My Top Personal Content Writing Lessons

10 content writing lessons

No matter what you’re writing, sometimes you just get stuck for words. Or worse, you feel like, in the words of Chuck Wendig, “EVERYTHING IS NUCLEAR DOGSHIT.”

Well, hey, we all feel that way occasionally. In fact, I feel like that practically every other hour I’m writing. But sometimes I also feel like I’ve written the Mona Lisa of content. In those moments, I’ve used the following 10 tips to help my content be awesome:

My Top 10 Content Writing Lessons

  1. Always listen to your work out loud. I know it’s annoying. I know it’s tedious. I know your work is already probably perfect. But what if it isn’t? Then, you’ll look careless for not going that extra mile to catch any last mistakes. I personally can’t edit my own work without hearing it read out loud. If I don’t have the option to do so, I then make anyone around me read the work before sending it off or hitting “publish.” It’s just worth avoiding an anxiety attack in my opinion. So I always press “read text out loud” or hit option esc. on my Mac to hear the robotic computer voice read over my content. Yes, I even used this tip for the blog article you’re reading now.

  2. Read about content writing! Pick up ‘Content Rules’ by Ann Handley or read through ‘Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen’ by Mary Norris. You’ll learn the correct way to spell “copy-edit” and read a few things about what makes amazing content amazing and readable.

  3. Notice where you repeat yourself! Maybe you’ll notice that you’ve used the word “elegant” six times in your content about jewelry. Well, that’s just not interesting. Instead, try using a different word. Better yet, skip the adjective and describe what you’re trying to talk about in a more detailed way. Write about the color of the gold in the jewelry piece or find a way to describe the effect the jewelry will have on the reader when they see it in person. Anything is better than repeating yourself. For me, I’ve noticed that I use the words “So,” “Plus,” and “this” far too often. What boring words!!

  4. Don’t write content that turns out like a tag I found on one of my christmas gifts a couple of weeks ago. How embarrassing. bad example of good content

  5. It’s okay to look at other’s work. Just don’t copy it, alright? But browsing the words of Joanna Gaines’ on hgtv.com to help you complete the 10th blurb you’re working on for that home furniture company’s website is fine. The goal is to find what’s steal-worthy. Then, you can mentally file away what you like and proceed to re-write it in a way that’s more tailored to your client or company.

  6. Go ahead, word vomit. If you have no idea where to start on a project then just start anywhere. Write down whatever comes to mind. I call this word vomiting. Where you type as fast as you can just to start getting thoughts down. I do it until I start coming to terms with how a piece should be structured or what kind of voice is really working. Then, I go back and edit. 10/10 will do it again!

  7. The rules of journalism apply. Specifically, the structure of news articles can help your next press release or blog article shine bright. So repeat after me: “intro, nut graph, bio, back to present, conclusion!” Keep repeating this to yourself until it’s hardwired into you. Even better, start reading about the five different kinds of intros you can use to instantly make your reader want to stay with you and your brilliant content. Thank you Mr. Leeman for introducing me to these!

  8. Teach your audience something but don’t talk down to them. Instead, try approach them like well-informed colleagues you want to start a conversation with. Then, give them something they can use to achieve their own personal goals. They’ll come back for more this way rather than leave feeling annoyed for ever entering into a conversation with you in the first place.

  9. Keep your company’s, or client’s, voice in mind at all times. Write as if you are the client or are the representative of your company. It’s like a game of make believe. Which, can be fun if you ask me. It’s as if you can temporarily be someone else. Personally, I find this refreshing. It just gets boring talking like yourself all the time.

  10. Remember to do your SEO homework. Yeah, your content is brilliant. But is anyone going to find it? Well, they might if you use keywords and repeat them in your article titles, h1 tag, meta description, and your body text. Even better, if you link to well-respected sources in your content, then you’ll score some extra SEO points. So here’s to doing your research! Even if it can be boring sometimes.

Alright, I’ll leave it at 10 tips for now. Stay tuned for more writing tips from me later on. I’m sure I’ll come up with a few more soon.

In the meantime, please let me know what tips you’ve taken to heart the most over your own years of writing. What tip changed your writing style? What tip made you think a little before writing your next article? What tips energized your content? Let me know in the comments guys!