The general assumption is that it’s impossible to measure how good one’s writing is, the premise being that, while it’s possible to tell whether one’s writing is good or bad, it is not possible to tell by how much. There’s no precise measure, it all depends on one’s own standards and one’s particular criteria. The truth, however, is that while it’s impossible to measure how much better one’s writing is than another’s, it’s not impossible to tell how to make it better. In particular, there are things that can be done to improve one’s content writing. There’s no universal advice, of course, but still, there are means.
We have prepared a list of eight simple hints and things to remember that will allow you to instantly improve your writing.
The General Rules
1. Good writing = good content writing
This is a general rule. If you are a good writer, you will also make a good content writer. Thus, it’s important to improve your writing skills in general: the better it is, the less your beed to dependence on particular content marketing and writing rules.
2. Good content writing ≠ good writing
This is something you should always remember. While, most times, good writing is also good content writing, it’s doesn’t necessarily make snse other way around. Thus, you don’t have to be a good writer – you don’t have to be a writer at all – to write good content. If you’re not sure of your writing, of its quality, the general content marketing rules are here help you. Even if you don’t agree with some of them, stick to them and give them a chance – sooner or later, you’ll learn which methods are useful.
To put things in more simple terms: You don’t have to be able to write the second Gravity’s Rainbow to be able to write content that is second to none. Being able – though – could help.
The Additional Rules
1. Read, read, read, read…
… then read some more. Oh, I know, you’ve heard it, you’ve heard it a lot. It’s getting old. That being said, there is a reason this is heard so often. It is important. The fact is that, in terms of good writing, there is nothing more important than reading: each single piece you read improves how you write. The more you read, the better you write and the more you understand how it’s done. Reading widens your perspective on how can it be done, as well as how it should not. Yes, that’s right: the more you know on what can be done, the more you know on what cannot – and shouldn’t. This is important.
Besides, reading is such a pleasure, why wouldn’t you?
2. In particular, read other writer’s content
The rule above applies: the more content you read, the better content you write. In opposition to creative writing, though, content writing is more about achieving a given goal with a pre-defined set of tools. It doesn’t mean being limited, however. In fact, the more creative you get with a given tool at hand, the better the results. Thus, have a look and see how it’s done. You’ll be surprised with the use some tools can have.
3. Write, write, write, write…
… then write some more?
As Stephen King once said, “Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer.” It sure sounds blunt, I agree. It sounds brutal. Yet, it is true.
It’s what it’s about: it’s all your hard work.
The more you write, the more you develop your voice though tour writing. The more you understand what you’re capable of. The more conscious your writing becomes. It’s easier to cope with, too, sometimes, for it can also be a problem to cope with something that failed to meet your own quality standards. Yes, it does happen, quite often in fact! You should learn to live with it, to move on with what is written. Don’t get get trapped by writer’s block! If it’s yours, it’s what you are. There’s a reason writers don’t like to read their own writing. For someone who gets blocked because of his own too high standards, it can take a lifetime to surpass it – a lifetime of struggle.
Furthermore, it would be a mistake – and quite an obvious one – to expect that you can become good at something without practice. Writing is no exception here: it’s how you become a good writer. And since content writing does so often mean finding the proper balance between how you like to write and how you have to do it to meet the deadline, this kind of training is even more important here.
I do know that one could argue. It’s true: sometimes it takes months to write an article. But these are – most of the times – the extensive ones. The research required to write one takes lot of time itself – and it’s not that their authors are focused on this one piece only (unless they are, but, as far as I know, it’s rather an exception, than a rule, for an author to work on one piece and do nothing else at the same time.)
4. Remember the target
In terms of writing, it’s not that important. In content writing, however, it’s the fundemental basics. You are doing this for a purpose. There’s a goal to be achieved. There’s your target audience – your content is aimed at reaching these people. It is them it has to appeal to, to convince to your opinion, to make interested. Don’t ignore them! Learn about them! Do some research! Get to know their opinions, their views, their prospects. Care about them. Make them read you.
5. Be reader-friendly
The most vague characteristic of a good content writing is – in fact – its most important one. So, what is it this “reader-friendliness?” How do you define it? Well, it’s not a simple matter. Let’s have a look at an example:
Think of all the manuals you’ve had to read. Some of them were attractive, interesting and fun. Some others were boring – boring and dull. If you had to explain the reason behind the attractiveness of the former, however, it would be a complex number of things – rather than one single thing – that made them so, right? Right. Alone, none of these characteristics could nor would matter, but put them together and, all of a sudden, the manual becomes interesting and fun. That’s it: the reader-friendliness. This certain something that makes reading your text a pleasant experience.
We all know that the reason to write an article is because there’s information to be shared: there’s something to show, to tell, to argue about. The reader-friendliness is all about making it a pleasure for your readers to receive this information, to make it a pleasure for them to read you. To be their friend. To make them like you.
(Yes, that’s right: reading a reader-friendly article will most of the times make you feel like you actually do like its author!)
6. Prepare a draft
It seems obvious, but – somehow – it still isn’t. Writing without a plan – without at least some kind of an outline – can be a pain. Not to mention that the result is so often broken it almost seems like it’s a waste of time. On the other hand, having a plan means being able to see where You’re heading from a wider perspective. It allows you to notice and fix the problems on the go, according to what you want to achieve, making you less dependent on intuition and more conscious in terms of determining and deciding what’s proper. Also, it allows you to organize the information better, in order to make the final piece more interesting. All in all, writing without a plan is like doing it blind: it’s like visiting a famous place without knowing what to see and what to do. Not a good choice. Not good at all.
And… that’s it. These are the basics: two general rules and six additional, but important nonetheless, ones. Keep them in mind – and write!