Pragmatic Content Writing Tips for Non-Content Writers
By Niraj Ranjan Rout
Although having a blog may be strategically a great idea, and an excellent way to establish your expertise, the content creation part of it is not very easy, is it?!
If you find yourself often putting off content writing because you don’t see yourself as a writer and you dread writing, you are not the first!
The good news is that writing, especially for blog articles, is not as hard as one might think. You can have not-so-extraordinary writing skills and still be able to attract readers to your blog if your content is highly valuable and well-targeted.
Here are a few content writing tips that will make a non-writer’s life easy:
- Create a road map/strategy
Having a clear idea about what it is that you want to get out of your content or who should be reading it is the key to getting started.
The first step, then, is to figure out who should be your audience and the kind of content that will interest and entice them. Figure out what type of content will add value to their lives. This will allow you to define the content niche you are going to be targeting.
After you have the ‘what’ of your content, start by creating the ‘how’ – formulate a content strategy. This is key because it will give you a solid roadmap for handling the content creation and the writing process, effectively. It will, further, help you set goals such as:
- How often must I create content?
- How should I use the content I created – create brand image and awareness, or increase signups, or get people to sign up for a webinar? etc.
- What are the subjects that will most interest my prospects?
- What style of content presentation am I going to stick to? Formal and descriptive or creative and sassy etc.
Without a roadmap (even a broad high-level one can help), you will just be walking in blind and that will only amplify the difficulty of content writing.
- Let technology come to your aid
Undeniably, writing is tough, but fortunately, you don’t have to feel helpless about it! There are a number of great tools that will help you edit, fine-tune, and refine your content. Additionally, the inputs and insights you get from these tools will help you improve your writing skills over time.
Here are a few good tools to help you become an amazing writer:
Grammarly: The tool proofreads your content to find grammar, punctuation, and usage errors in your content. For those of us who haven’t had a formal education in the art of writing, this tool is extremely useful.
Hemingway editor: You can use this tool to check the readability of your content. You can paste your content and the tool will let you know if the sentences are readable, and if your content is easy to comprehend for a reader and much more.
These are just two popular tools that most content creators use. There are so many others for you to try before deciding on your toolkit.
- Actively seek feedback
Remember that when creating content, what really matters is that you are able to connect with your readers. If you fail at that, it doesn’t matter how erudite and elegant your writing is, it will not reach your audience. Most content creators make this mistake of focusing too much on the art of writing itself, that they forget to focus on the main goal of the blog post – to connect with the audience.
The best way to improve yourself in this aspect is by actively seeking feedback; even seasoned writers do this.
So, proactively bounce your content pieces off others and get their feedback. Check if your writing is conveying your ideas/thoughts/intentions as is.
If the writing is distorting your intended message and making it hard to comprehend, then you definitely have to spend some extra time on your writing skills, an online course could help.
When you already not very confident about your writing skills, dealing with negative feedback can be hard. It will probably tempt you to give up the idea entirely – don’t!
Have a thick skin and seek out people who give you constructive criticism, so that they not only point out the flaws, but will also give insights on how to correct them.
- Develop your own content style
Although writing is indeed a popular way of content presentation, if it is not your key strength, then a smart thing to do would be to mix up different types of content presentation style such as infographics, graphs etc. This can ease the pressure on writing.
Also, mixing up different styles will keep your audience engaged and guessing . For example, if you want to do how-to guide posts or research-oriented posts, instead of taking it upon yourself to write a chunky text-heavy 3000-word piece, use other styles/formats such as:
- To-do lists
- Roundups/series posts etc.
- Infographics and other graphic presentations
Pick the formats that will work best with your writing style and take advantage of them.
- Reduce the stress involved in writing
Another way you can make writing an enjoyable process is by eliminating the taxing parts of it such as editing, proofreading etc. Consider, for example, delegating these steps of content creation.
This way you get to spend more time on writing itself and won’t be distracted by the nitty-gritty aspects of it. Here are some things you can do:
Set up a system: The smartest way to deal with the task of content writing is to set up systems and to religiously follow them.
For instance, set and schedule a specific time to write every day. Also, plan what you are going to write on a particular day way in advance. In short, create a writing routine and prepare an editorial calendar for content topics. This way, you won’t have to decide when and what to write every day.
Write for non-readers: Again, don’t get too fixated on the writing itself. Most readers don’t have the time to read an entire article. So, rather focus on making the article easy to scan by using sub-headings, bullet points etc. That way, a reader can quickly get the gist.
Get help for proofreading and editing (maybe even delegate it entirely): Proofreading/editing is one-half of the content creation work. Simplify your life by hiring a freelancer maybe, or by delegating the task to a team member.
Truth is, the only way you can get better at creating content is through self-discipline and practice. But it is also important to remember that your aim is not to become a writer per say but to deliver good, helpful, and readable content to your audience. So, know where to focus and how to get results.
Author Bio: My bio: Niraj is the founder of Hiver (hiverhq.com), an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool. When not working at Hiver on programming or customer support, Niraj likes to play guitar. Niraj can be reached on Twitter @nirajr.
Readers, please share so other content creators become aware of Niraj’s tips. His tips for becoming an amazing writer work.
Note: Janice will be responding to comments as her vacation schedule allows.