In the past several weeks I’ve responded to a few emails asking what I do to produce quality content.
Essentially the questions boil down to: “what are the tricks to writing well, consistently?”
Part of the answer is really wrapped up in the question. And because this is an issue that many people struggle with – or there wouldn’t be a demand for private label rights content! – we’re going to cover the question as thoroughly as possible within a blog.
There are year-long classes held to teach people the art of writing. There are books hundreds of pages long that cover the subject in minute detail. It would be impossible to give you everything you need to write well, consistently, in just a couple of posts.
BUT, you can learn enough to become the writer you want to become by following some simple steps.
Understand that the word “simple” is not synonymous with “easy.” It will follow the KISS principle, no matter which one you think is the right one:
Keep It Simple Stupid
Keep It Stupid Simple
Keep It Simple & Straightforward
Keep It Short & Simple
One way or the other – I’m going to keep it simple!
However, it probably won’t be short, so look for part two later this week or early next.
I did a bit of research to find some of the more common reasons that people have difficulty writing – or putting thoughts down on paper.
Logistically, it should be the same as talking out loud and recording what you say. But, realistically, as nice as that sounds . . . it is just a bit more complicated.
We commonly speak in sentence fragments and use words in the wrong context. But, because we’re speaking to another person with tone inflections and body language, most people don’t notice. Once those sentence fragments and disjointed thoughts are down on paper, it’s more than a little noticeable.
Writing is like anything else in life. There are some who find it easy, some who spend hours perfecting their craft and others who really don’t care one way or the other. Most of the time, the person who comes out on top is the one that works the hardest. Talent has a place in the equation, but hard work, perseverance and consistency are just as important.
Some of the reasons that I noticed people were having difficulty writing were:
1. They didn’t know proper grammar.
2. They were afraid no one would read or like what they wrote. They were afraid that what they wrote would be poorly constructed and easily overlooked.
3. They were afraid of the blank page – or white screen. It’s just so darn BLANK!
4. They were good verbally and could give long speeches in front of large crowds but were not adept at putting those thoughts in a readable format.
5. They didn’t know that writing is a process and so they stopped at the very first draft, expecting that it would be good enough.
6. They were never taught the basics about writing as a skill.
7. They didn’t take the time to either learn to write, or write at all.
8. They believe that it has to be difficult, therefore it is.
Do any of these reasons resonate with you? If you can identify just one of those as a reason you don’t sit at the computer and perfect your ability to communicate using the written word, then there is hope!
There are some simple (remember not always easy!) steps that you can take to make your writing the best it can be. Whether you start with the research and writing of a great piece of private label rights or you start from scratch, you can WRITE.
There are a few hallmarks of good writing that will make it easier for you to follow the steps in the next article.
Hallmarks of Good Writing
This is the cadence you hear when you read your sentences out loud. If you were speaking with a grammar instructor they might call this parallel structure.
Essentially it means that everything in the sentence matches. You don’t switch verb tenses or from active to passive voice. If one verb ends in an –ing then they all do. And the sentences flow from one to the next using similar structure and verb tense.
One of the most beautiful examples of this is Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The words are not those we use today, but the structure and cadence is exceptional.
Read good writing. Watch how good writers weave a story, express themselves and share information. Read it out loud. Read your own work out loud.
Anything and everything you write should be brief, to the point and without extraneous words. If you say in 15 words and it could be said in 10 – make it 10 words. More is not always better.
Because you’re reading this on a marketing blog, I will assume you are writing marketing pieces or content to be read by Internet surfers.
You know that you have 3 seconds to grab their attention with the headline. If the content is too flowery, verbose or full of SAT words . . . you will also lose them.
What you write should engage the reader. This means that you have to mix it up a little. Vary the length of your sentences and the structure. Some should have an “and” and others a simple declarative sentence. Ask questions. Use single sentence paragraphs and remember your white space on the page.
In the second part of this article we’ll discuss the WAY you can pull together the hallmarks of good content while getting rid of the reasons you feel you have difficulty writing.
NEW to the Wizard Family