Becoming an effective content writer is hardly something that someone is born into. It is something that takes months and sometimes even years of practice and skill-honing and even then you will need all the help you can get.
Recent years have seen a shift from design and aesthetics of web pages and content is getting the limelight it deserves. It was about time in my opinion.
It is content that helps your SEO efforts, answers your audiences' questions, drives traffic to your site, and establishes you as a thought leader in your industry.
There is a caveat, however - this all has to be good content! No fluff and filler, genuinely good stuff that your audience will find helpful and useful.
To stay on top of everything, make sure you're creating good content and adhering to these tips and tricks of the trade:
#1 - Develop Your Own Voice
Whatever you write about, make sure you have a distinctive voice that people will recognize and appreciate. You can be elaborate, humorous, smart - whatever - just be unique.
#2 - Don't Oversell
Of course, one of the purposes of content is to drive sales to your service or your product but you will only be hurting yourself if you overdo it with pitches.
Be informative, engaging, and useful first and a marketer second.
#3 - Write for Your Audience
Often times content writers write about what they want - and what they need - instead of focusing on what their audience needs.
Disregarding your audiences' wishes is a surefire way to lose their interest.
See Also: 5 Lessons for Bloggers From Professionals
#4 - Don't Get Too Flowery
Using a bunch of fancy words that no one understands might make you look smart and sophisticated but it will also cost you readers.
#5 - Be Involved in the Editorial Process
An editorial process is not too difficult to create but for some reason most of your bosses skip it - or you might be a one-man show and think you don't really need it. Big mistake.
Everything goes smoother with a plan and you can create contingency plans in case something comes up.
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#6 - Think about Grammar
Check for your grammar, punctuation and spelling. You can be the best content writer in the world but if you don't nail these three things it won't really matter. You will lose authority and you will lose readers.
Tools that will Help You Become a Better Content Writer
As I've previously said, practice makes perfect and eventually you will be able to develop a style all of your own - a style that will also work for your audience. But that doesn't mean you can't cheat a bit.
There are some excellent tools you can use to help you along the way and here are some of my personal favorites.
Tools for Content Ideas
Getting ideas on what to write about is usually the most difficult part of the process. Use the following tools check what your target audience is looking for and then write up a killer piece of content.
This is a perfect place to search for questions that interest the audience in your particular niche. You can create a list and tackle everything with on-topic posts and articles - then you can turn around and answer all those Quora questions with your own content.
Google Trends show you what people are searching for right now and how much coverage the topic is getting already. Great for getting inspired and fishing out good content ideas whenever you have to stay current and in the loop.
You can use Twitter to see what is trending but you can also go beyond that and search hashtags related to your niche to see what hot new topics you should be covering.
See Also: 6 Effective Content Distribution Ideas to Increase Social Media Traffic
Content Writing Tools
MS Word is slowly going out of fashion - it simply doesn't have what it takes for most professional writers.
Use the following tools to fast-track your writing and keep an eye on your grammar and spelling.
Hemingway is a simple online tool that helps you create content in a clutter free space. It also catches the most common mistakes and is pretty good in spotting illogical sentence structures.
Byword came up with .2 version - way better and packed with everything you will ever want from a writing app. Unfortunately, it only works on Apple devices.
Possible the most popular online writing tool. I appreciate it for its simplicity and the fact that I never have to worry about losing unsaved work. It also makes it easy to share everything with your colleagues and editors.
Content creation services that partners you with professional writers who do impeccable work. It's important to realize that we can do everything alone all the time - when I'm swamped I always look for help from the best.
Spelling and grammar errors kill great content - eliminate them by checking everything with Grammarly. It will spot the most glaring mistakes and offer corrections and the paid version will even suggest how to get rid of more advanced issues.
Sometimes even writers are at a loss for words. With this simple tool you will be able to research the alternatives to jargon and overused words and find the one you're looking for.
This is a no-nonsense tool developed for procrastinators who can never finish what they've started. Write or Die will erase your text if you stop writing, so you better keep at it!
See Also: 15 Online Content Writing Tools That Help Bloggers Engage Their Audience
Tools for Creating Great Visuals
Often times you will be required to create some content that is visual in nature - after all, your content strategy has to be diversified otherwise you will be boring people to death.
Knowing the tools designers use to make beautiful graphics from your content will help you learn more about infographics and how to create content for them. It might even inspire you to dabble a bit in that as well!
This is a free online tool that allows you to make infographics from scratch. If you're not very good at it, don't fret.
You can also take a pick from ready-to-go graphics and simply populate them with your information.
Definitely the most popular graphics-creation tool on the web. It has a free version but you will be stuck with their logo - and you really want your logo featured on your infographic.
A monthly subscription is relatively affordable - around $27 - and gives you access to more templates.
This is a great tool that is also extremely affordable, to boot! For only $3 a month you will get access to thousands of free images, more than 60 fonts, and professionally designed templates that just might push you over the top and help you create a killer graphic.
An effective content marketing writer is one who can write to his audience, capture their hearts and soul, and build a lasting relationship with them.
They are also prepared to constantly learn and grow - and make use of every tool in the book that can help them do their job better.
See Also: 5 Ways to Complement Content and Design for Increased Website Conversion
Drop down by comments and let me know how you create your best content? Are there content creation tools you prefer? I'm all ears!