Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Often on the internet, we are swamped with a plethora of information, guides, journals, books, courses and videos on 'How to...', but they never seem to really get to the point, so we never know where to turn. We flail virtually across a few open tabs on Google before closing them all down at once and shutting the laptop in a huff, getting nowhere. Here are my writing top tips, with no sugar coating, for people that want to create meaningful content with real results:
Are you looking to start your own blog? Maybe you're part of a network marketing scheme and can't seem to get many buyers. Maybe you're an author and you've got multiple half-finished stories hanging around in the cold, lonely depths of your hard drive. Passion is what drives us and what we create - passion shows, and passion sells. What do you love to write about? Whatever it was that may have just popped into your head - sports, true crime, gardening, literature, the slow collapse of the economy - often our first ideas are the truest to our hearts. Don't ignore that tiny voice pulling you in a certain direction.
If you want to write well, you have to put the time and effort in. You need to know your content back to front, top to bottom. If you're not willing to put the hours in, then it probably isn't what you're most passionate about - in which case, start from the top. Research doesn't have to take up too much of your time if you're busy with life - for people that might be juggling children, a full-time job, a social life and hobbies, 'free time' seems more like a Grecian myth than a reality. But three fifteen minute intervals throughout your day will benefit you - 15 minutes in the morning to find two or three tabs of research, 15 minutes at lunch to read through them and 15 minutes in the evening to make notes and reinforce your memory. That's all it could take to take your writing from good to unparalleled.
Know your niche
Once you've found your passion (it can be as broad or as acute as you'd like) and concluded the appropriate research, you have to find what it is within your chosen area that isn't getting much coverage. What aren't people writing about that seems so obvious? What can you add to the world of your chosen area that it's desperately missing? For me, it's writing. I know I love to write - I know that I want to create content that helps people buff their own written language. I know I don't want to break the bank for my readers, but still earn enough for me to live on. So, I created WordBuff. I did a ton of research before I started it, of course - I'm not a hypocrite - and was amazed at the amount of "How to write a great blog post" headlines that, ironically, had awful grammar mistakes, but realised quite quickly that I could do a better job. Which leads me to my next top tip...
Know your worth
I can't stress this enough - there is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing that what you're creating is, or potentially could be better than what everyone else in your market is coming up with. You just need help with how to make that come across in your writing - which is why you've come to WordBuff.
The only voice you need to listen to is yours
Now, I don't mean don't take constructive criticism, or ignore ideas people might present to you, because improvement is never a bad thing - but don't let negative Nelly bring you down. People will probably doubt you - even if they aren't honest about it to your face. Want to create a multi-million pound brand? Do it. The negative voices around you that might discourage you, or try and convince you that you just aren't good enough will never offer anything close to constructive. While this isn't necessarily a writing technique, it's a lesson I had to learn the hard way alone. When the people around you don't believe what you have to offer is good enough, it can be really disheartening - but that shouldn't discourage you. Get an off-putting comment? Put an extra hour that day into researching, or writing, or creating, or inventing, or whatever it is that you do best. You were put here for something - so go and do it!
If you don't already own one, buy yourself a dictionary and a thesaurus and keep it within reaching distance of wherever you write. The most visited website on my computer is thesaurus.com. I could (and I do) spend hours typing in dull words or empty adjectives and seeing what fantastic synonyms and antonyms it gives me. I add them to my mental thesaurus and sprinkle them through my vocabulary. Thesauruses are an integral part of any self-priding author's arsenal. They're especially useful if you're writing fiction or a persuasive text.
Be vulnerable, put yourself out there and contact people
This advice goes for anyone, but especially aspiring content marketers and copywriters. Contact as many people as you can to get writing jobs. Send out email after email, and don't stop when you have a few clients. The worst case scenario is that you get a no, or no response. Best case scenario? Your writing is displayed on a website, or social media page, with a link to your very own blog/social home page - you might even get paid for it! You can also contact websites or businesses asking to guest write an article, for a fee or for free - that's up to you.
Keep a bibliography
Visited a web page with some really useful tips and tricks? Or maybe you love the writing style and want to model yours around it. Bookmarking is great, but keeping a bibliography with subsections and a short description of the page will help you navigate to what you're looking for much more quickly. It also helps for referencing when you need to quote a certain page or website.
Make sure what you're writing connects with your intended audience. Does it inspire them? Does it persuade them? Will they read what you've written and want to throw money at you for your product? If you're writing politically, does it inform them? Is it biased? It's okay if it is, as long as you know your audience focus. If you're going to be biased, you have to stick to it - you can't write one post about "Down with the patriarchy!" and another about "Why Capitalism is great."
Follow these tips and tricks and watch your writing transform to business standard and triple-figure-fee worthy.
What about you? Do you have any incredible writing top-tips to share with other inspired WordBuffers?