There is a difference between writing great content and writing content that does not suck. Admittedly, not everyone can write exceptional content, but almost anyone can learn how to write the content that, at least, does not suck.
If you have been creating web content for many years, you must know the tricks of the trade, and must be able to craft extraordinary content with just a little effort. But, if you have just started and you are relatively new in the world of creating web content, you might be writing content that screams, “I suck!”
It doesn’t take a genius to produce good content, but most of us just don’t take the trouble to give any consideration to the process of creating content.
It isn’t very clever of you if you claim to take writing seriously, but haven’t actually learnt how to write well. Grab the books that deal with the very basics of writing with style.
What is it that you want to say?
Ask yourself what do you want to say?
It’s essential to follow a structure instead of just sitting down to write on a whim. As the cliche goes, “If you don’t have a plan, you have a plan to fail”.
Strip your ideas to the bare essentials to determine what is it you want to convey. When you have the foundations set, you are ready to build an empire on it.
Brainstorm and write down each and every idea, word or phrase that comes to your mind. This is an excellent way to dump all your knowledge about a subject on the paper (or on screen) You can connect those ideas later and categorise them in the order of importance and relevance.
Do you even know what you are trying to say?
It’s easy to be fooled by the notion that you surely know your stuff, but do you? Again, ask yourself questions and see if you can answer them. If you don’t know how to articulate a point that you thought you knew so well, then I have proved my point.
Research the subject, before you sit down to write, to clear the fundamental concepts and develop a thorough understanding of the subject. While researching, you may also come across new perspectives that will strengthen your copy.
Have your determined your writing style?
Before you write, determine whether you aim to inform, entertain, persuade, or.. just blabber. If you know the purpose of your copy, you will set the tone of your writing and easily achieve the desired results.
For example, when selling a product, you’ll use persuasive tone; when intending others to learn from your knowledge, you’ll be informative; and when sharing celebrity gossip, you’ll be entertaining.
Though, the the gurus of writing masterfully blend all these styles within one writing and still maintain a distinct tone.
What is it that your readers want to know?
You may love what you write, but do you know that you don’t write for yourself but for your readers? Ah well, you sure do! But, what if you don’t even know how your readers will see your content?
See the content from a reader’s vantage point, and see if it makes enough sense. You might just notice how self-centered you had gotten during the writing.
Write down a few basic questions from your readers’ point of view, and explain them accordingly, so the readers will be satisfied with the explanation too.
It’s tempting to go off at a tangent when you are absorbed into writing, but it’s wiser to resist the temptation and stick to the core ideas throughout the writing.
Losing focus midway means losing your readers’ interest midway.
Make it a habit to repeat the main idea while you write, so you can stop yourself from straying from the track before it’s too late.
Nothing sucks more than the writing that is riddled with typos and misspellings. It makes you look unprofessional and amateur.
You may be a champion of spelling bee competitions, but you are bound to make typos and misspell words every once in a while. An easy way to detect and correct spelling mistakes is to use a spell checker. Firefox comes with an in-built spell checker, so you can spell-check your content before publishing.
Although an automated spell checker can eliminate the common misspelling, it still can not catch the grammatical errors and words that are spelled correctly but occur in wrong places, such as ‘fro’ in place of ‘for’. Scanning closely and reading out loud your copy can help catch those culprits too.
If you don’t quite know the meaning of a word, don’t use it, or better still look it up in a dictionary. Really, none of us knows every possible meaning of every possible word, so, don’t be embarrassed about keeping a dictionary handy.
Likewise, if you think that a words is occurring in many places, you should replace it with a synonym or another closely related word. I use online Thesaurus all the time to find suitable replacements for recurring words.
It’s likely that your subject matter has already been discussed by many people, so, what do you have to offer that makes your take on the subject worth reading?
You don’t need to be radically different from others to be impressive; just a subtle taste of your unique point of view will suffice. By putting your spin on a subject, you give your readers food for thought, and convince them to take you seriously.
The first draft is always the most unorganized, but with every revision it starts to shine up and eventually fits into a coherent mold.
Don’t be satisfied with the raw ideas you just managed to put down. Like every other product that needs refining and testing before it’s ready for public use and consumption, your content also needs to get through many stringent quality filters before it is ready for exposure.
The most effective way to make sure that you haven’t made any errors is to delay the publishing. If you write something now, don’t be too quick to publish, because some pesky errors are sure to find their way through to the last draft. Therefore, if you put off posting your content to tomorrow, you will come back with a fresh view and see the errors you had omitted earlier. You’ll feel like a complete stranger reading someone else’s content. With the sense of familiarity not acting as a barrier anymore, you’ll be better able to refine your content to perfection.
Writing content that does not suck is easy. Just follow a few guidelines and you are on your way to great success. Because, really, you don’t have to be great to be successful, but you do have to be good at what you do to be an achiever.