I hate writing. Writing English essays is definitely the most hated homework during my school days. And, I bet many of you bloggers are just like me.
Unfortunately, good content is the backbone of blogging (and in many cases, web marketing) success. Creating good content consistently is just too vital task to be ignored for bloggers and web marketers.
As much as I hate to write, I have written hundreds of articles on my websites and blogs in the past. I have also worked with dozen of freelancers and professional writers from different countries on numerous projects. Truth is, you can actually produce great content online without the love in writing.
In this post, I am going to reveal a powerful technique in six simple steps and all the specific tools I use to creating good content online regularly.
Let's get started!
6 Steps To Write Great Content Consistently
1. Have A Good Reference List
First, you will need to have a list of good reference blogs (or the site or iconic person) in your industry.
Do leverage the benefits of content management tools – it's the most efficient way to ensure a steady flow of information from your listed blogs or persons' shares. Personally, Feedly and Flipboard Asana and Twitter works best for me. I use Flipboard Twitter to follow my favorite persons' shares (they are like my virtual mentor) and I use Feedly Asana to log my readings and share it with my team.
You might be using other tools – Evernote, Emails, Chorme Reading List, Facebook, Flud News, Pinterest – and that's fine. The key point is to have a systematic way to keep track of your reading and build a reference list for your writing.
In case you wonder how many blogs or persons you should follow (as Internet noise filtration is sort of important these days) – I do not set any limit on my list but I hardly go more than thirty. I would also suggest you review and clean up your list once per six months (believe me, no matter how active they were initially, some blogs will just go dormant after some time).
2. Create A Catalog Of Interesting Titles
Now, once you have that list of blogs or persons to follow; and, you are reading it on a regular basis; it is time to do some homework.
Jot down the titles of the articles that have high social scores (say, 100 Retweets or 200 Facebook Likes or so on) in simple notepad or an Excel spreadsheet. These titles are the topics that resonate well with your target audiences. We will then create our content around these ideas at a later stage.
I use Evernote and Evernote Web Clipper Asana Chrome Extension to clip whatever I have read online and use a simple Google Spreadsheet to jot down titles / ideas I want my team to work on. I like how my Asana Chrome Extension works seamlessly in clipping web content and synchronizing my reading logs between my desktop, laptop, and tablet. I recommend you to try it if you haven't.
3. Filter And Pick Popular Titles
Steve Jobs once famously said:
Good artists copy, great artists steal*
This principle guided the late Steve Jobs in designing the Macintosh and building the most valuable company in our history. It's a principle we can make use of when it comes to writing great online content too.
By collecting a list of popular titles related to your industry, you should now have an “inspiration catalog”.
Scan through the list weekly and pick at least one as your writing subject of the week. Select topics that you particularly passionate with or experienced in. The idea is not to steal the author's writing in whole. Instead, what we want are good titles that we can further enhance with our experiences or/and different point of views.
Do you have any specific experience with the selected topic?
Do you strongly disagree or agree with the original author's opinion?
Can you enhance the original articles with more examples or facts?
Do you have any further suggestions on tools and other resources for the authors?
If your answers to the above questions are mostly yeses, then high chances that you already have some good ideas on what to write next.
For example, here's what I will normally do, in this particular order, when writing an article.
Use simple headlines to describe paragraphs; use bullet points to elaborate on what each paragraph will contain. Tweak headlines and subheadings to be more attractive. Map out the structure of the article to make sure it flows smoothly – change the paragraph orders if necessary. When the main frame of the article is complete, fill up each paragraph with details on who, when, what, where, why, and how.
Time yourself – add a little pressure to your writing might help.
Occasionally, I set goals like ‘finish this 1,500 article in 3 hours' and use the timer on my phone to force myself to write within the preset time frame. Since it is all about writing efficiency, I believe we should be a little more time-sensitive and be specific with our goals.
5. Value Adding: Videos, Images, Audios, Charts, etc
As we are writing and publishing our content online, there's no point for us to limit ourselves within words. Just like what you are seeing in this blog post, any supporting graphics, videos, photos, presentation slides, and audio should be added to your article.
Confession: I don't really do that much of proof-read on my work. Remember that I hate writing a lot? Instead of spending time fine-tuning my writing, I always try to spend more time on research and study work; hoping that the facts and the usefulness of my article would overcome my grammar flaws.
However, the truth is, I should do more proof reading and write better English. And, so do you.
The final step of writing your article is to proof read, spell- and grammar-check. After The Deadline or Hemingway Editor are free and easy to use. If budget allows – hire someone to proof-read and check your writing so you can learn and improve faster. Some would preview their articles in a different version of browsers and screen sizes for compatibility sake, but as long as your blog is running on a proper-designed theme I think you should be safe.
Writing Content that Sells
Tim Devaney and Tom Stein state in their Forbe article “Use Content Marketing to Boost Your Business” (article removed from Forbes) that most people make their buying decision based on the information they get from writings.
In a survey by Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision-makers said they prefer to get information via articles, not ads.
Seventy percent said content makes them feel closer to a company, and 60% said content provided by companies helps them make smarter buying decisions.
While expanding readership and getting more shares on social media networks is important – making your content able to sell is equally important. Here are a couple of writing tips that will make your copy sells better.
Know your audience – Who are you selling to? What are their needs? What problems are they having in life?
Write from your reader's perspective – If you are writing a sales copy, explain what they can achieve with your product instead of boosting your product features
Write engaging headline – People don't click and read – they click, scan, and read. Make sure your writing is filled with easy-to-scan headlines and bullet points.
Tell a story – Use story to hook the reader in the first couple of sentences.
Provide accurate, up-to-date information – Outdated copy makes you look unprofessional and discounts readers' trust – fact-check your copy before publish and update it from time to time after it's published.
Show, don't tell – Paint a picture that helps readers to see things in their mind's eye (more useful tips here).
A Final Twist And Advice
Here's a final twist before I end this article.
As many of you may have guessed – yes, this article is written based on the same technique that I'm explaining here.
You see, this technique works and it's used by experienced bloggers and professional writers.
By reading this blog post until this point, you have already equipped yourself with a new, powerful technique practiced by many other great writers.
The only advice I will give next is ‘Get Started!'. Go on, do something! Start a blog, build a list, write some outlines, fill up some details to your articles… the more you do, the more you practice the technique; the more you practice, the more efficient you grow in writing; and, the sooner you get started, the sooner your blog will be filled with constant flow of great content.
About Jerry Low
Founder of WebHostingSecretRevealed.net (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and used by 100,000's users. More than 15 years experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing, and SEO. Contributor to ProBlogger.net, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and more.