How to Get the Best Out of Your Writing
December 26, 2022 | Peter Rossi
The signs of a good article are that it is engaging, informative and entertaining.
So…you’ve been tasked with writing an article on a certain topic. Excitement to get things going is palpable. A variety of thoughts and ideas are swirling around your head and you are eager to put them onto the page.
The time comes to sit in front of your computer…and nothing. All those ideas you had a few minutes ago? Gone. The excitement you were feeling? That has been replaced by frustration. But it’s not the time to panic. There are a few tips and techniques to avoid the pitfalls of getting an article off the ground and to ensure the content you are putting out is the best it can be.
- Draw the reader in from the get-go.
The opening of your article doesn’t need to be a long-winded paragraph of text. Instead, grab the reader’s interest right off the bat with a couple of quick sentences. Your reader wants to be able to tell whether or not reading the article will be worth their time within the first 15-30 seconds.
Prove to the reader that you value their time and that your work provides value to them.
- Keep it short and simple.
In the ever-growing digital landscape, people are often consuming content on either their phone, tablet, computer etc. If they are met with large blocks of text, it is an immediate turn off.
Short paragraphs are enticing, showing the reader that the information within is easily digestible. When a reader finishes one, they want to continue to the next, as each completed paragraph begins to feel like an accomplishment.
Breaking down your article also conveys a more conversational tone to the overall piece. The breaks between paragraphs are akin to breaths while speaking. Have the words of the article keep the reader engaged with a strong pace, allowing for a natural flow of understanding and grasping of what is being read.
And since you want to keep paragraphs light and concise, ensure the words you choose follow suit. Eliminate lengthy words when shorter ones will get the point across just as easily. You aren’t in high school anymore, trying to fill out a specific word requirement for an essay.
Have fun with it!
Just because you avoid long or heavy-handed words doesn’t mean your content has to suffer. Keeping things short gives you the space to use punchy words, jolting the reader occasionally with some extra flair to keep them wanting more.
- Answer the key facts
Ideally every good piece answers who, what, where, when, and why. By answering these questions, it allows the article to take on a form of its own, becoming a thing of substance rather than a bland collection of words.
Begin with an overall theme or idea for your article, and build up to your main point by answering who, what, where, when and why. The content itself will convey answers to the very questions readers may be asking themselves.
One of the worst things your reader can be is bored, and a bored reader won’t give your article any attention. Don’t write just for the sake of writing. Ensure that your piece has a purpose or fully envisioned idea behind it.
Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
With so much consumption of content carried out on digital devices, it can be hard to stand apart from everyone else. As a result, priority has been placed on keywords in recent years.
What is a keyword? As HubSpot defines them,
“Keywords are words or phrases that users type into search engines to find relevant content for their queries. Because keywords come from search queries, incorporating these terms into your content strategy helps search engines rank your website pages and users find your content when looking for it.” – HubSpot
Understanding the usage of keywords gives your article a leg up on the competition, and understanding who your audience is and what type of content they are interested in engaging with.
In order to figure out how to make your article content rise above the rest in terms of popularity and engagement, you must truly have an understanding of what you’re writing about and who your audience is. Research here doesn’t hurt, and trying to establish the best keywords that apply to your material is paramount to your article’s visibility.
Successful application of keywords also lends itself to strengthening your SEO presence for your site or organization. If you are a smaller business, SEO optimization is crucial to getting your brand’s name out to the public.
For a list of software that can help you in this process, click HERE.
Writing with Style
Appearance is just as important with content when it comes to writing an article. If you work at a business or company with more than one writer, creating a brand-wide style guide is an excellent way to have your content seem uniform and professional.
An established style guide in turn helps two key factors of your overall brand:
- Integrity and consistency
If there are many different people who contribute to your company’s content, whether it be digital, social, graphic design etc., brand unity must be a top priority.
Whether someone is reading an article, visiting a website, or interacting with social media channels, you want to ensure a consistent user experience. By allowing traits of a brand to remain constant across a variety of touch points, that in turn helps create brand loyalty.
Most people associate style guides with items concerning visuals. While that is true in most aspects, writing also falls under the umbrella of brand consistency.
- Unified Voice
If a company employs a large number of writers or content creators, the presence of a style guide helps them understand how to approach their own work. Some may see this as a way to stifle creativity and people’s individual voices, but a style guide does exactly the opposite.
An established guide of a company’s brand does not limit someone’s personal opinions. It is a way for creators and writers to shape the content to fit the organization’s larger goals or guidelines, which is a big chunk of helping to boost digital growth efforts.
Some style guides may be strict and others may be more loose. It all depends on what your company’s brand is and what you are trying to establish.
And they should not be set in stone either!
A company’s brand should grow and evolve with the times, and by having an up to date style guide to match that growth will only better serve the content in the long run.
If you are looking to improve your brand, brush up on your writing skills, or create a style guide for your company, fill out the form below to better help IOI understand how we can help guide you!