Content writing is a very competitive field. It is after all one of the most popular ways of digital marketing. You may have already seen mind-blowing statistics such as “73% of B2B marketers use content marketing for their marketing strategy” or that “the usage of content has increased by 207% due to the pandemic” that highlight the importance of content writing. So, we won’t waste too much time with that.
Instead, we are going to teach you how to improve your content writing skills so that your work brings about results. The demand for content has only risen, and that has resulted in a lot of people looking at content writing as a career.
But to the influx, there are many people in the mix with…subpar skills…so to speak. After reading this article, you can make sure that you are not one of them. So, let’s check out some useful tips.
1. Research Extensively
You cannot write anything without having information about it. So, rule number one is to always gather information from reliable sources first. The more information you have the less “floundering about” you will have to do. This means that your writing will not be poor, thin, or less valuable.
You have to make sure that your research is done from authentic sources. That means established sources like science journals, newspapers, and books from reputable publishers.
The internet is a vast resource, so you will never be short of information. You only need to look with dedication and you will find your information.
2. Read as Much as Possible
Reading is a great hobby in general, but it is even more so for content writers. By reading a lot you can passively improve your vocabulary and your knowledge. There are a lot more benefits of reading other than those mentioned, but for the sake of this article, we will only mention those two.
By reading, you learn the following things;
So, read as much as you can in your free time, it will not only help your career but your life in general.
3. Find or Create a Community of Writers
The company of like-minded people can make any task more bearable and fun, no matter how tedious or boring it is. So, if you are looking to improve your writing skills, then find a group of people who also write and make plans to hang out with them.
During these hangouts, you can exchange thoughts and pointers with each other and in the process learn new writing skills. This happens because people are very different from each other, and have their own unique approaches to everything.
Of course, that extends to writing as well. So, by spending time with each other and discussing writing, you can learn from others as well as teach them. And who knows, you could even find your writer’s inspiration here too.
4. Utilize Tools at Your Disposal
Not all methods of improving your writing skills involve old-fashioned techniques. Nowadays there are many sorts of tools that writers use for their benefit. Now, the main usage of these tools is not teaching or learning, but nothing says that you can’t do so.
There are a wide variety of tools that you can use. For example, you can use idea-generation tools to come up with unique topics…kind of like this:
Or, you can use tools such as an online summarizer to create concise content and cut away the fluff…which can look something like this:
Mind you, there are a lot of other tools that you can use as well, but looking at the ones above will help you understand the range of stuff you can do. We’ll actually discuss some other ones in the next heading, which is…
5. Make it a Habit to Proofread
If there is one thing that you should know about being a writer, then that is that first drafts almost always suck. They go through multiple rounds of editing before they become good enough to show the world.
So, how do you realize that? Well, by proofreading. Anything you write should be proofread after a little break. In this proofreading session, you can find many mistakes such as grammar mistakes, typos, incorrect information, missing information, etc., etc.
While you should do the first round of proofreading on your own, using tools for the next couple of takes is also a good idea. For example, you can look for grammar and spelling errors on your own, but you can then take help from a grammar checker to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
Similarly, plagiarism is something that you have to be careful of when proofreading. Plagiarism is the single most undesirable thing in any content writing piece, so proofreading is doubly important because of that.
But, catching plagiarism manually is not so easy and you will need help with it. One of the best ways of catching plagiarism is to utilize an online plagiarism checker.
So, by proofreading thoroughly, you will find out the areas of writing that you are weak in. Consequently, that will help you work on them and improve them, thus improving your writing skill.
6. Editing is Your Friend
Of course, after proofreading, you have to do editing, because otherwise, there is no point in proofreading. All the mistakes that get pointed out during proofreading now need to be dealt with.
You need to correct all typos, spelling errors, and grammar errors, and deal with all the plagiarism as well. You can also utilize tools to do this, but we wouldn’t recommend doing so unless you are really short on time. The reason is that many tools make very inappropriate edits to correct the mistakes, and that makes the entire work well…worse.
So, either get an experienced writer (you know, from your writer group) to help you with editing or do it manually yourself. That way you will get to learn how to correct your mistakes, and in the future, you will make fewer of them.
7. Plan What You Want to Write Before You Write It
Never just sit down and start writing after you have done your research. That is a bad practice, and it leads to a lot of rambling sentences/passages. Of course, those are a sign of poor writing, so you want to avoid that.
You can avoid this and help improve your content writing by planning what you want to write in advance. The most common way of doing this is to create an outline before starting,
In the outline, you need to write down the headings that will be discussed in the content. Along with the headings, you will also need to write some small details that will help you to remember what to write under each heading.
Anytime you feel lost during writing, just consult your outline, and you will be able to figure out what to write next. It will also help you to stay focused and not go off on a tangent.
8. Don’t Get Hung Up on Perfecting your Work
One mistake that new writers make is to get too obsessed with perfecting their work. This obsession usually results in overcorrection, and that can make the content quality suffer.
In fact, some people can actually get so hung up on perfection that they fail to complete their work at all. So, do not be too bothered by perfection. We are all humans, and humans make mistakes. So, only edit your work until a certain point. If you feel that you are incapable of holding yourself back, then get someone else to proofread and edit your work. That way you will be freed from that trouble altogether.
9. Care about Readability
One of the most important things that content writers have to watch out for is content readability. One of the parameters that determine the quality of a content writer’s work is determined by how easy their work is to read and understand.
New writers often make the mistake of using really sophisticated vocabulary that normal people don’t even know. This becomes an impediment to comprehension and readers are repelled by it.
So, content writers really need to ensure that their work is easily understandable by 12 years old kids. That is the average reading age in the USA. So, after you write your draft, read it again to check it for readability and edit any parts that are difficult.
If you find that the readability in your work is too low, there are different steps that you can take to fix it:
1. Have a friend read it over and point out the difficult parts (you can’t really do this well yourself since you won’t realize the hard parts)
2. Then, once the hard parts are pointed out, either reword them yourself or paraphrase them using an online tool
3. Check the finalized version again for readability issues
4. If any, repeat step 2
Content quality can be measured by as many parameters as there are people who read. The thing is that everyone likes something different, and you cannot cater to everyone. However, the ten tips discussed in this article will help you to improve your content such that a large number of people become satisfied.
You can try applying these tips in your own writing, and you will definitely see some noticeable upgrades soon enough.