Some people are natural writers. Most of us are not. Writing can be a struggle, and that struggle may prevent some business owners from creating the content that they need to successfully promote their businesses.
Everyone has at some point stared at a blank word document and wondered if they’re a good enough writer to create shareable content. But there are always ways to improve your writing. Some of these tips take time, others are quick fixes, but all of these tips will improve your content.
Improve Your Editing
Editing seems like a waste of time, I know. The post is written, why should I spend more time on it? Well, editing is not only a way for you to make sure your post is free of errors, but it is also a chance for you to identify your writing patterns and improve upon them. Maybe you’ll read through it one last time and see that there is something you could have said better, or something that isn’t quite clear. Recognizing this will help you avoid these mistakes in the future.
Here’s a 4 step method to editing that has never failed me:
- Read through the post once for spelling and punctuation errors
- Read through once more for sentence structure, clarity and grammar
- Sleep on it. You’ll likely miss something if you’re looking at the same post too much at once.
- Read through your content the next day, thinking about how to improve the post overall.
Also, adding grammar-check tools like Grammarly to your routine will make editing even easier.
Read, read, read
Imitation is the best form of flattery, and reading is the best way to see how others write. Don’t forget to read, whether it be for your job or just for fun. Those who read diverse works tend to be better writers.
When thinking about a new blog post, start by heading to a news aggregator like AllTop to find the top posts in your industry. You can even use a tool like Buzzsumo to find out what’s being shared the most. Read those posts to discover how other authors and business owners are writing about the subjects you want to cover.
You may also want to diversify what you read. Read the newspaper in the morning, or take some time to read a business development book like Got Your Attention? How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone. Personally, I enjoy novels. Right now, I’m reading The Martian by Andy Weir. I particularly like the way Weir makes technical dialog and exposition feel light and fun. I’ll try to use some of his techniques in the future.
Practice Makes Perfect Writing
This is the biggest piece of advice I can give: writing is not a strictly natural skill. It can be learned and developed. Sure, it may come easier to some, but even those who are great at writing can always work and get better.
The same goes for you. You can be a better writer – it just takes practice. Don’t get discouraged. Keep creating content and practicing. Eventually, it will become a lot easier.
I’d suggest trying to write more than blog posts or content for your site. Try writing a poem or a short story. Don’t see yourself as the creative writing type? Take some time to write in a journal or type up one of your favorite memories from childhood. None of this has to be published (I’ve been “working on” a novel for about 5 years now, and it will probably never see the light of day) but it is valuable practice.
Some of us see writing as a monumental task. For others, it can be scary to face criticism for their writing. Writing and creating content doesn’t have to be stressful, just take some time and keep in mind that you can always get better. No one is a bad writer, and don’t tell yourself you are. Just get out there and get more experience.
Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC