The internet is a treasure trove of information. Millions if not billions of articles, blogs, infographics, videos and an assortment of varying content are published online every day. Cutting through the clutter is no easy feat even for the most talented, proficient and prolific writers.
So how can you distinguish yourself from the horde? How can your content stand out from the dumping ground of information and dubious news on the internet? How can you become more hirable, unique and build a loyal fan-following? In short, how can you become a savvy writer?
The good news is that it’s easy to craft content and hone your writing skills to become an expert writer that editors and companies are willing to hire. The bad news is that it involves oodles of hard work, patience, practice and learning a multitude of writers tips and tricks.
Fret not. It’s not as scary as it sounds!
To make your life a whole lot easier, we’ve created the ultimate checklist for savvy online writers. You can use it while writing your latest blog post or go back to it from time to time to perfect your writing skill.
Read to receive some wisdom? Below are some useful tips for writers in 2018:
Part 1: The Structure
Headlines are not the first but the only impression you’ll make to your audience. Use a catchy, attention-grabbing headline that clearly states the benefit of reading your content. Better yet, make it emotional. Let it address a key desire of your ideal reader. But don’t make it too long. Hubspot recommends keeping it below 70 characters.
Break large chunks of text into easy-to-read digestible paragraphs. Use sub-headings and bullet points.
Avoid writing large paragraphs. Each paragraph should only consist of 3-4 lines at the most and only address one point. And each sentence should only contain 10-18 words. Anything more than that will confuse readers and abandon reading the content.
What did you learn in your English class in school? That every essay must have a title, introduction, body and conclusion. Use that format in creating your online content. Sometimes you learn the most important things in school.
Don’t forget to conclude your blog with one clear call to action that has a sense of urgency (fox example, offer lasts till 31st December), a promise to solve the reader’s problem or relieve their fear (guaranteed results! Drop 10 pounds in 10 weeks) and is easy to locate on the page. This is arguably one of the most beneficial writers tips.
Part 2: The Content
Of all the sea of writers tips available online, here is one that is crucial to your career’s success: Research. Spend hours researching about your topic, collecting data that will support your claims and understanding the minds of your target audience. Have you done ample research?
Every content must present and describe a problem, offer a solution and deliver a promise that the solution will make their lives less painful. Remember to always highlight the benefits of your product or service. Not just it’s features. A brand-new car’s benefit isn’t taking you from point A to point B. It’s the freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want.
Add stories to your content. Facts and figures are great but a story is what fascinates an audience and keeps them hooked. They’ll read your content if it’s got drama, emotions and ignites their senses. You can even use a personal story to relate to your audience. For example, if you’re writing an opinion-based article on depression and you’ve suffered from it or know a loved one who has, you can certainly talk about it. It helps in building a strong and authentic connection with your readers.
Cite your resources. And never, ever plagiarize content. It’s not only unethical but it’s illegal. While citing sources, it’s a good practice to credit the author or organization with their full name. Quotes should also include the author’s full name and the book’s name.
Use high resolution pictures, GIFs, YouTube videos, vibrant infographics or other rich multimedia to complement your content. Brainrules reports that when people hear information, they only remember 10% of it after three days. If you pair it with an image, they’ll retain 65% of that information three days later.
Adverbs, filler words like perhaps and rather, technical jargon and fancy words aren’t going to impress anyone – neither the readers, your editors or your boyfriend. Steer clear of them. Unless you know every single reader that stumbles on your blog definitely knows what the terms mean.
Convert passive voice into active voice. A lot of online writers tips suggest doing this. Active voice makes content powerful and gives a sense to readers that the writer knows what they’re talking about. In contrast, passive voice sounds dull and makes you look unsure.
Persuade. And Persuade some more. Your job, as a sucessful online writer, is to sell a product or service. If you’re not a natural salesman, read articles on persuasion. What you don’t kow you can always learn.
Ensure that your content is scannable. Can readers skim through your blog and get an idea of what it’s about? Can they hover over the bullet points easily? Attention spans are short. People scan content before deciding to read it. Which means you need to make your blog browse-able.
Part 3: Style and Voice
Here are two great tips for writers in 2018: Talk to your audience like you’re having lattes with them at a café and use your unique writing voice to do it. They need to know that a human being is writing to them and not some robot or machine. Be their friend. Make them feel comfortable. Writing is all about building a connect with your readers.
Talk directly to your readers by using “you,” recommends Copyblogger. It makes readers feel like you’re talking to them rather than some random group of people. It also makes the content more personal when you address them straightforwardly.
Read your blog out aloud. Shoo away your cat, put your phone on silent mode and read it. If it sounds natural, good. If it doesn’t, change it.
Be yourself. If you’re a witty person, show it in your writing. If you are an honest and frank individual, let your blog be no-nonsense and truthful. If you’re an entertainer, entertain your readers through your blogs. Authenticity is an important aspect of content creation. Readers can sense when someone isn’t being themselves or trying to act like someone else. Being inauthentic severs your connection to them.
Part 4: Search Engine Optimization
Select the best keywords and use them naturally in your article. Don’t go overboard and use it heavily just because you have it. It’s also a good idea to use keywords in your headline and sub-headings. Keywords bolster your position on the search engine results page. A keyword-rich article is also more likely to pop up on social media sites.
Sprinkle your blogs with links to external authoritative websites that rank high on Google. This not only increases your ranking but gives your readers a chance to explore more information about a given topic. They need not go elsewhere to receive all the pertinent information on a topic. It’s a win-win for all.
Also add internal links to your content. How else do you think Wikipedia has such a good search engine ranking? It’s because they pepper their pages with heaps of internal links. Don’t be afraid to link your earlier blogs and articles to your current content.
So there you have it – the ultimate checklist and tips for writers in 2018. Use this handy dandy guide for all your content needs and within no time you’ll be a fierce writer that’s gradually building a loyal audience and converting readers to customers. Of course, this list is my no means exhaustive so feel free to check out other sources for words of wisdom.
However, before parting with us, here’s something that no website will tell you: Writing is a creative process but it also requires perseverance, hard work, dedication and discipline. Just like any other field or industry, the more your write, the better you’ll get at it. It’s crucial to set a daily word count (like 2,000 words) and make sure you reach it every day.
Businesses are looking for not just creative writers but also scribes that can deliver error-free, accurate and creative content on time.