STAY IN RESEARCH MODE AT ALL TIMES.
In order to keep your queue filled with great content ideas, you need to stay in research mode at all times.
Research shouldn’t be reserved for planning or writing sessions only. The quality of your content will increase substantially if you do it on an ongoing basis, as ideas pop into your head.
AS YOU BROWSE THE WEB, GATHER RESOURCES TO USE AS REFERENCE MATERIAL.
Don’t just browse the Web. Research the Web. Whenever you’re online, be on the lookout for material that could help you tell your stories.
If you see a social media post or article that relates to a topic, grab the URL and paste it into the document where you’ve listed your idea. Add notes so you know why you wanted to use the material, and when you finally sit down to write, you have much of your research already done.
TIP: MAKE THE FIRST SENTENCE YOUR BEST
You have about three seconds to hook your readers and get them reading. After your headline, it’s up to your first sentence to do the job.
Never mislead. Your headline and first sentence should take the reader smoothly to your main point. But do say something that makes people pay attention.
WRITE IN YOUR OWN UNIQUE VOICE.
Don’t try to copy someone else. Your content should have an individual style that is unique to your personality or brand.
Once you develop your own voice, you aren’t done. (Writers never stop working on their writing skills. As a content writer, you need to continually hone your skills too.)
Style is your most prized possession as a writer, and it should continue to evolve over the lifetime of your career.
SPEND AS MUCH TIME ON YOUR TITLE AS YOU DO WRITING
Even the most valuable, interesting content will be ignored if the title doesn’t connect with readers. Your title should create interest and forecast the information people will find when they click through.
10 TYPES OF TITLES THAT TEND TO PERFORM WELL ARE:
- # of [Something Useful or Interesting]
- Top # [List]
- How to [Do Something Useful or Interesting]
- How [Brand Name or Celebrity] [Does Something the Reader Wants to Do]
- Best of [Category or Type]
- Why [Something] Is [the Way It Is]
- Interview with [Celebrity]: [Interesting Topic or Title]
- Breaking News
- Secrets of [Something We’re Dying to Know]
THE CLOSE IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE LEAD
Good content tells who, what, where, when and why. Great content also tells “so what.”
Don’t let your content lose steam just because you ran out of ideas.
At the close of every piece of content, summarize your main point, then tell your readers how they’ll benefit from the information you provided.
If at all possible, go full circle by tying it back to the main point you made in the lead.