Writing good quality web content is the key to natural, cost-effective, organic search optimization. You know it. You know you need to do it. But you would prefer a root canal… without “happy gas” or anesthesia.
The article or blog won’t write itself. So you try. Scowl-faced and miserable, you SIT there. You stare at the blank page of your word processing program. You decide you are hungry. Thirsty. Need to potty. Need to check your email… forgot to feed the dog/cat/children.
STOP! Writing doesn’t need to be scary and it shouldn’t be your most dreaded task. You just need a little inspiration and a few tips.
Always Prepare Yourself
Like all things, writing skill improves with practice — and that requires getting started.
You don’t want to begin with strikes against you, so you should make sure you are physically comfortable. Don’t wait until you are already tired. Begin when you are well-fed, with and empty bladder and a beverage in arm’s reach. Pick your most creative time – whatever particular time of the day when you are usually most productive.
BEWARE: Don’t get so busy “preparing” that you never actually start. Give yourself a time limit to “settle-in” and begin writing.
Begin with what matters to you
It’s much easier to write compelling copy when your topic interests you. If you know you need to write regularly, keep a notepad or folder (digital or paper) with URLs/thoughts/topics/photos/video clips – anything that you have found interesting in recent days.
Doing this means you will have a storehouse of interesting blog or article fodder at all times. If you are feeling creative, you can even write these items on small cards and drop them into a “topic bank” or a plain jar on your desk.
When it is time to write a blog, you can pull out three cards and pick the one that intrigues you most. You now have a topic!
BEWARE: Procrastination pitfalls are everywhere! Don’t become so busy reviewing all the cards that you never begin writing. Don’t “surf the net” for some ideas – it will take you down rabbit holes that will leave you without a paragraph written and without any time left to write.
Control your research time
Once you have a topic, you may be able to write the entire piece in one sitting… be it a blog or an article. Remember, however, that quality links and a bit of little-known foundational information will make your writing stronger and more useful to your readers. But unless you are a walking wikipedia, you will probably need to do a little research.
BEWARE: Avoid casually surfing the web for the answers you need when researching your topic. Instead, you should diligently seek them out. Be on a mission. Set a time limit for this discovery process and stick to it.
Come out with three good, solid points to set up the structure for any article. Any less and you won’t adequately cover the topic, any more and you may meander.
You may want to implement a list-format article/blog if you are at a loss for more comprehensive copy.
- Consider using the “Top 5” items or “Top Ten Tips” approach to flesh out the topic
- Offer a list of resources related to your topic with a synopsis of each
- Brainstorm about your topic, make a list, and organize your thoughts
- Consider mind-mapping if you respond well to visual organization techniques
- Overshoot the number of items you want, and cull for the best of the bunch
Discard those that don’t “fit” with the article or blog you are writing … or add them to your blog fodder jar for next time.
After you have written your piece, read it aloud to check for “flow” and double check spelling and grammar.
Now send it to a trusted colleague or friend for critical review. Make sure you ask someone who will offer an honest critique and some suggestions for improvement. Make the changes you feel are valid and post it to the web.
Finally, take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back and push away from the desk for a few minutes. Relish the fact that you finished your writing task!