We all know that stage fright’s real. But so is the fear of writing online.
And it hits differently when you’re creating content on the internet under thousands of scrutinizing eyes. Even more so, when you’re doing it for your business.
The good news is that writing doesn’t have to be as scary as it is to ad-lib on stage and almost anybody can improve their writing skills with a little discipline and our list of 20 tips mentioned below.
So, let’s get to it, shall we?
Content writing tips you need to pin!
After spending almost a decade in the content marketing industry, here are some of the writing tips we follow in-house.
Tip 1 – Make your hook stronger
No matter how valuable or detailed your content is, if your content doesn’t have a strong hook there are pretty less chances for anyone to read it.
The format gives your content a structure but a hook gives it a character. It needs to be creative and written solely to trap your readers to consume your content
Tip 2 – Don’t dive into different topics
Make sure you stick to the topic you used as a hook. Imagine hooking someone with a topic like “How to rank your website” and talking about “social media marketing strategy” – seems like a scam, right?
If you’re talking about “How to rank your website”, then your content must include the following topics:
- How to focus on on-page SEO
- How to write SEO optimized content
- How to focus on off-page SEO
Remember, any number of headings as long as they are relevant to the topic. But nothing beyond that or you will lose the reader.
Tip 3 – Make the last word the most important word in the sentence
According to a study, the first and the last word in a sentence are more important than everything that comes in between.
Start and end the sentence with the most powerful word in it.
Let’s dive into an example.
“You knew who the first President was.”
This is weak because “was” is not the most important word in the sentence.
“You knew the name of the first President.”
The word “you” establishes a direct connection with the reader, and the word “President” ends it on a powerful note that makes the reader wonder whether they do remember the name or not.
Tip 4 – Increase engagement by keeping your content short and crisp
Readers tend to take action when the sentence you write is on point and the language is refined. Simply dragging the same topic won’t make sense unless it’s super beneficial to the reader.
Short paragraphs make it easy for a person to read through even the longest of content pieces. But crisp writing is what helps them take actionable and learn from it.
Tip 5 – Prepare an outline of what you want to write
Writing gets easier when you have an outline in place. There’s a lot of brainstorming and research that goes in before you conclude on the topics you’ll write on. So whenever you come across an idea or a topic, jot down a few important points and when you actually start writing, try to expand on the same.
Having an outline saves you time and also keeps you aligned to the direction you had intended to follow.
Tip 6 – Don’t use semicolon
Okay, here’s one thing about semicolons. Readers shouldn’t wait for long to take in the air while reading.
Good writing mimics the way people speak. So it makes sense that a comma is for a one-second break and a period is for taking a breath. So why suffocate the reader by making the sentence way too long with semicolons?
Tip 7 – Breakdown what you’re explaining into bullet points
When a reader comes across your article, they want to read it effortlessly. Online readers skim through the content instead of reading it word to word.
Adding bullet points is a great way to list down facts or the important data you don’t want your readers to miss out on.
Let’s give you an example.
Version 1: Compress what you are saying into bullets. Make sure you’re emphasizing the right points. Expand each point into detail. Keep the sentences short and crisp.
- Compress what you are saying into bullets
- Make sure you’re emphasizing the right points
- Expand each point into detail
- Keep the sentences short and crisp
Isn’t version 2 easier to read compared to version 1? If so, then you got the first tip.
Tip 8 – Write in different interfaces and platforms
You will see your writing differently on different interfaces. If you are used to writing on a single UI then you’re used to a staple process.
Have you ever tried writing in a physical journal, napkins, looseleaf paper, Medium UI, Quora answers and so on? If not then try and see how it impacts your writing.
This will also help you learn how to write as per the audience, platform and medium you’re writing on.
Tip 9 – Remove the tiny-word-chunks
This is again similar to using “that” when it’s not necessary. It’s always a good practice to clear tiny chunks when they are together. The reason? Removing them makes your sentences crisp and clear.
By tiny chunks, here’s what we mean:
- “And so as”
- “It is for”
- “If it is”
- “Is it that”
It’s like plucking out the weeds from between your flowers.
Tip 10 – Don’t use phrases that open with “I”
When you’re writing something, the reader knows who you are and what you’re talking about. So using “I” in every other sentence would make no sense and may sound redundant.
Here are some of those “I” phrases you can skip:
- “I think”
- “I believe”
- “I have learned”
- “I conclude”
You are the author. And all the things you are saying are your own thoughts, beliefs, lessons learned, and conclusions.
So it’s pretty much understood.
Tip 11 – Identify your target audience
Identifying your target audience is crucial before you start planning or writing your content. You need to know who you’re writing for, what their interests are, how your content will benefit them and a lot more.
This will help you write more actionable content and align it with the goal you want to achieve from it.
Tip 12 – Avoid using the word “that”
Understand the necessity to use “that” in a sentence. If you feel the message can be delivered without using “that”, don’t include it.
Let’s understand the difference with an example.
She said that although the sunrise workout sounded like a brilliant idea, sleeping in also sounded good.
She said although the sunrise workout sounded like a brilliant idea, sleeping in also sounded good.
Didn’t you feel “that” was unnecessarily used in the first sentence? 99% of the time you don’t need it. So omit it when it’s not necessary.
Tip 13 – Start your article by following the 1/3/1 rule
1/3/1 is the cadence that makes it easier for readers to fall into your writing. The start and the end are read like candy. The middle is where all the value lies.
So make sure the top and the bottom of your article is short and the real value is explained in detail in the middle.
This is one of the strategies that websites with low bounce rates rely on.
Tip 14 – Don’t pressurize yourself with word count
Your focus should be on creating content that’s valuable. The length of your article matters but not when you’re just stuffing it with words to make it lengthier.
Focus on what needs to be said. If your content covers the all-important ground, the number of words won’t matter.
Quality > Quantity.
Tip 15 – Publish a lot of content for practice
The more you write, the better you get.
You’re definitely going to make a lot of mistakes as you go. There will be times when others reach out to you and point out those mistakes as well.
Use those messages as insights and constructive feedback, and keep them in mind when writing the next piece out.
The goal is to get better as you go.
Tip 16 – Focus on writing something original
There are hundreds of articles written on the same topic you’re planning to write about. Most of the time we research content written on similar topics and end up writing something similar with different words or sentences.
Your own ideas or opinions about the topic never come out.
Instead, why not simply take a blank paper or a sheet and write 100% from scratch?
Trust that the best parts of V1 will make their way into V2 and anything that didn’t need to be there just won’t.
Therefore, focus on writing fresh content rather than tweaking what already exists on the internet.
Tip 17 – Don’t use adverbs
Overuse of adverbs is the hallmark of lazy, cluttered writing. Good dialogue should use strong verbs rather than ‘-ly’ adverbs.
Removing them makes your sentence more declarative. And allows the characters to convey the emotions of the dialogue themselves.
Tip 18 – Write something random before starting the actual writing
Imagine working out without a warm-up.
Instead of a smooth, energetic and free-flowing workout, you’re going to be cramped, gasping for air more than you’d like and doing more harm than good.
The same goes with writing. Before you start “intentional writing,” do some unintentional writing.
Open a blank page and spend 15 minutes journaling whatever comes to mind. Don’t censor yourself or bother with the grammar; it’s all about getting your thoughts together.
Clean out the pipes and let the freshwater flow. You’ll see the draft marginally improved and decrease the chances of writer’s block.
Tip 19 – Write with energy and passion
If you’re not passionate about what you’re writing then it will simply feel like another task. Write about your experiences, write about your solutions, write what you’re passionate about.
Because work that stems from a passion and real experiences is of much better quality than something that’s written just to meet a deadline.
Tip 20 – Write to make a change in the reader’s mind
A mantra we, the writers at Contensify go by is, “When your readers love your content, IT WILL SELL”
Push content that’s not just informative but also creates an impact on the reader’s mind. If you’re able to crack this code then you don’t have to worry about the numbers and graphs showing how your content is going to perform.
As writers at Contensify, we get to work with brands from different domains solving a wide array of problems. The reason we have so effortlessly conquered even the most complex of products and services, is because we are willing to understand the product in and out and are passionate when it comes to writing about them.
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