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. Which is the purpose of this guide – To give you the weapon of mass destruction known as content writing.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I have divided this guide into a few different sections. But one thing to note first – I assume that you 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 hopefully use instantly.
WHAT THE HECK 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 those are correct, and that is what content writing is. There is no rocket science behind it. However, I would like to add on – It is about creating content that is interesting and/or useful to your readers.
PURPOSE & GOAL
This is what every piece of content starts with, and the part where I think most people will just brush aside. Whether you are writing for 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 “weak and soulless content” when their reason is forced.
If you want to create real 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 something for a blog, but what? A guide to help people? A compilation of funny dog posts?
You need to have a clear purpose and goal on what you want to write for. For example, this guide has the pure intent to help more people create awesome content. Once you have a goal and purpose, the research and structure will become a lot easier.
RESEARCH & STRUCTURE
Step one of content writing – do your homework. Yep, this helps to structure your article, long or short. It will also help to give you ideas on what to write, get your facts and points right.
The Internet these days are full of eagle eyed people, and sadly, haters who will take any chance to slam at mistakes. Don’t give them any chance to do so. 😈
C1) RESEARCH & INFORMATION
One does not start writing an article 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 facts and specs right. If you are writing an article, get your points right.
Good thing there is the Internet today, where you can look up on a lot of information. When I write guides (like this one), I like to do a little “spying” on the competition. I like to see what the top ranking articles are writing about, and how I can provide even more value than they do.
For example, when I search for “content writing tips”, a few of the guides are just giving English lessons. Just boring. So I thought, why not give tips that people can use right away?
I am sure this works the same way if you are promoting a product or event – How is your product better than the competitors, and how do you provide customers with more information and value?
C2) STRUCTURE YOUR POSTS
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 – A top ten tips post, or just a long list of 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.
C3) 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.
But I was taught something different from somewhere else – if you do it, just don’t get caught. As much as most of the world like the “honor system”, we live in a world of copycats… sort of. How many art styles are “original” these days?
Like it or not, we are mostly building on concepts and technologies that our ancestors came up with. But still, don’t copy blindly, don’t even think of rewriting a few sentences. Copy in a way, that you can call it… inspired by someone else.
C4) 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.
This section will reveal a few tricks for you to use immediately in your writing. But if there is an ultimate tip for writing, I will say, keep your reader’s attention and keep them happy.
D1) 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. Confession – it still happens to me.
But don’t let that stop you from writing. As long as you have made your research and points, 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, an article with 2000 words is done.
D2) 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 add in some fun once in a while. Something totally irrelevant, a meme, or maybe just some trivia.
D3) 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.
D4) ULTIMATE VALUE – INFORMATIONAL & ACTIONABLE
When I 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 about 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 use immediately.
D5) TALK IN SIMPLE ENGLISH
Oh no, 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 an English man. All you need is simple English, and please keep things simple.
The simpler the language, the easier it is to read, the better! In fact, if you scan through my articles and guides, you will not find many difficult words. Yes, no need Earl Grey, but at least get the Faggot and Bangers right.
P.S. Those are food.
D6) KEEP IT SHORT. BREAK IT UP.
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.
D7) 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 – use it.
It is all not about writing a lot of junk, but getting your point across to the reader, as clear as possible.
D8) 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.
😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡
D9) USE POINT FORM
Have a lot of data and points to make? Use point form to structure it. It just makes things a lot easier to read.
D10) 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.
Are you done with the article? Don’t publish it, not yet.
There are probably a ton of mistakes and things that needs to be ironed out first.
E1) STAY AWAY FOR A DAY
The worst person to edit the article that you have written, is yourself. Because your brain will probably tell you – “everything is correct already”. 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.
E2) 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.
E3) 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.
E4) PROOF READING
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.
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