This is for you if you answer yes to any of the following content gripes below
- Are you a small business with a blog but just aren’t writing great content?
- Do you feel that although content is king it isn’t working for you?
- Are your blogs worthy but unexciting and unsharable?
- Is your content writing letting your business down?
- Do you ever wonder why you are bothering with a blog that no one reads, let alone shares or, shock horror, acts on?
- Do you wish you were writing great content but have decided you are basically not cut out for writing?
If this resonates then you may wish to read on. Why? I have the answer to writing great content right next to my laptop. By the end of this article you will know just what to do!
What has poetry and severe editing got to do with writing great content?
As a content writer I compose between 2000 and 3000 words most days. I have studied writing and how words affect people. My content writing is shared between blogs, articles, emails, social media and of course my personal writing that are content of a different type. Hell, I hold an MA in creative writing and I majored in poetry. What? You are probably thinking, what has poetry got to do with content writing? Quite a lot as it happens. When writing great content what I learned about nailing the image, showing not telling and using the right word instead of five has allowed me to earn my living as a professional content writer,
‘Ditch the rest and keep the last few lines’ was a painful lesson
In one seminar I had tried out a poem. I remember this as if it were yesterday. The poem was about an A4 side long, around 25 lines and I was quite pleased with it. There was discussion and finally Simon Armitage said, ‘You know what, the heart of this poem is in the final lines. If I were you I’d ditch the rest as it’s working up to the point.’ I took a pencil and scored through all but the last few lines, feeling pretty miffed.
Then I looked again; there was the poem shiny and new like a conker plump, fresh and free from its case. If the point isn’t clear, consider this:
most of what we write is fluff, stuff, filler, padding, gumph.
Look at your blog writing critically. Do you find you often get to the meat of the post about half way down the page? Use that as the starting point; I’ve already done it this morning! If you are really struggling to find your voice, change your style or make an impact then I want to recommend a book that will change your approach.
With all my experience I have been prompted to revise my style and approach once again having stayed up late to finish this book. Only provocative writing galvanises us to keep learning, experimenting and changing. Ann Handley has done just that for me. Her brand new guide to content writing with the title: Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content is worth buying the minute you finish reading this post. Her point main point is that to connect with customers we need to choose the correct words not an approximation. Even if you don’t see yourself as a writer perse you actually write every single day, QED: writer!
You owe it to yourself and your business to craft better content and this book will definitely help. If you want to hear her talking click the interview she gave to Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner. It was this podcast that prompted me to buy the book while the show was still on air.
So what can you expect from Ann’s book:
- Tips on how to write smarter
- How to write for YOUR audience
- The power of story telling
- Giving the reader what they need
- The importance of the Ugly First Draft
- Titles, blog length
- Show don’t tell.
That’s it basically; 28 chapters from grammar, to publishing, goals and content tools. If you need a content writing handbook to keep handy and inspire you every time you write a post then this has to be it – until the next major shift in thinking. However, whatever Google has up its sleeve, well-crafted content, wherever it is , will always be evergreen.
On the other hand if you read this book and think you’d still rather hire a content writer rest assured that I have read it too! I am happy to help, advise with regard to writing great content for your business or brand whether that’s on social media, e-book, blog post or article. Why not follow me on twitter @supposeiam where I am always posting tips and ideas to improve writing and social media performance?
This isn’t a hard sell of the conventional kind. No one is paying me to market this book. But as a writer I know how important reviews are. So, when a book arrives this helpful for content writers it seemed like the decent thing to do: review it. Mind you the last book has been translated in 9 languages so she doesn’t need me, but you might!
Rambles with a camera took the great conker image