21 Ways to Improve Your Content Writing Skills
I've been writing for different websites on and off for the past 10 years already. I even wrote a book. But I always look for ways how I can improve my writing skills.
So I've spent some time researching for the best writing tips that significantly change the content writing game and keep your readers glued to your content.
And here in this post, I'll be sharing the best writing tips that I believe help most writers and even famous book writers.
Planning your content or not really?
Some writers and bloggers are chaotic.
Other writers prefer to plan everything and create a calendar full of detailed content plans.
What works for you may not necessarily work for another blogger.
Anyway, whether you plan or not, even chaotic writers do some preparations like notes, drafts, research data, etc.
An outline might help to prepare and be in the right mind before you actually start writing.
Think about your outline for a while
If you write an outline the day before or do a break after doing that, you might think about it in the background, and that could help you generate amazing thoughts that you can put into words later on.
An outline helps to stay on the topic.
It's harder to find yourself too far from the topic in the middle of writing if you stick to your outline.
Which means better productivity in general while you're writing.
Use your outline as a guide, and even if you're about to finish writing your post, it's easy to go along with your original vision.
A detailed outline might serve you as a checklist with subtopics you want to cover in your article.
Control the pacing
Make sure you control the pacing in your blog post. Otherwise, readers lose interest and bounce.
If you want to increase the pace, you can:
- split long sentences into short ones;
- do the same with paragraphs (try 3-4 short sentences in a paragraph);
- sprinkle your content with actions and dialogs.
Short sentences and paragraphs increase the pace, but you can integrate dialogs to keep the pace as you want if you can't split some of the parts.
Find a balance: too many short sentences will bore your readers. On the other hand, too many long sentences will overwhelm them.
So it's a good strategy to mix things up.
Split your content into parts by using subheads.
Keep them hooked with your content by using subheads
The latest data shows that most readers stick around for 5 -15 seconds or even less.
And the truth is that most of the readers don't actually read the content. They rather skim through it.
It takes just a few seconds for even experienced readers to open your post, quickly scan it and decide whether they want to stay or go.
Hook your readers with subheads that create curiosity, and they will stay longer on your blog.
Make these subheads descriptive and intriguing to encourage readers to keep reading for more info in your paragraphs.
Transitional words and phrases
Experienced writers and copywriters are great about sentences connecting seamlessly.
Transitional words and phrases keep readers to be excited about reading every next sentence in your articles.
If you want your visitors to read from beginning to end, you need to learn how to use them.
Phrases like "here's the interesting part" and "and the best part is" tell your readers that you're about to share something important. Why does it work? FOMO is real, and nobody wants to miss something.
Transitional phrases can be useful for identifying a problem and then show them the solution.
Phrases like "here's how it works" and "so what's the solution?" urge people to read about the solution if they found that they have a similar problem as you described earlier.
There are hundreds if not more transitional words and phrases like this, and probably it deserves a separate blog post.
So we can keep up with the main topic here.
Write original content
Real-life stories and relevant case studies increase the value of content.
Tell your story if you have one — it's one of the key things that will make your content stand out from the crowd.
Share how you feel, but know your limit. Sharing an opinion on topics makes your content unique, but real facts and proven actions are musts. It should be natural in some sense, and to keep it that way is...
Write about topics that matter to you – passion is infectious.
Inform, inspire and interact with your readers in your own way as much as possible.
Search for your voice by experimenting with different styles of writing and sharing information.
Try to understand your readers as much as possible
Analyzing your visitors and regular readers might sound invasive and should be limited.
I'm against hoarding user data and manipulative techniques, but a basic knowledge of how people read your content is important, but it's a win-win strategy if done right.
Ask questions, create quizzes and polls, install analytics, or use an integrated one to receive feedback on your blog.
It's a good thing because if you know what content performs well, you might get some clues why. And this important because you can refine and write more of the content that's interested in your audience.
At the end of the day, your readers will see more value in your content and find your blog resourceful.
Problems and solutions
One of the writing styles is where you stumble upon or identify a problem and then write about a solution.
Dig deeper into this particular problem and related problems.
Write one or more posts to solve this problem and see how it performs.
Treat your blog as a problem-solving resource. People like it, and in fact, most internet users search for answers.
Your potential visitors might be looking for solutions that they can find reading your blog posts.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Show what you can instead of explaining it in words.
Supercharge your blog posts with:
- figure examples;
- schemes and diagrams.
Don't reveal too much just yet.
Leave some information or action behind your main message in the article. Intriguing bits and pieces like that make readers engaged with your content.
This results in fewer people to bounce, and they are more eager to return and read more.
We like mysteries even tho we don't always want to embrace them.
But even more, we like to solve puzzles.
Giving too much information at once often overwhelms readers, which might result in going somewhere to find a more simple answer or content in general.
Check your writing tone and make sure it's suitable to the content you're creating.
There are a lot of ways to deliver your message, but here are a few most popular:
Be careful with your opinion.
Sometimes it can be a lot of you, but if your blog is not your diary, then it's more for your readers and less about you.
Omniscient narration is the most flexible way of expressing your thoughts.
Vocabulary (using terminology specific to your audience) should be clear enough to your readers.
Use words and synonyms that are easy to understand.
Write and publish as often as you can
That's probably something you've heard a lot, but this one really works and makes you a better writer eventually.
Clearly, you won't get a lot of content and readers if you don't write.
Technologies now allow us to write wherever and whenever we want.
You can start writing some ideas on your phone on the go, create a draft over your laptop and quickly write a summary and publish your post when the time feels right for you.
You might listen to a podcast or read a book and come up with ideas.
Write those ideas as notes, and maybe it's already an outline or starting points for several articles or even chapters of your book.
Don't know what to write about?
Open your list of topics or just open your editor, write a sentence of two... and keep the momentum.
There are no strict rules like you need to start writing from the beginning. You can start somewhere in the middle or from the final words and grow it to a complete blog post afterward.
You don't have to publish everything you write.
Chose the best content you think might perform well or the content that supports the main topic of your blog.
You can always come back to drafts and modify them until they're ready or re-purpose them for different mediums.
Separate writing from editing
It might be logical to sit down and write the whole thing from start to finish and don't make any mistakes, but that's almost impossible.
My first drafts are usually clumsy and difficult to read, especially considering that English is not my first language.
It works in the same way for most bloggers — even experienced.
We, humans, make mistakes no matter how we feel about our experience and perfection.
Writing original content and paying attention too much can be overwhelming.
What's clear is that editing is not a less important part of content creation, and it definitely makes a difference if you pay attention to it.
However, it makes sense to separate this process into two stages:
In addition to this, you can start low-key and write in a paper notebook or use simple note-taking software.
And when you think it's ready for editing — use specific software that helps with the grammar, or you can outsource it to someone who can take care of it.
Focus, write fast and quality content.
The more distractions you eliminate, the better content you'll be able to create.
If you know about the flow state, you understand how deep focus impacts your work, especially if it's a creative type of work.
Here are several of how to focus on your writing
Remove distractions like movies and video content.
Avoid crowded places and times when someone might want to have even a quick chat with you.
You might want to listen to music but try to find something without vocals. That might help you to concentrate even more, especially if you're using noise-canceling headphones.
Set your phone to airplane mode. Don't worry. The world will wait until you write your next masterpiece.
Publishing an article is not the final stage.
The next thing I recommend you to do is to share your blog post with others.
Try to gather as much feedback as possible. Read through it and try to understand what people think about your articles.
Every creative person knows that it's hard to see your work being criticized.
Accepting critics is one of the difficult parts of being a blogger. Get as many bits and pieces of constructive feedback you can find.
Take action — improve and iterate. Think about how it can be applied to the content you're about to create in the future.
Edit and iterate on the existing one. Feedback helps to fix errors, and it's an opportunity to engage with your audience.
Don't overestimate what you create.
Sometimes, you might think that what you create is pure perfection.
But usually, that's not how it's seen your readers, and they just skim it through.
And you know what? This is totally ok.
It's nearly impossible to make everyone happy with your content. So don't take it personally and always try to see the result of your work objectively.
Otherwise, it's a distraction, and generally, it's wrong to overestimate something that brings almost no value to others.
Be pragmatic in that sense and ready to move on if things don't work how you thought about it.
Keep writing, keep posting
Do you want to be a prolific author?
Ok then, — you need to keep your cool and carry on with what you do the best.
Write as much as you can, publish later when you feel it's ready to be public.
- Stephen King writes 2,000 words every day.
- Seth Godin writes 1 or more posts a day and publishes one every day
Don't stop if you like blogging. Switch a topic if you need it, but keep writing.
Choose an inspiring place.
Writing is something that can be done pretty much everywhere. It doesn't require you to have a powerful computer. You can do it even without a computer, really. Moreover, you don't even need power or the internet.
Just find a place where you feel inspired and start writing.
I found myself escaping my house and heading to a coffee shop where I can sit down and write down some ideas.
I usually edit and add graphics later when at home. I've noticed that I feel much more inspired when I do it this way.
I can easily write around 2,000 words in 1 - 1.5 hours which is two times faster than if I have distractions and other things to do around me.
Start practicing, start writing.
Now, when you have all these great tips in your pocket, I believe nothing can stop you from creating amazing content.
Because the knowledge that's not put into practice is wasted, and if you know something, it doesn't mean that you can practice it.
So if you want to write and reach out to millions of readers, the best thing you can do is practice it.
Let's do it.