If you’re running a business, then it’s recommended that you hire someone to write your web and other promotional content for you, but if you’re in the very early stages of your venture, then you’re unlikely to have the budget to hire someone. The good thing about writing is that anyone can do it, but it does take some effort and skill to get to a place where you’re writing GOOD content. Below, we take a look at some useful tips that’ll ensure that your written work, while perhaps not at Shakespeare levels, is more than passable for your needs.
Read, Read, Read
You can string a sentence together, but is it any good? When the sentence exists all on its own, it can be difficult to judge its merit. When you can put it side by side by work that you know is good, it becomes much easier to determine where your writing stands on the scale. If you’re going to write your own content, then it’s recommended that you build up your knowledge base of what good writing looks like by, well, simply reading. A person who reads 10,000 words of good writing will have a much better understanding of how to write than someone who doesn’t.
Conduct Your Research
In many ways, writing is the easy part of the content creation process. The bulk of the work takes place before and after the writing process; it’s in the research and editing where a piece is truly crafted. We’ll get to the editing part later, but for now, let’s focus on research. You’ll need to first have a topic in mind, which will be easy: the difficulty will lie in deciding what it is you want to say about that topic. You need to think, in other words. Read up as much as you can about the topic and slowly let your mind come up with ideas and draw conclusions. Make notes on everything you’re thinking, and then sort out the good ideas from the bad. Eventually, you’ll have everything you want to say right there on the page, and it’ll be a matter of putting it on to the page.
Don’t Overthink It
There’s nothing more freeing, and thus more terrifying, than sitting before a black page, knowing that you need to fill it with a thousand words, and especially so when you’ve spent so much time researching and planning your content. You’ve got everything you want to say before you, but how do you get that onto the page? The first rule is: don’t overthink it. People sit down before an empty page and suddenly stiffen up, as if they’re “putting on a tie,” to quote Sebastian Faulks. When you’ve got zero words, just start typing. You’ll eventually get into the groove. It doesn’t matter if you go back and change the beginning completely; what’s important is that you’ll have some words of wisdom in there to hold on to. Soon enough, you’ll have a piece of work that just needs tweaking.
Print It Out
The biggest mistake writers make is only viewing their work on their laptop screen. To make sure it’s any good, you need to see it in a different format; it’ll help you to read the piece as if you’re reading it for the first time, and will help you to see any glaring errors – in grammar, but also in structure and content. You can do this in two ways. You can send it to your Kindle, and read it there. The easiest method is to buy a printer, some Brother printer ink, and print it out. Once it’s in your hands, you’ll be able to see it anew and make comments in the margins. Don’t trust what you see on your computer screen; you’ll be too “close” to the piece to see it with any objectivity.
Turning the Screws
Once you’ve got the writing and have checked it for glaring errors, you’ll need to go back and turn the screws in order to make it a watertight piece of writing. If you’ve written a blog that is 800 words, you’ll be able to get it to down to 700 words. It’s all about getting rid of the sentences that don’t add anything to the piece. Keep the good stuff, and sacrifice the rest.
A Wall of Text
The writing can be superb, but if the layout is not right, then you might face a problem: no one will want to read it. When it comes to web content, people can’t stand a wall of text. Make sure the piece is divided up into readable paragraphs. The after writing care will also include finding relevant photographs and giving it an SEO spin. Seriously, Shakespeare could rise again and publish something online, and most people would hit the X button if it were all published as one giant wall of text.
Is it Interesting?
Before you finish, it’s always worthwhile going back over your piece and checking for something that’s vitally important when it comes to the online world: that it’s interesting. If you’ve adopted a tone that is too dry, go back through the piece and sprinkle it with some humour or a lighter tone, unless it’s an undeniably serious topic of course.
Know When It’s Done
You can work on a piece until the cows come home, but eventually, you’ll have to accept that you’ve done all that you can and get it out there. Trying to reach perfection is something that many writers struggle with. The problem is that while a piece can always be changed, very often it’s not improving the piece; it’s of the same quality, just slightly different. If you’ve edited it aplenty and are now just tweaking and tweaking and tweaking, it’s time to call it a day and get it out there.
Follow the above steps, and you’ll be on your way to writing an engaging piece of content for your website!