The pen is mightier than the sword, but only when used to its full potential. Writing may feel like a talent that has passed you by, something that only other people can do. However, with practice, planning and plenty of proofreading, anyone can be a good writer. Here’s a guide to writing good content even when you don’t feel like it:
Make a Plan, and Stick to It
Our minds work best in terms of threes. That’s why there are many versions of the “rule of thirds.” Photographers use the rule of thirds to determine how to frame a picture. Writing also has a “rule of thirds.” It’s simple: spend a third of your time on research and outlining, a third of your time writing and a third of your time proofreading your work.
If you’re an expert on the subject at hand, spend the researching phase crafting an outline. The more you know about something, the more tempting it will be to ramble on when you’re writing about it. And while you might think it’s fascinating how octopuses have three hearts and how each of those hearts functions, the reader may not understand how it relates to the piece you’re writing.
It’s easy to lose someone when you keep going on and on and on. That’s why it’s important to create an outline that moves your reader from one point to the next. Keep it concise. Get to the point. Keep your reader engaged.
Proofread, then Proofread Again
To begin the proofreading process, get into the mindset that you’re looking at someone else’s writing. This will help you become less attached to all those lovely pieces of prose you spent hours crafting. Read the entire piece out loud to yourself to make sure the point comes across. Questions to ask yourself when reviewing your work are:
- Is there a clearer way to phrase this?
- Will my target audience see value in this content?
- What could make this more compelling?
When you feel like you’ve finally reached the sweet spot in editing, give your work one more readthrough. If another person can review your work, let them read it and make suggestions. Having a second set of eyes never hurts.
Consider the Platform
Think about where your writing will go. How and what you write should fit the intended platform. The tone and style of an Instagram caption should differ from the tone and style of a piece of technical writing. Give some thought to who will be reading it. If it helps, picture your target reader in your mind’s eye and ask “would they read this content?” This is especially important if you plan to incorporate pop culture references or trending humor. Know your audience, and you’ll be one step closer to keeping them engaged.
Use Free Online Tools
Online writing tools can get you closer to your writing goals when you’re struggling. Tools like Grammarly and the Hemingway App go beyond spelling and grammar checking. They dig a little deeper into things like tone and concise writing. These are a few of the free online tools that can help you improve your writing without the help of an editor (though having an editor helps, too).
Good writing takes time, and as a content marketing agency in Orlando, we understand that time is not a resource that’s available to everyone. Sometimes, the best way to write compelling pieces is to have copywriters at an agency do it for you. Need professional copywriting for your business? Give us a call at 407-830-4550 or fill out our online form.