 13) STICK TO THE GOAL
Yes, you can talk about other things once in a while, but don’t go out of point. Remember the goal of writing the post? Stick to it, and always return to giving information that your readers want.
TIP 14) ULTIMATE VALUE – INFORMATIONAL & ACTIONABLE
When I first started writing, I thought that giving information in an interesting way is good enough. But as I dive deeper into the content and copywriting world, good is never good enough. Think about it, if you are reading an article about an anti-dandruff shampoo, it will be nice to know what it does exactly. It will be even nicer to know how dandruff came about.
But so what? Those are just information, and they do not exactly benefit anyone. Now, how about a section on the proper way to wash your hair, so the dandruff problem goes away for good. Always give things that are useful, and things that your readers can benefit from immediately.
TIP 15) SIMPLE LANGUAGE
My English is not good, I need to drink more Earl Grey tea and spit out more explosive diarrhea English. No, you do not need to be a master of languages. All you need are simple words, and please keep things simple.
The simpler it is, the easier it is to read. In fact, if you scan through my articles and guides, you will not find many difficult words. Yes, no need Earl Grey tea, but at least get the Faggot and Bangers right (these are food).
TIP 16) KEEP IT SHORT
Long sentences are scary. Period. Break all the long paragraphs up, and keep them short. Avoid “chunky” text, as it is a major turn off.
TIP 17) PICTURES AND VIDEOS
A picture speaks a thousand words. As much as we love to generate a ton of contents, we don’t live in the stone age anymore. There are times when a single picture can explain everything loud and clear. It is all not about writing a lot of junk, but getting your point across to the reader, as clear as possible.
TIP 18) STOP THAT EMOTICON AND MEME BOMB
I just have to make a point on this. Yes, it’s a modern-day thing, we have to put some of these into our posts. But don’t overdo it. Just… don’t. It is extremely irritating to see a post filled with nothing but emoticons.
😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡
TIP 19) USE POINT FORM
Have a lot of data and points to make? Use lists and bullet points to structure it. It just makes things a lot easier to read.
TIP 20) USE THE THESAURUS
Always using the same word over and over again? It gets dull and monotonous. Plus, people start to realize your limited vocabulary. Use the thesaurus. Not just for more choices of words, but to find easier words to reduce the reading difficulty.
When you are done with the article, don’t publish it, not yet. There are probably a ton of mistakes and things that need to be ironed out first.
TIP 21) STAY AWAY FOR A DAY
Who is the worst person to edit the article that you have written? Yourself. Because your brain will probably tell you – “everything is already correct”. But there are times where we just don’t have another pair of eyes and brains; We don’t have an editor. So what I usually do, is to stay away from the article for a day and do something else. Come back with a fresh mind the next day, and continue with the editing.
TIP 22) MERCILESSLY CUT AWAY THE BAD PARTS
What do we do in editing? The first thing that I will always do, is to remove the useless parts. Kill all the parts that don’t make sense, the parts that are completely useless to the reader. Rewrite sentences if you find them too offensive. Also, remember to remove the parts that will get you arrested by the police.
TIP 23) GRAMMER NAZI, SPELL CHECK
When you are satisfied with the overall post, it’s time to run spelling checks. Be a grammar nazi, fix all the bad English.
TIP 24) PROOFREADING
When I am done with the editing and spelling checks, I do not publish it right away. I will re-read the entire article, from top to bottom. Make sure that everything is in place, and do some last edits.
So we have come to the end of this long guide. I know, it may not be easy to get started for some people, but if you don’t practice, you will never improve. Just go through the cycle of research, writing down in point form, and expanding on it. Take things systematically, one step at a time, and you will get there one day.