Writing is easy, but great writing is hard. If you want to get read online your content has to be of the highest standard. Here is a 12 step guide to writing great content that people will want to read.
First you need to decide what you are trying to achieve with your writing. If you are blogging for a business you should think about your wider marketing plans and how your blog fits in with them. You should also look beyond that and think about what you are trying to achieve with your business. You should care about what you’re writing, aligning you content with your business goals will give it purpose.
Reframe your idea or concept in a way that your readers can relate to. You need to understand the topic from their point of view. How is your post making their life better, why should they care about what your wiring about. Keep asking why until you understand what’s in it for your readers.
Support your writing with data, statistics, and expert opinion. If you want your writing to sound credible you’ll need to back up your arguments with hard facts and figures. Remember, people are visual creatures so include graphs if it helps to explain the data.
There are lots of different ways to organise your writing. Decide on the best way to put forward your thoughts, in a blog post, a how to article, a white paper, or a case study. There are lots of ways to get your point across, try to pick the most effective for your topic.
If you want your writing to be engaging try writing to one person. Imagine the person you are trying to help and write directly to them using ‘you’, and avoid using ‘they’ or ‘people’.
Do whatever it takes to get the first draft out. Don’t worry about making it perfect, just get as much down on paper as you can, as quickly as you can. If you get stuck on any point skip ahead, it often come easier once you’ve written other parts of the post.
Once you have your first draft put it to one side and walk away for a while. If it’s not urgent leaving it a week or two before you look at it again. Once you come back to it you’ll find it easier to read it with a fresh eyes. Try to read it as your reader might, and starting shaping the post into something that your read wants.
You need to give your post a great title if you want people to read it. The title is what will sell the content on social media, and it has a significant effect on how Google will index the your page. Start with a working title to go with your draft. The title should be both specific and accurate, you want to specify what problem you’re tacking and avoid a generic title that only describes the general topic. There are lots of tricks you can use to write a good headline, the HubSpot article describes some of the best.
Find someone to edit your writing for you. You’ll want someone with a good grasp of grammar, style, and punctuation. Then you’ll want to reading it through again, is it compelling and engaging. Does it scan easily? You should try to use short paragraphs and break down content with bullet points or numbered lists.
Finally, its time to publish your post. Ask yourself “what now”, don’t leave your readers standing, tell them what to do next.
Following this guide will certainly help improve your writing, but the best way to become a great writer is to write.
This infographic was created by visually and Ann Handley