Writing content is easy. Writing compelling content is hard. It’s the reason so many blogs exist, but so few great ones. We all have great things to say, it’s just a matter of knowing how and in what manner to deliver the messages we want our clients to hear. The good news is that writing is a skill not a gift, so it can be developed over time. Starting with these basic tips will help you get your feet on the ground:
Write the way you speak.
If you find yourself having a hard time getting started, think of the topic at hand and imagine how you might explain your message to a friend or colleague. Often times writer’s block strikes simply because we are over-thinking our message. Use a story, a quote, some topical history, whatever you might bring up if you shared the same message through conversation. Then let the more complex ideas flow from there.
Produce. Let it rest. Then come back to it.
What you write today likely will sound a lot different when you re-read it again 12 hours, a day, or a week later. When we spend a lot of time stewing over the same message, it’s easy for our arguments to become disjointed in the process of trying to sort out information, relevant data, possible back stories, etc. What sounds clear to us in the moment may come off not so clear when we go back and read it again later, making time an important ingredient to the writing process. Writing and immediately posting can be very dangerous for this reason, so I strongly urge against it. This is one of the easiest yet more helpful steps you can take in ensuring you put forth only top quality content at all times.
Let at least two other people proof read.
Unfortunately, this is a step you need to take. Everyone’s brain processes information differently, so what’s clear to you may not be very clear to someone else, or vice versa. Allowing multiple people to put their eyes on your work makes it less likely that your message will be misinterpreted or received in a light other than the one you were trying to present it in, due to the fact that it has been strengthened by multiple perspectives.
Allow stories, metaphors, and data to back up complex topics.
Any content you produce should open the eyes of your readers and present them with information that was otherwise unfamiliar or unknown to them. This means that your writing will likely have a component of explanation to it, and executing that explanation clearly is key in making sure your readers don’t become confused and give up. If a point you are trying to make is particularly complex, use a story, metaphor, graph, or example to back it up. Working from more simple, philosophical, or theoretical concepts and moving slowly into the nitty gritty details of a complicated explanation allows your reader to process the information in bite sized chunks so that they do not become overwhelmed. Stories, examples, and metaphors are easy to digest. Complex topics and their consequences or applications are not. Use the former to arrive at the latter.
Use other content forms to introduce variety and drive engagement.
Staring at a full page of words is not only daunting, but it’s boring. As a simple solution, adding photos that enhance and support your arguments helps break up the page and give readers a little bit of visual engagement. Got that down? Add a bit of audio that introduces, summarizes, or supports the message of the article. Add some quotes to drive interest and pull the reader’s eyes down the page. Fill space with a video that offers a side story, some back history, or a call to action related to the topic at hand. Anything that visually engages the reader and allows for them to consume the message through a different media form will help keep them interested.
Easy access to additional articles, media, and resources.
Have you ever gone to YouTube to watch a certain video and 20 minutes later found yourself watching a completely unrelated video with almost idea how you even got there? Providing access to various different pieces of content increases the chances that your reader goes down one of these rabbit holes, and the further into your content they get the more compelled they are by the information you have provided and the more engagement they have with your brand. Keeping relevant and compelling topics in front of the reader at all times will lower the chances of them bouncing away from your site. And the more they engage the more they build a foundation of trust.
Writing content that readers want to read and presenting it in a way that keeps them engaged can sometimes seem so intimidating that we avoid doing it all together, which is a dangerous mistake to make in a market begging for quality written word. Don’t let the challenge of writing be a hindrance to your success.
Still not convinced? Let Hither do the hard work for you.