The ability to write great content is a necessity of online marketing. From the product descriptions on your web site to the weekly blog entries and social media updates you post to stay in touch with your customers, you need to be able to bust out brilliance on a regular basis. High-volume content writing is challenging enough for a seasoned professional writer, of course but what if you’re not a tried-and-true wordsmith yet? Don’t worry—we have some great ideas on how to gain the experience you need. Today, check out our suggestions for becoming a more skilled content writer.
While we can’t overemphasize the importance of creating and maintaining a fun, informative, and well-optimized blog on your company’s web site, we also understand that you may not want to experiment and try to find your style where your customers can see. So why not create a blog that’s completely separate from your professional life? You don’t have to use your real name or share it with anyone on your social media networks if you don’t feel comfortable having friends and acquaintances watch you “practice.” Just choose topics that interest you—they can center on a theme, like a hobby or personal interest of yours, but you should feel free to write about whatever you want—and make a point of blogging about them regularly.
To make this exercise productive, each time you post a new entry, go back and re-read what you wrote a week ago. Sometimes, a few hours or days away from our own work provides enough distance for us to be able to re-evaluate it with new eyes. What worked in last week’s entry—and what could have been better? If you’re blogging anonymously, you might think about joining an online writing group for feedback from readers you won’t see at happy hour or the water cooler tomorrow.
Do Some Favors
You know how, in college, you completed an internship that didn’t pay money—but was very rewarding in other ways? When it comes to preparing for a career, you learn more by doing than you ever will in a classroom. This applies to content creation, too! When you’re trying to gain writing experience, there’s nothing better than having a few “assignments” that make you accountable. Is a family member of friend currently looking for new employment? Ask if you can draft a cover letter for one of the intriguing job listings he or she has seen. (Many people hate writing cover letters, so you’re sure to find someone who will take you up on this offer!) Another great way to get some content writing experience: ask a friend who runs a not-for-profit group—think a local community theater or a small charity—if you can volunteer to write press releases and web site material for a good cause.
If none of these ideas appeal to you—and, let’s face it, if you’re going to get any practice writing done, you do need it to be enjoyable—you might try this little “fake it ’til you make it” trick. Get a better feel for newspaper and magazine journalism by writing a few feature articles for your favorite publication … even if you never plan to submit them. Try your hand at public relations and marketing writing by drafting some promotional materials for your favorite brand, just for kicks. When you’re writing about something you love, the words should come more easily than if you were trying to muster enthusiasm for something boring.
Above all, try not to be intimidated by content writing. After all, the more fun you can have with it, the more fun it’ll be to read. So go ahead and get brainstorming!